Jordan Rift Valley

The Jordan Rift Valley, often just Jordan Valley (Hebrew: בִּקְעָת הַיַרְדֵּן Bik'at HaYarden, Arabic: الغورAl-Ghor or Al-Ghawr), also called the Syro-African Depression, is an elongated depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. This geographic region includes the entire length of the Jordan River – from its sources, through the Hula Valley, the Korazim block, the Sea of Galilee, the (Lower) Jordan Valley, all the way to the Dead Sea, the lowest land elevation on Earth – and then continues through the Arabah depression, the Gulf of Aqaba whose shorelines it incorporates, until finally reaching the Red Sea proper at the Straits of Tiran.

Satellite image of Israel in January 2003
A 2003 satellite image of the region showing the Jordan Rift Valley

History and physical features

Northern section of the Great Rift Valley. The Sinai Peninsula is in center and the Dead Sea and Jordan River valley above

The Jordan Rift Valley was formed many millions of years ago in the Miocene epoch (23.8 – 5.3 Myr ago) when the Arabian Plate moved northward and then eastward away from Africa. One million years later, the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Rift Valley rose so that the sea water stopped flooding the area.

The geological and environmental evolution of the valley since its inception in the Oligocene can be seen in a variety of sedimentary and magmatic rock units, preserved as continuous sequences in the deeper basins. The outcropping formations around the basins represent alternating deposition and erosion phases.[1]

The lowest point in the Jordan Rift Valley is in the Dead Sea, the lowest spot of which is 790 m (2,590 ft) below sea level. The shore of the Dead Sea is the lowest land on earth, at 400 m (1,300 ft) below sea level. Rising sharply to almost 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in the west, and similarly in the east, the rift is a significant topographic feature over which a few narrow paved roads and difficult mountain tracks lead.[2] The valley north of the Dead Sea has long been a site of agriculture because of water available from the Jordan River and numerous springs located on the valley's flanks.

Dead Sea Transform

The plate boundary which extends through the valley is variously called the Dead Sea Transform (DST) or Dead Sea Rift. The boundary separates the Arabian Plate from the African Plate, connecting the divergent plate boundary in the Red Sea (the Red Sea Rift) to the East Anatolian Fault in Turkey.[3]

The DST fault system is generally considered to be a transform fault that has accommodated a 105-kilometre (65 mi) northwards displacement of the Arabian Plate.[4][5] This interpretation is based on observation of offset markers, such as river terraces, gullies and archaeological features, giving horizontal slip rates of several mm per year over the last few million years.[6] GPS data give similar rates of present-day movement of the Arabian Plate relative to the Africa Plate.[7] It has also been proposed that the fault zone is a rift system that is an incipient oceanic spreading center, the northern extension of the Red Sea Rift.[8]

See also


  1. ^ The Jordan Rift Valley, Tel Aviv University
  2. ^ David Eshel (3 May 2006). "Increasing Importance of the Jordan Rift Buffer". Defense Update.
  3. ^ The Geophysical Institute Archived 2008-06-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Freund R.; Garfunkel Z.; Zak I.; Goldberg M.; Weissbrod T.; Derin B.; Bender F.; Wellings F.E.; Girdler R.W. (1970). "The Shear along the Dead Sea Rift (and Discussion)". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. 267 (1181): 107. Bibcode:1970RSPTA.267..107F. doi:10.1098/rsta.1970.0027.
  5. ^ Joffe S.; Garfunkel Z. (1987). "Plate kinematics of the circum Red Sea—a re-evaluation". Tectonophysics. 141 (1–3): 5–22. Bibcode:1987Tectp.141....5J. doi:10.1016/0040-1951(87)90171-5.
  6. ^ Begin Z.B.; Steinitz G. (2005). "Temporal and spatial variations of microearthquake activity along the Dead Sea Fault, 1984–2004". Israel Journal of Earth Sciences. 54: 1–14. doi:10.1560/QTVW-HY1E-7XNU-JCLJ.
  7. ^ Gomez, F., Karam, G., Khawlie, M., McClusky S., Vernant P., Reilinger R., Jaafar R., Tabet C., Khair K., and Barazangi M (2007). "Global Positioning System measurements of strain accumulation and slip transfer through the restraining bend along the Dead Sea fault system in Lebanon" (PDF). Geophysical Journal International. 168 (3): 1021–1028. Bibcode:2007GeoJI.168.1021G. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03328.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-13.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Mart Y.; Ryan W.B.F.; Lunina O.V. (2005). "Review of the tectonics of the Levant Rift system: the structural significance of oblique continental breakup". Tectonophysics. 395 (3–4): 209–232. Bibcode:2005Tectp.395..209M. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2004.09.007.
  9. ^ "Averages and Records for several places in Israel". Israel Meteorological Service. June 2011. Archived from the original on 2010-09-14.
  10. ^ "Averages and Records for several places in Israel" (PDF). Israel Meteorological Service. January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-30.

