The continental shelf and coastal plain of Israel are composed of kurkar, a carbonate-cemented quartz sandstone that forms a series of ridges along the shore. Kurkar is a lithification product of windblown sands that created dunes during the Pleistocene. There are three underwater sandstone ridges off the coast and two on land. In the Gaza Strip, coastal plain kurkar deposits of medium to coarse-grained calcareous sandstone are characterized by crossbedding.
Israel's coastal sand dunes, the habitat of many rare species of plants and animals, are made of kurkar interspersed with hamra, red sandy loam. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Palestine (then under the Ottoman Empire) had 285 square kilometers of kurkar and hamra formations. Due to construction, farming and the use of off-road vehicles, this has diminished to 109 square kilometers.
In May 2009, an offshore pilot study was conducted in the northern Galilee by a team of scientists collecting geological, geophysical, geochemical and biological data in the vicinity of the Bustan Hagalil kurkar ridge. The ridge was mapped during the National Bathymetric Survey of Israel by multibeam sonar.
- Initial survey of the deep sandstone ridge off the coast of Israel
- Marine Sand Resources Offshore Israel
- Palaeowind estimation of cross-bedding within the aeolian Kurkar layers of the Gaza Formation
- Disappearing sand dunes threaten rare flora and fauna
- Multi-disciplinary pilot study of the Kurkar ridges off Northern Israel Bustan HaGalil