Journal of Seismology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1549–1561 | Cite as

Characterizing the active tectonics in the Oran region (Algeria) and recasting the 1790 earthquake

  • Imene Meriem Benbakhti
  • Said Maouche
  • Djelloul Belhai
  • Assia Harbi
  • Jean-François Ritz
  • Ghilles Rabai
  • Ahmed Rezouk
  • Fawzi Doumaz


In this work, we reappraise the seismogenic potential of the geologic structures in the western Tell Atlas of Algeria, considered active host to moderate to low magnitude earthquakes. The direct identification of active faults is generally a difficult task in northern Algeria. The active tectonics in the Oran Plio-Quaternary age basin (Northwestern Algeria) is analyzed and characterized through a morpho-structural study combining topographic, geomorphologic, geological, and neotectonic data. Folds and fault scarps affecting Quaternary deposits show that the region is affected by compressional deformation still active nowadays, as shown by the recorded seismic activity. Our new observations enable a better understanding of the present seismotectonic context of the Oran region, particularly with regard to the magnitude and source of the 1790 Oran damaging event. The obtained result helps to shed some light on the elusive active tectonics characterizing this coastal area, and to assess regional seismic hazard, particularly in coastal zones where large seismogenic areas straddle the onshore–offshore zones.


Oran Geomorphology Neotectonics Active tectonics Seismicity 



This study has been supported by the CRAAG/Algiers, the FSTGAT USTHB/University, and the MEDYNA FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES project. I.B., S.M., A.H., G.R., A.R, and F.D. are NAGET members (


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imene Meriem Benbakhti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Said Maouche
    • 3
  • Djelloul Belhai
    • 1
  • Assia Harbi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jean-François Ritz
    • 5
  • Ghilles Rabai
    • 1
  • Ahmed Rezouk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fawzi Doumaz
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géodynamique, Géologie de l’Ingénieur et Planétologie (FSTGAT, USTHB)AlgiersAlgeria
  2. 2.Agence du Service Géologique de l’AlgérieLotissement 11 Décembre 1960 El BiarAlgiersAlgeria
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche en Astronomie, Astrophysique et GéophysiqueAlgiersAlgeria
  4. 4.Simons Fellow at AbdusSalam, International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly
  5. 5.Géosciences Montpellier, CNRS, Université de MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  6. 6.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologiavia di Vigna MurataRomeItaly

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