Natural Hazards

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 431–451 | Cite as

Source parameters and ground motion of the Suez-Cairo shear zone earthquakes, Eastern Desert, Egypt

  • K. M. Abou EleneanEmail author
  • Adel M. E. Mohamed
  • H. M. Hussein
Original Paper


Three felt earthquakes with local magnitudes 4.0 (June 29th, 2000), 4.2 (July 07th, 2005) and 3.7 (October 30th, 2007) occurred to the southeast of Cairo along the Suez-Cairo shear zone. Being the most well recorded events by the Egyptian National Seismic Network (ENSN) in this area, they provide us an excellent opportunity to study the tectonics, the stress field, the source parameters, and the expected ground motion at Cairo. The focal mechanisms of the three events based on the first motion P-wave polarities indicate mainly normal faulting with a slight strike-slip component along nodal planes trending nearly EW and NW–SE. The three focal solutions imply a rejuvenation of the pre-existing EW and NW–SE faults due to a partly transfer of rifting deformation from the Red Sea-Gulf of Suez along these trends. Dynamic source parameters of these events are estimated from the P-wave spectra of the closest ENSN stations. The average values of the seismic moment, stress drop, rupture radius, and fault dislocation are estimated from six stations and interpreted in the context of the tectonic setting. These parameters in addition to the effects of site and path are used to synthesize the ground motion seismograms using stochastic modeling technique at the recorded stations and at some strategic sites.


Focal mechanism Source parameters Ground motion Suez-Cairo shear zone 



We thank Prof. Thomas Glade, the two anonymous referees and Dr. Karim Aoudia (ICTP) for reviewing the manuscript and their insightful comments that significantly improved this manuscript. The figures of this paper were plotted using the GMT software package (Wessel and Smith 1991).


