Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 171, Issue 7, pp 1283–1298 | Cite as

The Beni-Ilmane (North-Central Algeria) Earthquake Sequence of May 2010

  • A. K. Yelles-Chaouche
  • I. Abacha
  • F. Semmane
  • H. Beldjoudi
  • H. Djellit


Starting on 14 May 2010 and lasting several months, the village of Beni-Ilmane (Msila District, North-Central Algeria) and its surroundings were struck by an important seismic crisis marked by three successive moderate shocks (5.0 ≤ M d ≤ 5.2). This sequence of events caused severe damage in the Beni-Ilmane village and in the epicentral area. The poor quality of masonry construction and the cumulative effects of the large number of aftershock events played a key role in the destruction. To follow this earthquake sequence, 11 temporary seismic stations, in addition to the permanent stations of the Algerian seismic network, were deployed in the region. A representative set of well located aftershocks in the period of maximum activity (lasting 18 days) were selected. The horizontal distribution of the aftershocks shows two main earthquake clusters located near Beni-Ilmane village, one cluster oriented E–W and the other oriented NNE–SSW, crossing the first cluster at its eastern tip. The aftershocks distribution suggests that the three main shocks ruptured two distinct and adjacent fault segments of about 8 km length. The focal mechanisms of the first and third events, located in the NNE–SSW cluster, show near-vertical left-lateral strike-slip fault planes. In the second cluster, oriented E–W, focal mechanisms show a high-angle reverse fault. A field survey, initiated immediately after the first main shock, identified surface fissures generated by the three largest events in the sequence. The fissures, concentrated in a narrow area at the western termination of the NE–SW Jebel Choukchot anticline (location of Beni-Ilmane village), showed several orientations which were mainly related to gravity instabilities. The 2010 Beni-Ilmane earthquake sequence, located in the Bibans–Hodna Mountains transition zone, demonstrates that the Tellian Atlas–High Plateaus border region is an active seismic zone marked by moderate and possibly strong earthquakes; thus, a reevaluation of the seismic hazard in the region is needed.


Beni-Ilmane Tellian chain earthquake sequence strike-slip fault high-angle reverse fault 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the local authorities for the support during this seismic crisis. We also thank all those people who participated in the installation and the maintenance of the portable station. Our special thanks to the Editor Tomas Fischer for his help and comments to improve the content of the paper. Thanks also to the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. Yelles-Chaouche
    • 1
  • I. Abacha
    • 1
  • F. Semmane
    • 1
  • H. Beldjoudi
    • 1
  • H. Djellit
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Recherche en Astronomie Astrophysique et Géophysique, CRAAGAlgiersAlgeria

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