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Tracking earthquake archaeological evidence in late Minoan IIIB ( approximately 1300-1200 B.C.) Crete (Greece); a proof of concept

Simon Jusseret, Charlotte Langohr and Manuel Sintubin
Tracking earthquake archaeological evidence in late Minoan IIIB ( approximately 1300-1200 B.C.) Crete (Greece); a proof of concept
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (December 2013) 103 (6): 3026-3043

Abstract

Late Minoan (LM) IIIB ( approximately 1300-1200 B.C.) represents a crucial period in the history of Bronze Age Crete, heralding the transition to the Iron Age through a wave of site destruction and abandonment. According to the traditional view, earthquakes may have played a significant role in these events. A new archaeoseismological approach is proposed to test this hypothesis and to attribute destruction and abandonment to earthquakes. Potential earthquake archaeological effects (PEAEs) are defined and documented at LM IIIB sites. Synchronisms of PEAEs between sites are based on ceramic evidence. The reliability of the PEAEs is furthermore assessed using empirical ground-motion relationships defined for three types of earthquake mechanisms that can be considered to occur in the seismotectonic context of Crete: (1) normal-faulting earthquakes located within the overriding Aegean lithosphere; (2) earthquakes located on the subduction interface or on splay faults merging with the interface at depth; (3) earthquakes within the subducting African lithosphere. In the case of LM IIIB1/early Malia and Sissi (northeastern Crete), this proof of concept is successfully applied and supports the hypothesis that seismic shaking is likely to be responsible for the PEAEs observed. A 12 October 1856 A.D.-type earthquake located within the subducting African plate is suggested as the most likely earthquake mechanism. In other LM IIIB archaeological contexts, no convincing evidence for earthquake effects could be identified. The hypothesis of a seismic storm causing the demise of Minoan Crete is not supported by our analysis of archaeological evidence.


ISSN: 0037-1106
EISSN: 1943-3573
Coden: BSSAAP
Serial Title: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Serial Volume: 103
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Tracking earthquake archaeological evidence in late Minoan IIIB ( approximately 1300-1200 B.C.) Crete (Greece); a proof of concept
Affiliation: Universite Catholique de Louvain, Aegean Interdisciplinary Studies, Louvain, Belgium
Pages: 3026-3043
Published: 201312
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, Berkeley, CA, United States
References: 120
Accession Number: 2014-001465
Categories: Seismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, geol. sketch maps
N34°55'00" - N35°45'00", E23°15'00" - E26°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BEL, Belgium
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201402
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