Four trends of joint sets (WNW-ESE, NW-SE, NNW-SSE and NE-SW) are found in upper Turonian carbonate rocks within the Neqarot syncline of south-central Israel. The two most predominant sets strike parallel to the trend of maximum compressive stress directions (SH) associated with the plate-related Syrian Arc stress field (SAS; WNW-ESE) active during the Cretaceous to present and the perturbed regional stress field (NNW-SSE) related to stress accumulation on the Dead Sea Transform during the Miocene to the present. Eighty-two percent of the beds in this study contain joints parallel with the latter trend, whereas 42% contain joints parallel to the former trend. All beds with lawyer thickness to spacing ratio (FSR) > 1.5 have NNW-SSE joint sets compatible with the Dead Sea Transform stress field (DSS), whereas all joints sets that are not compatible with the DSS stress field fall beneath this value for FSR. Considering lithology, joints in five of six chalky limestone beds and all marly limestone beds are compatible with the DSS, whereas joints compatible with the SAS do not develop in these marly and chalky limestone beds. In the study area, the joint sets lack a consistent formation sequence where more than one set is found in a single bed. We use these observations to conclude that all studied joints are Miocene or younger, that the regional stress field from the Miocene to the present fluctuated, between DSS and SAS states, and that the higher FSRs correspond to a greater amount of joint-normal strain in response to the DSS.
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