Reconstructing the slip velocities of the 1202 and 1759 CE earthquakes based on faulted archaeological structures at Tell Ateret, Dead Sea Fault

Gregor Schweppe*, Klaus G. Hinzen, Sharon K. Reamer, Shmuel Marco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Archaeological structures built across active faults and ruptured by earthquakes have been used as markers to measure the amount of displacement caused by ground motion and thus to estimate the magnitude of ancient earthquakes. The example used in this study is the Crusader fortress at Tel Ateret (Vadum Iacob) in the Jordan Gorge, north of the Sea of Galilee, a site which has been ruptured repeatedly since the Iron Age. We use detailed laser scans and discrete element models of the fortification walls to deduce the slip velocity during the earthquake. Further, we test whether the in-situ observed deformation pattern of the walls allows quantification of the amount both sides of the fault moved and whether post-seismic creep contributed to total displacement. The dynamic simulation of the reaction of the fortification wall to a variety of earthquake scenarios supports the hypothesis that the wall was ruptured by two earthquakes in 1202 and 1759 CE. For the first time, we can estimate the slip velocity during the earthquakes to 3 and 1 m/s for the two events, attribute the main motion to the Arabian plate with a mostly locked Sinai plate, and exclude significant creep contribution to the observed displacements of 1.25 and 0.5 m, respectively. Considering a minimum long-term slip rate at the site of 2.6 mm/year, there is a deficit of at least 1.6 m slip corresponding to a potential future magnitude 7.5 earthquake; if we assume ~5 mm/year geodetic rate, the deficit is even larger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1042
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Seismology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Funding

FundersFunder number
German Israel Foundation
ITASCA Consulting Group Inc.
Lothar te Kamp
Reuma Arav and Sagy Filin

    Keywords

    • Archaeoseismology
    • Back calculation of ground motion
    • Dead sea Fault
    • Fault slip-velocity
    • Tell Ateret

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