, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 83–89 | Cite as

Nutrients in pore waters from Dead Sea sediments

  • Arie Nissenbaum
  • Mariana Stiller
  • Aminadav Nishri


Pore waters were separated from 50 cm-long cores of Dead Sea sediments raised from waters depths of 25, 30 and 318 m. The salinity of the pore water is close to that of the overlying water at 225–230 g l−1 chloride. The titration alkalinity of the pore water is about 60 % of the overlying water, and sulfate is also depleted. Ammonia and phosphate concentrations are higher than those of the water column with up to 50 mg l−1 N-NH3 (ten times increase) and 350 µg l−1 P-PO inf4 sup3− (four to eight times increase). Early diagenetic reactions are a result of decomposition of organic matter and of water-sediment interactions, resulting in aragonite precipitation, phosphate removal to the sediments, probably by absorption on iron-oxyhydroxides followed by remobilization, reduction of sulfate and formation of iron sulfides and accumulation of ammonia. Mass balance calculations show that pore water contribute about 80% of the ammonia and 30% of the phosphate input into the Dead Sea water column. On the other hand, the sediments act as a sink for carbonate and sulfate.

Key words

Dead Sea pore waters early diagenesis Ammonia phosphate carbonate nutrients 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berner, R. A., 1980. Early Diagenesis:atheoretical approach. Princeton Univ. Press. Princeton, N.J., 241 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Beyth, M., 1980. Recent evolution and present stage of Dead Sea brines. In: Hypersaline Brines and Evaporitic Environments. In: A. Nissenbaum (ed.), Elsevier Pub. Co., Amsterdam, 155–166.Google Scholar
  3. Kaplan, I. R., K. O. Emery & S. C. Rittenberg, 1963. The distribution and isotopic abundance of sulphur in recent marine sediments off Southern California. Geoch. Cosmoch. Acta, 27: 297–331.Google Scholar
  4. Levy, Y., 1980. Chemistry of bottom sediments and interstitial water from the Dead Sea: Geol. Survey of Israel. report MG/8/80, 11 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Lerman, A., 1967. Model of chemical evolution of a chloride lake — the Dead Sea. Geoch. Cosmoch. Acta 31: 2309–2330.Google Scholar
  6. Neev, D. & K. O. Emery, 1967. The Dead Sea: depositional processes and environments of evaporites. Geol. Survey of Israel: report no. MG/41/67. 147 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Nishri, A., 1982. The Geochemistry of manganese and iron in the Dead Sea. Unpublished Ph. D. thesis, Weizmann Institute of Science.Google Scholar
  8. Nissenbaum, A., 1975. The microbiology and biogeochemistry of the Dead Sea. Microb. Ecol. 2: 139–161.Google Scholar
  9. Nissenbaum, A., 1979. Life in a Dead Sea — Fables, Allegories and Scientific Search. Bioscience 24: 153–157.Google Scholar
  10. Nissenbaum, A. & I. R. Kaplan, 1976. Sulfur and carbon isotopic evidence for biological processes in the Dead Sea ecosystem. In: Environmental Biogeochemistry, 1. (ed. J. O. Nriagu). Ann. Arbor Sci. Pub., Mich., 309–325.Google Scholar
  11. Oren, A., 1981. Approaches to the microbial ecology of the Dead Sea. Kieler Meerforschung. Sonderheft. 5: 416–434.Google Scholar
  12. Sass, E. & S. Ben Yaakov, 1977. The carbonate system in hypersaline solutions: Dead Sea brines. Mar. Chem. 5: 183–199.Google Scholar
  13. Steinhorn, I., G. Assaf, J. R. Gat, A. Nishri, A. Nissenbaum, M. Stiller, M. Beyth, D. Neev, R. Garber, G. M. Friedman & W. Weiss, 1979. The Dead Sea: deepening of the mixolimnion signifies the overture to overturn of the water column. Science 206: 55–57.Google Scholar
  14. Stiller, M. & Y. Chung, 1984. Ra-226 in the Dead Sea a possible tracer for the duration of meromixia. Limnol. Oceanogr. 29: 574–586.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arie Nissenbaum
    • 1
  • Mariana Stiller
    • 1
  • Aminadav Nishri
    • 2
  1. 1.Isotope Research DepartmentWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  2. 2.Allon Kinneret LaboratoryIsrael Oceanographic and Limnological Research OrganizationTabkhaIsrael

Personalised recommendations