Brine-migration in the Tiberias Basin (TBMod)

Hydrogeological and hydrochemical modelling of density-driven flow in the Tiberias Basin, in particular between Ha’on and Tiberias Regions, Jordan Valley Program

Funds German Science Foundation DFG: Trilateral co-operation German Israeli Jordanian researcher to support peaceful development in the Middle East. (DFG reference number: MA4450-2)

1.1 Total duration of the project

2 years (+3) according to the trilateral rules First application period (Antragszeitraum): 01/05/2013 - 30/04/2015

1.2 Objectives

The aim of this research is the identification of regional and transboundary sources endangering Lake Kinneret (Lake Tiberias or Sea of Galilee, figure 1) which is the most important fresh water reservoir of the area. The studies include all sources of brines in the Tiberias Basin (TB) with particular emphasis to the relationship between the brines from Ha’on and Tiberias (HT).




Fig. 1: Location map of the study area, emphasizing the sites of Tabcha, Barbutim, Fuliya, Tiberias, Zemah and Ha’on springs (black dots) which indicate the major sources of differently composed brines

The major goal is to build the first 3D regional model of density driven flow of the area in order to clarify the basic processes driving the fluid flow in the TB, the role of different driving forces and their interactions in controlling active transport processes.

With regard to the interrelationships between geological structures, geothermal fields, relic brines and active fluid processes, the geophysical issues that need to be addressed are:

• The complex driving mechanisms of active flow transport processes.

• The observed temperatures of brines and their chemical differences within the TB, particularly those between the western sources and eastern part of the HTR.

• The transient nature of the active hydrochemical and physical processes (i.e., temperature anomalies, temporal variation of dissolved compounds).

• 3D convective patterns and the role of fractures and more permeable zones on deep fluid flow, their influence on the mass and energy migration system.

• The different fluid movements affecting the TB and their interconnection with the structures below the lake floor.

The tasks are achieved by a multidisciplinary approach involving: (i) numerical modelling of density-driven flow processes (i.e., coupled heat and dissolution of evaporites), (ii) hydrochemical studies, both supplemented by investigations of subsurface structures.

(i) Numerical modelling is done by applying the commercial software FEFLOW® (WASY, GmbH). The final goal is to build a 3D regional-scale model of density-driven flow that will: (1) reveal the different interactions between fresh groundwater and natural salinity sources, (2) elucidate the driving mechanisms of natural brines and brackish water body’s movements.

(ii) Hydrochemical studies include major, minor and rare earth elements (REE) as well as isotope studies. The samples will be analysed at the FU Berlin and UFZ Halle laboratories. Geochemical data interpretation and inverse modelling are supported by PHREEQC. Hydrochemical field investigations are carried out in Kinnarot basin and its framing Heights, i.e. the Golan, Eastern Galilee and northern Ajloun Mts to search for indications of the presence of deep, relic saline groundwater infested by the inferred Ha’on mother-brine.

The key research challenges are: building a 3D structural model of selected regions of the KB, adapting both structural and hydrochemical data to the numerical requirements of the model; calibrating the 3D regional-scale model with observational data.

The results of this work are expected to establish suitable water-management strategies for the exploitation of freshwater from the lake and from the adjacent aquifers while reducing salinization processes induced by both local and regional brines.


1.3 Partners and institutions involved

- Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ Section 5.3

P.I.: Dr. Fabien Magri (

 - Tel Aviv University, Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences

Dr. Annat Yellin-Dror, Prof. Akiva Flexer, Prof. Eliahu Rosenthal, Dr. Nimrod Inbar 

- University of Jordan Faculty of Science

Prof. Elias Salameh, Dr. Marwan Raggad

- Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung -UFZ

Prof. Ralf Merz, Dr. Stefan Geyer, Dr. Christian Siebert 

- "Mekorot" Israel National Water Co., (Lead User) National Water Co.

Dr. Joseph Guttman

Supported by

- Freie Universität Berlin – Hydrogeologie for the standard chemistry analyses

Prof. Michael Schneider



DFG - German Research Foundation



Contact Person

Mr. Priv. Doz. Dr. Fabien Magri
Fluid Systems Modelling

Heinrich-Mann-Allee 18/19
Building HMA 18/19, room 3/1
14473 Potsdam
tel. +49 331 288-28723