Coordinates: 32°19′02″N 35°34′12″E / 32.31722°N 35.57000°E


Almog (Hebrew: אַלְמוֹג, lit. Coral) is an Israeli settlement and a kibbutz near the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Rift Valley in the West Bank. It is under the jurisdiction of the Megilot Regional Council. In 2017 its population was 250. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.


The Arabah (Arabic: وادي عربة‎, Wādī ʻAraba), or Arava / Aravah (Hebrew: הָעֲרָבָה, HaAravah, lit. "desolate and dry area"), as it is known by its respective Arabic and Hebrew names, is a geographic area south of the Dead Sea basin, which forms part of the border between Israel to the west and Jordan to the east.

The old meaning, which was in use up to the early 20th century, covered almost the entire length of what today is called the Jordan Rift Valley, running in a north-south orientation between the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba at Aqaba/ Eilat. This included the Jordan River Valley between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea itself, and what today is commonly called the Arava Valley. The contemporary use of the term is restricted to this southern section alone.

Catocala lesbia

Catocala lesbia is a moth of the family Erebidae. It is found in the Middle East, in regions without severe winters. In Turkey, south-east of the Anatolian Plateau, in oases and desert foothills in Iraq, south as far as the Sinai and Egypt. In Israel it is found in the Jordan Rift Valley and Negev.

Adults are on wing from June to September depending on the location. There is one generation per year in most of its range. There are two generations in Iraq.

The larvae feed on Populus euphratica.

Clytie arenosa

Clytie arenosa is a moth of the family Erebidae. The nominate form is found in the deserts of North Africa. Subspecies Clytie arenosa nabataea is found in Israel (in oases in the Jordan Rift Valley)

There is one generation per year. Adults are on wing from April to June.

The larvae probably feed on Tamarix species.

Cryphia amseli

Cryphia amseli is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is probably endemic to the arid part of the Jordan Rift Valley. It is known only from the type locality: Israel, Jericho, April 1952. It has not been observed since.

There is probably one generation per year.

Foreign relations of Jordan

The foreign relations of Jordan have consistently followed a pro-Western foreign policy and traditionally Jordan has had close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. These relations were damaged when Jordan proclaimed its neutrality during the Gulf War and maintained relations with Iraq. In public, Jordan continued to call for the lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq within the context of implementing UNIC resolutions.

Since the end of the war, Jordan has largely restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the Middle East peace process and enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq.

Jordan signed a non-aggression pact with Israel (the Washington Declaration) in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on October 26, 1994, witnessed by President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The U.S. has participated with Jordan and Israel in trilateral development discussions during which key issues have been water-sharing and security; cooperation on Jordan Rift Valley development; infrastructure projects; and trade, finance, and banking issues.

In 1996, the United States added Jordan to their major non-NATO ally agreement. Jordan was involved in the CIA–led Timber Sycamore covert operation to train and arm Syrian rebels.Jordan also participates in the multilateral peace talks, and recently Jordan has signed a free trade agreement with the United States. Jordan is an active member of the UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and World Health Organization (WHO). Jordan is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement, and Arab League.

