Working Group on Pan-European Correlation of the Triassic
11th International Field Workshop
NW Gondwana margin of the Neo-Tethys (Negev, southern Israel)
February 12–16, 2014
The Triassic sedimentary succession in southern Israel (Negev, Makhtesh Ramon, Makhtesh Areif) accumulated on the Mesozoic passive margin of north Gondwana during the early stages of the Neo-Tethyan opening, a connection severed only by rifting in the Miocene. The local section was deposited on an epicontinental marginal marine belt, commencing with a siliciclastic delta and ranging to offshore carbonates. The Triassic successions display short-term intervals of rapid rift-related subsidence interrupting long-term subsidence beneath a passive margin edifice, a geological history in common with most North Atlantic and Mediterranean continental shelves, but that is completely exposed in a stunning desert landscape. Late Cretaceous and Miocene regional compression is only a distant echo of dramatic events along the Alpine belt, and excellent outcrops are at the core of mildly folded anticlinal crests breached by cirque-like erosional valleys (“crater” or “makhtesh”). Outcrops bear endemic cephalopods and other molluscan faunas representative of the southern Tethyan ‘Sepharadic’ faunal province, along with unique vertebrate remains. Clastic/carbonate and carbonate/evaporite cycles record shifts in global climate, Gondwanan monsoons, sea level, and local rifting events, as this region wandered across 15° of Triassic latitude.
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