Characterizing nabkhas of the Al-Azraq Basin, Jordan using grains size, x-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy

Authors: Elisabeth Newton*, , B Landaverry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Caroline Davies, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kaldoun Ahmad, University of Missouri Kansas City, M Hartwig, University of Missouri Kansas City
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Geomorphology, Physical Geography
Keywords: nabkhas, environment, aeolian, Al-Azraq Oasis, Jordan
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Al-Azraq Basin is the second largest basin in the Jordan plateau and formed by several periods of tectonic activity. It is a hydrologically closed-basin draining an area of approximately 12,700 km2 of eastern Jordan and southern Syria. The western margin of the Qa Al Arzaq features the Azraq Oasis and wetlands composed of two main clusters of springs, the Azraq ad-Duruz and Azraq as-Shishan, north and south, respectively. Fringing the eastern margin of the oasis is a nabkha dune field of low grey vegetation-anchored dunes. A nabkha (NK1) located at 37 294 966E/ 35 250 46N was sectioned for stratigraphic description and sediment sampling. Multiple methods of analysis characterize the dune sediments including: particle size, x-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Smear slides show the presence of calcite, quartz, and gypsum. While XRD also identifies the presence of a mix of aeolian and evaporite minerals: calcite, quartz and feldspar. No abundance of clay minerals was found. The overwhelming portion (80%) of sediment size is silt. The sediment and mineralogical analyses indicate energy environment, aeolian processes, and organic matter inputs from the oasis. IRSL ages of the dune sediment range from 2150 ± 185 to 180 ± 15 years BP. Additionally, the in situ hip bone of a juvenile donkey (Equus asinus) or onager (Equus hemionus) was recovered from within the deposit. A radiocarbon age (90+40 BP) of the bone is modern in age.

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