Advertisement

Journal of Seismology

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 497–506 | Cite as

The Boumerdes (Algeria) earthquake of May 21, 2003 (Mw = 6.8): Ground deformation and intensity

  • Y. Bouhadad
  • A. Nour
  • A. Slimani
  • N. Laouami
  • D. Belhai
Article

Abstract

A destructive earthquake of magnitude Mw = 6.8 hit the region of Boumerdes and Algiers (Algeria) on May 21, 2003. This is among the strongest seismic events of the mediterranean region and the most important event in the capital Algiers since 1716. It caused a widespread damage in the epicentral region, claimed 2271 human lives, injured 10000, about 20000 housing units affected and left about 160000 homeless. The main shock was felt about 250 km far from the epicenter and triggered sea waves of 1–3 m in amplitude in Balearic islands (Spain). Based on field observations and press report an intensity IX (MSK scale) is attributed to the epicentral area. The main shock was followed by many aftershocks among them several are of magnitude greater than 5.0, which added panic to inhabitants. The main shock triggered ground deformation, particularly liquefaction whose features are in different forms and sizes and caused damage and collapse of roads. The focal mechanism determined by worldwide institutions yield a pure reverse faulting with a compressional axis striking NE-SW. The epicenter is located offshore about 7 km from the Boumerdes-Dellys coast. Field observations show 0.7 m of coseismic uplift of shoreline between Boudouaou and Dellys. This uplift is about a half of the extracted coseismic slip from the seismic moment. On the other hand there is no clear surface break onshore, confirming hence, that the causative active fault is offshore. However, the rupture may propagate onshore to the SE near the Boudouaou region where ground cracks showing reverse faulting are observed a long a corridor of about 1 km wide. These fissures may correspond to a diffuse coseismic deformation.

Key words

earthquake intensity liquefaction coseismic uplift reverse faulting ground cracks offshore Algeria 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ambraseys, N.N. and Vogt, J., 1988, Materials for the investigation of the seismicity of the region of Algiers, Earthquake Eng. 3, 16–29.Google Scholar
  2. Argus,D.F., Gordon, R.G., De Mets, C., Stein, S., 1989, Closure of the africa-Eurasia-North America plate motion circuit and tectonics of the Glauria fault. J. Geophys. Res. 94, 5585–5602.Google Scholar
  3. Aoudia, A. and Meghraoui, M., 1995, Seismotectonics in the Tell Atlas of Algeria: The Cavaignac (Abou El Hassan) earthquake of August 25, 1922 (M = 5.9). Tectonophysics 248, 263–276.Google Scholar
  4. Boudiaf, A., 1996, Etude sismotectonique de la region d’Algeret de la Kabylie: Utilisation des modèles numériques de terrain (MNT) et de la télédetection pour la reconnaissance des structures tectoniques actives. Ph.D Thesis, University Montpellier II, France, p. 274.Google Scholar
  5. Bouhadad, Y., 2001, The Murdjadjo, western Algeria, fault-related fold: implications for seismic hazard. J. Seism. 4 (5), pp. 541–558.Google Scholar
  6. Bouhadad, Y., Nour, A., Laouami, N., Belhai, D., 2003, The Tachaouaft-Beni-ourtilane fault and seismotectonic aspects of the Babors region (Eastern Algeria). J. Seism. 7, 79–88.Google Scholar
  7. Bounif, A., Haesler, H. and Meghraoui, M., 1987, The Constantine (North–East Algeria) earthquake of October 27, 1985: Surface ruptures and aftershocks study, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 85, 451–460.Google Scholar
  8. Benouar, D., 1994, Material for the investigation of the seismicity of Algeria and adjacent regions during the twentieth century. Annali di Geofisica, XXXVII, N4.Google Scholar
  9. Bezzeghoud, M. and Buforn, E., 1999, Source parameters of the 1992 Mellilavv (Spain, Mw = 4.8); 1994 Al Hoceima (Marocco, Mw = 5.8) and the Mascara (Algeria, Mw = 5.7) earthquakes and seismotectonic implications, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 99, 359–372.Google Scholar
  10. Harbi, A., Maouche, S. and Ayadi, A., 1999, Neotectonics and associated seismicity in Eastern Tellian Atlas of Algeria. J. Seism. 3, 95–104.Google Scholar
  11. Harbi, A., Benouar, D. and Benhallou, H., 2003a, Re-appraisal of seismicity and seismotectonics in the north-eastern Algeria. Part I: Review of historical seismicity. J. Seism. 7, 115–136.Google Scholar
  12. Harbi, A., Maouche, S. and Benhallou, H. 2003b, Re-appraisal of seismicity and seismotectonics in the north-eastern Algeria. Part II: 20th century seismicity and seismotectonics analysis. J. Seism. 7, 221–234.Google Scholar
  13. McKenzie, D., 1972, Active tectonics of the Mediterranean region. Geophys. J. Royal Astro. Soc. 30, 109–185.Google Scholar
  14. Meghraoui, M., Cisternas, A. and Philip, H. 1986, Seismotectonics of the lower Chellif basin: Structural background of the El Asnam (Algeria) earthquake. Tectonics 5, 809–836.Google Scholar
  15. Meghraoui, M., 1988, Géologie des zones sismiques du Nord de l’Algérie. Paléosismologie, tectonique active et synthèse sismotectonique. Ph.D Thesis, University Paris VI, France p. 356.Google Scholar
  16. Meghraoui, M., 1991, Blind reverse faulting system associated with the Mont Chenoua-Tipaza earthquake of October 29, 1988 (North-Central Algeria), Terra Nova 3, 84–93.Google Scholar
  17. Mokrane, A., Ait Messaoud, A., Sebai, A., Menia, N., Ayadi, A. and Bezzeghoud, M., 1994, Les séismes en Algérie de 1365 à 1992, Alger, Bezzeghoud M. and Benhallou, H. (eds), pp. 227.Google Scholar
  18. Philip, H. and Thomas, G., 1977, Détermination de la direction de raccourcissement de la phase de compression quaternaire en Oranie (Algeria). Rev. Géo. Phys. Geol. Dynam., XIX, fasc; 4, 315–324.Google Scholar
  19. Swan, F.K., 1995, Preliminary probabilistic seismic hazard assessment of the Algiers region. Technical Internal Report, CGS, p.53.Google Scholar
  20. Vogt, J. and Ambraseys, N.N., 1991, Matériaux relatifs à la sismicité de l’Algérie occidentale au cours de la 2éme moitiée du XIX’eme et au début du XX’eme siècles. Méditerranée 4, 39–45.Google Scholar
  21. Woodward Clyde Consultants (WCC) 1984, Seismic microzonation of the Echellif region, Technical report prepared for CTC, Algiers, 64p.Google Scholar
  22. Yielding, G., Ouyed, M., King, G.C.P. and Hatzfeld, D. 1989, Active tectonics of the Algerian Atlas mountains—evidence from aftershocks of the El Asnam earthquake. Geophys. J. Int. 99, 761– 788.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Bouhadad
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Nour
    • 1
  • A. Slimani
    • 1
  • N. Laouami
    • 1
  • D. Belhai
    • 2
  1. 1.CGSNational Center of Applied Research in Earthquake EngineeringAlgeirs
  2. 2.FSTGATUniversity of Science and Technology of Algiers (USTHB)Algiers

Personalised recommendations