Within the context of the European Union's "European Neighbourhood Policy" the EU and Jordan have jointly adopted an Action plan to reinforce their political and economic interdependence, and further implement their current Association Agreement. This Action Plan covers a timeframe of three to five years and will encourage and support Jordan's national reform objectives and further integration into European economic and social structures.

Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, which is located at the West Bank of Jordan. Since 1967 Pakistan has been demanding its vacation at the international level. Jordan together with Pakistan is playing an effective role in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).


Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל‎, translit. HaGalil; Arabic: الجليل‎, translit. al-Jalīl) is a region in northern Israel. The term Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (Hebrew: גליל עליון‎, translit. Galil Elyon) and Lower Galilee (Hebrew: גליל תחתון‎, translit. Galil Tahton).

In modern, common usage, Galilee refers to all of the area that is beyond Mount Carmel to the northeast, extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the ridges of Mount Carmel and Mount Gilboa north of Jenin to the south, and from the Jordan Rift Valley to the east across the plains of the Jezreel Valley and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal plain in the west, including Beth Shean's valley, Sea of Galilee's valley, and Hula Valley, although it usually does not include Haifa's immediate northern suburbs.

By this definition it overlaps with much of the administrative Northern District of the country (which also includes the Golan Heights and part of Menashe Heights but not Qiryat Tiv'on). Western Galilee (Hebrew: גליל מערבי‎, translit. Galil Ma'aravi) is a common term referring to the western part of the Upper Galilee and its shore, and usually also the northwestern part of the Lower Galilee, mostly overlapping with Acre sub district. Galilee Panhandle is a common term referring to the "panhandle" in the east that extends to the north, where Lebanon is to the west, and includes Hula Valley and Ramot Naftali mountains of the Upper Galilee. Historically, the part of Southern Lebanon south of the east-west section of the Litani River also belonged to the region of Galilee, but the present article mainly deals with the Israeli part of the region.

Galilee Panhandle

The Galilee Panhandle (Hebrew: אצבע הגליל, Etzba HaGalil (lit. "Finger of the Galilee"), is an elongated geopolitical area or "panhandle" in northern Israel comprising the northernmost section of the Upper Galilee held by Israel, and the northern Jordan Rift Valley. The Galilee Panhandle incorporates five municipal authorities. Towns in the Galilee Panhandle include Metula and Kiryat Shmona.

Geography of Israel

The geography of Israel is very diverse, with desert conditions in the south, and snow-capped mountains in the north. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt. To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which makes up the majority of Israel's 273 km (170 mi) coastline and the Gaza Strip. Israel has a small coastline on the Red Sea in the south.

Israel's area is approximately 20,770 km2 (8,019 sq mi), which includes 445 km2 (172 sq mi) of inland water. Israel stretches 424 km (263 mi) from north to south, and its width ranges from 114 km (71 mi) to, at its narrowest point, 15 km (9.3 mi).The Israeli-occupied territories include the West Bank, 5,879 km2 (2,270 sq mi), East Jerusalem, 70 km2 (27 sq mi) and the Golan Heights, 1,150 km2 (444 sq mi). Geographical features in these territories will be noted as such. Of these areas, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, an act not recognised by the international community.

Southern Israel is dominated by the Negev desert, covering some 16,000 square kilometres (6,178 sq mi), more than half of the country's total land area. The north of the Negev contains the Judean Desert, which, at its border with Jordan, contains the Dead Sea which, at −417 m (−1,368 ft) is the lowest point on Earth. The inland area of central Israel is dominated by the Judean Hills of the West Bank, whilst the central and northern coastline consists of the flat and fertile Israeli coastal plain. Inland, the northern region contains the Mount Carmel mountain range, which is followed inland by the fertile Jezreel Valley, and then the hilly Galilee region. The Sea of Galilee is located beyond this, and is bordered to the east by the Golan Heights, a plateau bordered to the north by the Israeli-occupied part of the Mount Hermon massif, which includes the highest point under Israel's control, a peak of 2,224 meters (7,297 ft). The highest point in territory internationally recognized as Israeli is Mount Meron at 1,208 meters (3,963 ft).

