Abstract

Evidence for unchanging slip rate and a Gutenberg–Richter relation for earthquake distribution along the Dead Sea fault during the past 60,000 yr are presented. The evidence comes from three different segments, approximately 100 km apart, and from three different timescales: prehistoric–paleoseismic, historical, and modern (instrumental) records. The paleoseismic data are based on two different methods. In the southern Arava Valley and the northern Jordan Valley segments, the amount of normal displacement along several faults is used, while in the Dead Sea basin the appearance of brecciated beds, which are considered as seismites, is used. We found that for the southern Arava Valley segment a constant dip-slip rate of 0.5 mm/yr can explain the cumulative normal slip during the past 45,000 yr. This suggests that normal faulting is only ∼10% of the total left-lateral strike-slip motion. We also found that for all three segments, the paleoseismic and historical records of strong earthquakes lie on the linear extrapolation of the frequency–magnitude relation of the instrumental record. The calculated b-values for all three segments are between 0.85 and 1, similar to other major strike-slip faults in the world. It is concluded that the Gutenberg–Richter distribution is a stable mode in the tectonic setting of the Dead Sea fault during the past 60,000 yr.

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