Journal of Seismology

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 731–748 | Cite as

Detailed seismicity analysis revealing the dynamics of the southern Dead Sea area

  • B. BraeuerEmail author
  • G. Asch
  • R. Hofstetter
  • Ch. Haberland
  • D. Jaser
  • R. El-Kelani
  • M. Weber
Original Article


Within the framework of the international DESIRE (DEad Sea Integrated REsearch) project, a dense temporary local seismological network was operated in the southern Dead Sea area. During 18 recording months, 648 events were detected. Based on an already published tomography study clustering, focal mechanisms, statistics and the distribution of the microseismicity in relation to the velocity models from the tomography are analysed. The determined b value of 0.74 leads to a relatively high risk of large earthquakes compared to the moderate microseismic activity. The distribution of the seismicity indicates an asymmetric basin with a vertical strike-slip fault forming the eastern boundary of the basin, and an inclined western boundary, made up of strike-slip and normal faults. Furthermore, significant differences between the area north and south of the Bokek fault were observed. South of the Bokek fault, the western boundary is inactive while the entire seismicity occurs on the eastern boundary and below the basin-fill sediments. The largest events occurred here, and their focal mechanisms represent the northwards transform motion of the Arabian plate along the Dead Sea Transform. The vertical extension of the spatial and temporal cluster from February 2007 is interpreted as being related to the locking of the region around the Bokek fault. North of the Bokek fault similar seismic activity occurs on both boundaries most notably within the basin-fill sediments, displaying mainly small events with strike-slip mechanism and normal faulting in EW direction. Therefore, we suggest that the Bokek fault forms the border between the single transform fault and the pull-apart basin with two active border faults.


Dead Sea basin Microseismicity Cluster Pull-apart basin Asymmetric basin Transform fault 



The work presented here was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ). We are grateful to Jacek Stankiewicz for proofreading the manuscript. All the figures were created with the GMT software (Wessel and Smith, 2002). Thanks to Felix Waldhauser, Vasileios Kapentanidis and Trond Ryberg for their helpful comments to HypoDD. The field installation was done by many people. We are especially grateful to Benjamin Heit and Ayman Mohsen. We thank the Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII), the Natural Resources Authority (NRA) of Jordan and the An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine, for their support during the field work. The instruments for the field work were provided by the Geophysical Instrument Pool Potsdam (GIPP) of the GFZ. Manual event detection was mainly done by Oliver Rach.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Braeuer
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Asch
    • 1
  • R. Hofstetter
    • 2
  • Ch. Haberland
    • 1
  • D. Jaser
    • 3
  • R. El-Kelani
    • 4
  • M. Weber
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII)LodIsrael
  3. 3.Natural Resources Authority (NRA)AmmanJordan
  4. 4.An-Najah National UniversityNablusPalestine
  5. 5.Institute of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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