Har Amasa

Har Amasa (Hebrew: הַר עֲמָשָׂא, lit. Mount Amasa) is a community settlement in the south of Israel. Located near the Yatir Forest 20 kilometres south of Hebron and 14 km northeast of Arad, it is the only member of the Tamar Regional Council to be located in the highlands outside the Jordan Rift Valley. In 2017 it had a population of 159.It was named after the nearby Mount Amasa (859 m), which was in turn named after Amasa son of Ithra the Israelite (2 Samuel 17:25).

Highway 91 (Israel)

Highway 91 is an east-west highway in northern Israel and the Golan Heights. It extends through the Jordan Rift Valley and the central Golan Heights. It begins in the west at Mahanayim junction with Highway 90, and it ends in the east at Zivan junction near the Israeli settlement Ein Zivan, where it meets Highway 98. The road is 28 km long.

IAI Arava

The Israeli Aircraft Industries Arava (Hebrew: עֲרָבָה, "Willow" or "Steppe" of "Desert", named after the Aravah of the Jordan Rift Valley) is a light STOL utility transport aircraft built in Israel by IAI in the late 1960s.

The Arava was IAI's first major aircraft design to enter production. It was intended both for the military and civil market, but the aircraft was only built in relatively small numbers. The customers were found mainly in third world countries, especially in Central and South America as well as Swaziland and Thailand.

Jordan Valley (disambiguation)

The Jordan Valley is a valley following the Jordan River, forming the border between Jordan and Israel and the West Bank.

Jordan Valley may also refer to:

Jordan Rift Valley, an elongated geographical depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, of which the Jordan Valley is a part

Jordan Valley, Hong Kong, part of Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong District

Jordan Valley, Oregon, U.S.

Jordan Valley (UTA station), a light rail station in West Jordan, Utah, U.S.

Judaean Mountains

The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills (Hebrew: הרי יהודה Harei Yehuda, Arabic: جبال الخليل‎ Jibal Al Khalil), is a mountain range in Israel and the West Bank where Jerusalem and several other biblical cities are located. The mountains reach a height of 1,026 metres (3,366 ft). The Judean Mountains can be separated to a number of sub-regions, including the Mount Hebron ridge, the Jerusalem ridge and the Judean slopes. These mountains formed the heartland of the Kingdom of Judah, where the earliest Jewish settlements emerged.

Lake Lisan

Lake Lisan was a prehistoric lake that existed between 70,000 and 12,000 BP in the Jordan Rift Valley in the Near East. It is sometimes referred to as a Pleistocene lake.

Lisan means tongue in Arabic relating to the shape of the Lisan Peninsula where studies of the sediment formations were taken. The sediment formations left by the lake extend from Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) in the north to a boundary ridge ca. 35 km south of the Dead Sea. The lake left behind a layer of lacustrine sediment that blankets the Jordan Valley with terraces of sediment up to 40 m thick. These sediments are commonly called marls and are composed of layers of true loam and calcareous silt loams mixed with other chemicals and salts. At its height, the lake covered several other basins in the area with a maximum area of ca. 2000 km2, a length of 200 km and a width of no more than 17 km.The formations were named the Lisan deposits and first described by Lartet in 1869 after visiting the Dead Sea in the Spring of 1864. He noted a correlation of a wet period in the Levant with a glacial period in Europe. It was not until geographer E. Huntindon visited in 1909 that it was realized it was measure of historical precipitation for the area. The first stratigraphic study of the sediments was carried out by Picard in 1943 who developed a chronology he called the Lisan series. It was not until later studies were carried out at lake level that a more detailed chronology of the lacustrine record was developed.These studies determined the highest stand of the lake to be around 160 metres below sea level at around 24,000 to 26,000 BC. when it formed a complete lake all the way along the Jordan Valley, approximately 200 metres higher than the current level of the Dead Sea. This started to decline around 17,000 BC with the sharpest drop in level occurring through 14,000 to 13,000 BC to around 500 metres below sea level, representing possibly the largest lake level drop in the last 70,000 years, occurring over a period of only around 1000 years. This rapid lowering created a flattened valley floor, known in modern times as the Ghor. Tectonic factors have been suggested as a possible cause for these events and it has been argued that the level receded as far as 700 metres below sea level, then gradually refilled.Climatic and tectonic changes caused the level in the Jordan Valley to fluctuate into the Holocene, leaving Lake Beisan in the basin around Beit She'an still extant into the Bronze Age. Archaeological evidence also supports these levels with no Kebaran sites located between 17,000 BC and 13,500 BC below a level of 203 metres below sea level. Early Natufian sites are also located between 215 and 230 metres below sea level, indicating a high level and receding shoreline after this date.

