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Archaeology, history, and geology of the A.D. 749 earthquake, Dead Sea Transform

Shmuel Marco, Moshe Hartal, Nissim Hazan, Lilach Lev and Mordechai Stein
Archaeology, history, and geology of the A.D. 749 earthquake, Dead Sea Transform
Geology (Boulder) (August 2003) 31 (8): 665-668


Historical records of earthquakes can contribute significantly to understanding active faulting and seismic hazards. However, pre-twentieth century historians were unaware of the association of earthquakes and fault ruptures. Consequently, historical texts usually report the time and damage caused by earthquakes, but not the associated faults. Conversely, observed fault ruptures are often difficult to date. In order to overcome these difficulties, we have analyzed archaeological and sedimentological observations in recent excavations in the ancient city of Tiberias and have combined them with interpretation of historical accounts. Tiberias was founded in A.D. 19 by King Herod on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). Herod's stadium, exposed in these excavations for the first time, was damaged by boulder-bearing flash floods and by an earthquake. Later buildings, dated as late as the early eighth century, are all covered by alluvium and lake deposits. They are also damaged and offset by normal faults, whereas buildings from the late eighth century are intact. We therefore attribute the damage to the earthquake of 18 January 749. The paleoseismic observations are in good agreement with the distribution of damage on the basis of historical records. Both data sets indicate a 100-km-long rupture segment between the Kinneret and the Dead Sea pull-apart basins, demonstrating that it is capable of generating M > 7 earthquakes.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 31
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Archaeology, history, and geology of the A.D. 749 earthquake, Dead Sea Transform
Affiliation: Tel Aviv University, Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv, Israel
Pages: 665-668
Published: 200308
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2003-061242
Categories: Quaternary geologySeismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch map
N32°40'00" - N33°00'00", E35°00'00" - E36°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Israel Antiquities Authority, ISR, IsraelHebrew University, ISR, Israel
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200319
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