Abstract

Earthquake-induced fluidizations and suspensions of lake sediments, associated with syndepositional faults, form a paleoseismic record in the Dead Sea graben. The association of fluidized beds with surface faulting supports the recognition of mixed layers as reliable earthquake indicators and provides a tool for the study of very long term (>70 kar) seismicity along the Dead Sea transform. The faults compose a fault zone that offsets laminated sediments of the late Pleistocene Lake Lisan. They exhibit displacements of as much as 2 m. Layers of massive mixtures of laminated fragments are interpreted as disturbed beds, each formed by an earthquake. The undisturbed laminated layers between these mixed layers represent the interseismic interval. A typical vertical slip of about 0.5 m per event is separated by several hundred years of quiescence. The fault zone lies within the Dead Sea graben, 2 km east of Masada, where archaeology and historical accounts indicate repeated strong earthquake damage. The distribution of strikes in the fault zone resembles that of the faults exposed in and around the graben, including the seismogenic ones. The excellent exposures over hundreds of metres allow an unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution of slip events on faults.

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