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Timing of earthquake ruptures at the Al Harif Roman aqueduct (Dead Sea fault, Syria) from archaeoseismology and paleoseismology

By
Mohamed Reda Sbeinati
Mohamed Reda Sbeinati
Department of Geology, Atomic Energy Commission, Qasr El Khair, Damascus, Syria, and Laboratory of Global Geodynamics, Institut de Physique du Globe, UMR 7516, 5 rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg, France
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Mustapha Meghraoui
Mustapha Meghraoui
Laboratory of Global Geodynamics, Institut de Physique du Globe, UMR 7516, 5 rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg, France
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Ghada Suleyman
Ghada Suleyman
Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Department of Archeology and Archeoseismology, Damascus, Syria
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Francisco Gomez
Francisco Gomez
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA
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Pieter Grootes
Pieter Grootes
Leibniz-Labor für Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung, Christian-Albrechts Universität, Max-Eyth Str. 11-13, D-24118 Kiel, Germany
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Marie-Josée Nadeau
Marie-Josée Nadeau
Leibniz-Labor für Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung, Christian-Albrechts Universität, Max-Eyth Str. 11-13, D-24118 Kiel, Germany
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Haithem Al Najjar
Haithem Al Najjar
Department of Geology, Atomic Energy Commission, Qasr El Khair, Damascus, Syria
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Riad Al-Ghazzi
Riad Al-Ghazzi
Higher Institute for Applied Sciences and Technology, PO Box 31983, Damascus, Syria
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Published:
October 01, 2010

We studied the faulted Al Harif Roman aqueduct, located on the north–trending, ~90-km-long Missyaf segment of the Dead Sea fault, using four archaeological excavations, three paleoseismic trenches, and the analysis of six tufa cores. Damage to the aqueduct wall exhibits successive left-lateral fault offsets that amount to 13.6 ± 0.2 m since the aqueduct construction, which is dated younger than 65 B.C. Radiocarbon dating of sedimentary units in trenches, building cement of the aqueduct wall, and tufa cores constrain the late Holocene aqueduct history. The building stone types, related cement dating, and tufa deposits of the aqueduct indicate two reconstruction-repair episodes in A.D. 340 ± 20 and A.D. 720 ± 20. The combined analysis of trench results; successive building and repair of aqueduct wall; and tufa onsets, growths, and interruptions suggests the occurrence of four faulting events in the last ~3500 yr, with a cluster of three events in A.D. 160–510, A.D. 625–690, and A.D. 1010–1210, the latter being correlated with the 29 June 1170 large earthquake. Our study provides the timing of late Holocene earthquakes and infers a lower and upper bound of 4.9–6.3 mm/yr slip rate along the Missyaf segment of the Dead Sea fault in Syria. The inferred successive faulting events, fault segment length, and related amount of = 7.3–7.5 for individual earthquakes. The identification of the coseismic slip yield Mw temporal cluster of large seismic events suggests periods of seismic quiescence reaching 1700 yr along the Missyaf fault segment.

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GSA Special Papers

Ancient Earthquakes

Manuel Sintubin
Manuel Sintubin
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan, Leuven, Belgium
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Iain S. Stewart
Iain S. Stewart
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Fitzroy, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, UK
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Tina M. Niemi
Tina M. Niemi
Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
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Erhan Altunel
Erhan Altunel
Department of Geological Engineering, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey
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Geological Society of America
Volume
471
ISBN print:
9780813724713
Publication date:
October 01, 2010

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