Menuha Formation

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Menuha Formation
Stratigraphic range: Santonian-Early Campanian
~85.8–80 Ma
Middle Menuha Formation Wadi Zihor.JPG
Menuha Formation exposed in Wadi Zihor.
Unit ofMount Scopus Group
UnderliesMishash Formation
OverliesZihor Formation
Thickness14–50 m (46–164 ft)
PrimaryChalk, marly chalk
OtherConglomeratic chalk, limestone
RegionMakhtesh Ramon, Negev desert
Country Israel

The Menuha Formation is the name given to an Upper Cretaceous (Santonian-Early Campanian) chalk, marly chalk and conglomeratic chalk unit exposed throughout the Makhtesh Ramon region of southern Israel and parts of northern Israel (Avni, 1991).

Stratigraphy and paleoenvironment[edit]

The Menuha Formation records the earliest occurrence of tectonic activity within the Ramon anticline, forming the present erosive valley known as "Makhtesh Ramon" as an outcome of a sequence of erosive events evolving since the Late Cretaceous (Avni, 1993). It consists of white and yellow/brown chalk that is often glauconitic and sometimes conglomeratic or marly. The Menuha Formation likely represents a temperate to subtropical, open shelf environment deposited during the formation of the Ramon anticline. Reworked conglomeratic chalks in the western section represent marginal facies derived from this structural uplift.

The paleoenvironment is based on the occurrences of several shark and fish teeth, oysters, trace fossils, phosphatic peloids, and foraminiferans. The isolated teeth represent at least ten different species:


  • Avni, Y. (1991). "The geology, paleogeography and landscape evolution in the central Negev Highlands and the western Ramon structure". Geological Survey of Israel, Report GSI/6/91: 153 p.
  • Avni, Y. (1993). "The structural and landscape evolution of the western Ramon structure". Israel Journal of Earth Sciences. 42: 177–188.
  • Retzler, A.; Wilson, M.A.; Avni, Y. (2013). "Chondrichthyans from the Menuha Formation (Late Cretaceous: Santonian–Early Campanian) of the Makhtesh Ramon region, southern Israel". Cretaceous Research. 40: 81–89. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2012.05.009.
  • Wilson, M.A.; Zaton, M.; Avni, Y. (2012). "Origin, paleoecology and stratigraphic significance of bored and encrusted concretions from the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) of southern Israel". Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 92 (3): 343–352. doi:10.1007/s12549-012-0082-8.