The Judaean Mountains (Hebrew: הרי יהודה Harei Yehuda, Arabic: جبال الخليل Jibal al-Khalil), also Judaean Hills and Hebron Hills, 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 1,000 m.
Running north to south, the Judaean mountains encompass West and East Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah. The range forms a natural division between the Shephelah coastal plains to the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east. The Judaean Mountains were heavily forested in antiquity. The hills are composed of terra rossa soils over hard limestones.
Geology and prehistory
The Judaean Mountains are the surface expression of a series of monoclinic folds which trend north-northwest through Israel. The folding is the central expression of the Syrian Arc belt of anticlinal folding that began in the Late Cretaceous Period in northeast Africa and southwest Asia. The Syrian Arc extends east-northeast across the Sinai, turns north-northeast through Israel and continues the east-northeast trend into Syria. The Israeli segment parallels the Dead Sea Transform which lies just to the east.
The range has karst topography including a stalactite cave in Nahal Sorek National Park between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh and the area surrounding Ofra, where fossils of prehistoric flora and fauna were found.
- Peter N. Peregrine, Melvin Ember (ed.). Encyclopedia of Prehistory: South and Southwest Asia 8. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- E. Abd El-Motaal and T.M. Kusky, 2003, Tectonic Evolution of the Intraplate S-Shaped Syrian Arc Fold-Thrust Belt of the Middle East Region in the Context of Plate Tectonics, The Third International Conference on the Geology of Africa, Vol. (2), pp. 139-157
- Flexor, A., el al., Late Cretaceous evolution of the Judean Mountains as indicated by ostracodes. Terra Nova, Volume 1, Issue 4, pages 349–358, July 1989
- "History of Jerusalem from Its Beginning to David". Biu.ac.il. 1997-03-06. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
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- Judaean Mountains & Jerusalem
- Symbolism and Landscape: The Etzion Bloc in the Judaean Mountains, Yossi Katz and John C. Lehr