Lower Galilee

The Lower Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל התחתון‎, translit. HaGalil HaTaḥton), is a region within the Northern District of Israel. The Lower Galilee is bordered by the Jezreel Valley to the south; the Upper Galilee to the north, from which it is separated by the Beit HaKerem Valley; the Jordan Rift Valley with the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee to the east; and to the west, a segment of the Northern Coastal Plain known as the Zebulon (Zvulun) Valley, stretching between the Carmel ridge and Acre. The Lower Galilee is the southern part of the Galilee. In Josephus' time, it was known to stretch in breadth from Xaloth (Iksal) to Bersabe, a region that contains around 470 square miles. It is called "Lower" since it is less mountainous than the Upper Galilee. The peaks of the Lower Galilee rise to 500 meters above sea level. The tallest peaks are Mount Kamon (598 m) at the northern part of the Lower Galilee and Mount Tabor (588 m) in the southern part.

Mount Arbel

Mount Arbel (Hebrew: הר ארבל‎, Har Arbel) is a mountain in The Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel, with high cliffs, views of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, trails to a cave-fortress, and ruins of an ancient synagogue. Mt. Arbel sits across from Mount Nitai; their cliffs were created as a result of the Jordan Rift Valley and the geological faults that produced the valleys.

There are four villages on the mountain: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitzpa. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.


'Ubeidiya (`Ubaydiyya; Hebrew: עובידיה‎; Arabic: العبيدية‎), some 3 km south of Lake Tiberias, in the Jordan Rift Valley, Israel, is an archaeological site of the Pleistocene, c. 1.5 million years ago, preserving traces of one of the earliest migration of Homo erectus out of Africa, with only the site of Dmanisi in Georgia being older. The site yielded hand axes of the Acheulean type, a hippopotamus' femur bone, and an immensely large pair of horns belonging to a species of extinct bovid.

The site was discovered in 1959 and excavated between 1960 and 1974, mainly by Ofer Bar-Yosef and Naama Goren-Inbar.

Upper Galilee

The Upper Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל העליון‎, HaGalil Ha'Elyon; Arabic: الجليل الأعلى‎, Al Jaleel Al A'alaa) is a geographical-political term in use since the end of the Second Temple period, originally referring to a mountainous area straddling present-day northern Israel and southern Lebanon, its boundaries being the Litani River in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Lower Galilee in the south, from which it is separated by the Beit HaKerem Valley, and the upper Jordan River and the Hula Valley in the east. According to 1st-century historian, Josephus, the bounds of Upper Galilee stretched from Bersabe in the Beit HaKerem Valley to Baca (Peki'in) in the north. The said region contains approximately 180 square miles.In present-day Israeli terminology, the toponym is mainly used in reference to the northern part of the Galilee situated under Israeli sovereignty, i.e. without the part of Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, while also excluding the corresponding stretches of the Coastal Plain to the west and Jordan Rift Valley to the east, which are considered separate geographical entities.

Climate data for Dead Sea, Sedom (-390m)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 26.4
Average high °C (°F) 20.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.6
Average low °C (°F) 12.7
Record low °C (°F) 5.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 7.8
Average precipitation days 3.3 3.5 2.5 1.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.6 2.8 15.6
Average relative humidity (%) 41 38 33 27 24 23 24 27 31 33 36 41 32
Source: Israel Meteorological Service[9]
Climate data for Gilgal (−255m)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.0
Average high °C (°F) 20.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.5
Average low °C (°F) 8.9
Record low °C (°F) 0.3
Source: Israel Meteorological Service[10]

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