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Earthquakes and civilizations of the Indus Valley; a challenge for archaeoseismology

Robert L. Kovach, Kelly Grijalva and Amos Nur
Earthquakes and civilizations of the Indus Valley; a challenge for archaeoseismology (in Ancient earthquakes, Manuel Sintubin (editor), Iain S. Stewart (editor), Tina M. Niemi (editor) and Erhan Altunel (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2010) 471: 119-127


Civilizations have existed in the proximity of the Indus River valley regions of modern Pakistan and India from at least 3000 B.C. onward. Geographically, the region encompasses a swath of the Makran coast, the alluvial plain and delta of the Indus River, and the Runn of Kachchh. The regional tectonic setting is controlled by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian Plates and the subduction of the Arabian Plate beneath the Eurasian Plate. Earthquakes have undoubtedly struck many ancient sites, but finding their footprint in a riparian environment represents a challenge for archaeoseismology. However, some insight into seismoarchaeological indicators can be gleaned from examining the earthquake effects produced by historical infrequent large-magnitude events that have occurred in the region. Studies of these earthquakes emphasize the importance of repeated reconstructions, direct faulting, river damming from seismic uplift, and coastal elevation change as indicators of past earthquakes. Examples of past earthquake effects are presented for Banbhore in the Indus Delta, Brahmanabad, and the Harappan sites of Kalibangan and Dholavira. Future hermeneutic investigations in the region need to incorporate a seismological/tectonic perspective and not rely solely on serendipity.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 471
Title: Earthquakes and civilizations of the Indus Valley; a challenge for archaeoseismology
Title: Ancient earthquakes
Author(s): Kovach, Robert L.Grijalva, KellyNur, Amos
Author(s): Sintubin, Manueleditor
Author(s): Stewart, Iain S.editor
Author(s): Niemi, Tina M.editor
Author(s): Altunel, Erhaneditor
Affiliation: Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, Stanford, CA, United States
Affiliation: Katholieke Univesiteit Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Leuven, Belgium
Pages: 119-127
Published: 2010
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 51
Accession Number: 2011-015765
Categories: Quaternary geologySeismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, geol. sketch maps
N07°00'00" - N37°00'00", E68°00'00" - E97°00'00"
N23°34'60" - N37°30'00", E60°15'00" - E75°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Plymouth, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, USA, United StatesEskisehir Osmangazi University, TUR, TurkeyUniversity of California, Berkeley, USA, United States
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: 201110
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