  1. Abdallah AMA (1993) Structure geology of the area between El Galala El Bahariya and Gebel Okheider. Ph.D. Thesis, Geological Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, 1993Google Scholar
  2. Abdallah AM, Abdel Hady FM (1966) Geology of Sadat area. Gulf Suez. J Geol Egypt 10(1):1–22Google Scholar
  3. Abou Elenean KM (1997) Seismotectonics of Egypt in relation to the Mediterranean and Red Seas tectonics. Ph. D. Thesis, Ain Shams University, EgyptGoogle Scholar
  4. Abou Elenean KM (2007) Focal mechanisms of small and moderate size earthquakes recorded by the Egyptian National Seismic Network (ENSN), Egypt, NRIAG. J Geophys 6(1):119–153Google Scholar
  5. Abou Elenean KM, Hussein HM (2007) Source mechanism and source parameters of May 28, 1998 earthquake, Egypt. J Seismol 11:259–274. doi: 10.1007/s10950-007-9051-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Abou Elenean KM, Hussein HM (2008) The October 11, 1999 and November 08, 2006 Beni Suef Earthquakes, Egypt. Pure Appl Geophys 165(7):1391–1410. doi: 10.1007/s00024-008-0363-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ambraseys NN, Jackson JA (1998) Faulting associated with historical and recent earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Geophys J Int 133:390–406. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-246X.1998.00508.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ambraseys NN, Melville CP, Adams RD (1994) The seismicity of Egypt, Arabia and Red Sea. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Archuleta RJ, Cranswinck E, Mueller CH, Spudich P (1982) Source parameters of the 1980 Mammoth lakes, California, earthquakes sequence. J Geophys Res 87:4595–4607. doi: 10.1029/JB087iB06p04595 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Atkinson GM (1984) Attenuation of strong ground motion in Canada from a random vibrations approach. Bull Seismol Soc Am No 74:2629–2653Google Scholar
  11. Atkinson GM, Boore DM (1995) Ground motion relations for eastern North America. Bull Seismol Soc Am No 85:17–30Google Scholar
  12. Badawy A (2005) Present-day seismicity, stress field and crustal deformation of Egypt. J Seismol 9:267–276. doi: 10.1007/s10950-005-2190-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boore DM (1983) Stochastic simulation of high frequency ground motions based on seismological models of the radiated spectra. Bull Seismol Soc Am 73:1865–1894Google Scholar
  14. Boore DM (1996) SMSIM – Fortran programs for simulating ground motions from earthquakes: version 1.0, USGS. Open-File Report 96-80-A, 96-80-B, 73 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Boore DM (2003) Simulation of ground motion using the stochastic method. Pure Appl Geophys 160(3–4):635–676. ISSN: 0033-4553/03/040635-42Google Scholar
  16. Boore DM, Atkinson GM (1987) Stochastic prediction of ground motion and spectral response parameters at hard-rock sites in eastern North America. Bull Seismol Soc Am 77:440–467Google Scholar
  17. Boore DM, Boatwright J (1984) Average body-wave radiation coefficients. Bull Seismol Soc Am 74(5):1615–1621Google Scholar
  18. Brune JN (1970) Tectonic stress and the spectra of seismic shear waves from earthquakes. J Geophys Res 75:4997–5009. doi: 10.1029/JB075i026p04997 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Brune JN (1971) Correction. J Geophys Res 76:5002. doi: 10.1029/JB076i020p05002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Castro R, Rovelli A, Cocco M, Di Bona M, Pacor F (2001) Stochastic simulation of strong-motion records from the 26 September 1997 (Mw 6), Umbria-Marche (Central Italy) earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 91:27–39. doi: 10.1785/0120000011 Google Scholar
  21. EGSMA (1999) The Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority. The Geologic map of the area between Ataqa Mountain and El-Galala El-Bahariya plateau scale 1:100000Google Scholar
  22. El-Hadidy S (1995) Crustal structure and its related causative tectonics in northern Egypt using geophysical data. Ph. D. Thesis, Ain Shams UniversityGoogle Scholar
  23. El-Hadidy S, Adel MEM, Deif A, Abu El Ata AS, Sayed SRM (2006) Estimating of frequency dependent coda wave attenuation structure at the vicinity of Cairo Metropolitan Area. Acta Geophys 54(2):177–186. doi: 10.2478/s11600-006-0011-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. El-Sayed A, Vaccari F, Panza GF (2004) The Nile Valley of Egypt: a major active graben that magnifies seismic waves. Pure Appl Geophys 161:983–1002. doi: 10.1007/s00024-003-2504-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fat-Helbary R, Yutaka O (1994) Attenuation models of seismic intensity and peak ground acceleration in Egypt. Proceedings of the first Cairo earthquake engineering symposium, Cairo, pp 55–70Google Scholar
  26. Garcia-Garcia JM, Vidal F, Romacho MD, Martin-Marfil JM, Posadas A, Luzon F (1996) Seismic source parameters for microearthquakes of the Granada basin (southern Spain). Tectonophysics 261:51–66. doi: 10.1016/0040-1951(96)00056-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Halsey JH (1975) Interpretation of Erts Linears. Unpublished lecture delivered to Egyptian Geologist, General Petroleum Company, Cairo, Egypt Google Scholar
  28. Hanks TC, McGuire RK (1981) The character of high-frequency strong ground motion. Bull Seismol Soc Am 71:2071–2095Google Scholar
  29. Hanks TC, Wyss M (1972) The use of body-wave spectra in the determination of seismic-source parameters. Bull Seismol Soc Am 62:561–589Google Scholar
  30. Herrmann R, Kijko A (1983) Modelling some empirical vertical component Lg relations. Bull Seismol Soc Am 73:157–171Google Scholar
  31. Hussein HM (1999) Source process of the October 12, 1992 Cairo earthquake. Ann Geofis 42(4):647–665Google Scholar
  32. Kanamori H (1977) The energy release in great earthquakes. J Geophys Res 82:1981–1987. doi: 10.1029/JB082i020p02981 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kebeasy RM (1990) Seismicity. In: Said R (ed) Geology of Egypt. A. A. Balkerma, Rotterdam, pp 51–59Google Scholar
  34. Kebeasy R, Maamoun M, Albert R (1981) Earthquake activity and earthquake risk around the Alexandria area in Egypt. Acta Geophysica Polonica 29(1):37–48Google Scholar
  35. Lienert B, Berg E, Frazer L (1988) HYPOCENTER, an earthquake location method using centered, scaled and adaptively least squares. Bull Seismol Soc Am 76:771–783Google Scholar
  36. Maamoun M, Megahed A, Allam A (1984) Seismicity of Egypt. Helwan Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics Bulletin, Vol 4, Ser. B, pp 109–102Google Scholar
  37. Mahmoud S, Reilinger R, McClusky S, Vernant P, Tealeb A (2005) GPS evidence for northward motion of the Sinai Block: implications for E. Mediterranean tectonics. Earth Planet Sci Lett 238:217–224. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2005.06.063 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meneisy MY (1990) Volcanicity. In: Said R (ed) The geology of Egypt, Chapter 9. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 157–172)Google Scholar
  39. Meshref WM (1982) Regional structural setting of northern Egypt. Proceeding of the 6th Egyptian general petroleum corporation exploration seminar, Cairo, pp 17–34 Google Scholar
  40. Mohamed AME (2009) Estimating the near surface amplification factor to minimize earthquake damage: a case study at West Wadi Hagoul area, Gulf of Suez, Egypt. Geophys Prospect. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2478.2009.00796.x
  41. Moustafa A, Abd-Allah A (1992) Transfer zones with en echelon faulting at the northern end of the Suez rift. Tectonics 11(3):499–509. doi: 10.1029/91TC03184 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Moustafa A, El-Badrawy R, Gibali H (1998) Pervasive E-ENE oriented faults in northern Egypt and their effect on the Development and inversion of prolific sedimentary basis. Proceedings of 14th petroleum conference, vol 1. Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, pp 51–67Google Scholar
  43. Nelson R (1987) Notes on the northern termination of the Gulf of Suez rift into pre-existing E-W fault system. Petrology 24(11–12):57–62Google Scholar
  44. Sadek H (1926) The geography and geology of the district between Gebel Ataqa and El Galala El Bahariya (Gulf of Suez). Geol Survey Egypt, Paper 40, 120 ppGoogle Scholar
  45. Scholz CH (1990) The mechanics of earthquake faulting. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 326–329Google Scholar
  46. Silva WJ, Darragh RB (1995) Engineering characterization of strong ground motion recorded at rock sites, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California, Report No. TR-102262Google Scholar
  47. Silva WJ, Lee K (1987) WES RASCAL code for synthesizing earthquake ground motions, state-of-the-art for assessing earthquake hazards in the United States, Report 24, U.S. Army Engineers Waterways Experiment Station, Misc. Paper S-73-1Google Scholar
  48. Singh SK, Apsel RJ, Fried J, Brune JN (1982) Spectral attenuation of SH-waves along the imperial fault. Bull Seismol Soc Am 72:2003–2016Google Scholar
  49. Snoke A (2003) Focal mechanism determination software (FOCMEC package).
  50. Steckler M, Ten Brink U (1986) Lithosphere strength variations as a control on new plate boundaries: examples from the Northern Red Sea region. Earth Planet Sci Lett 79:120–132. doi: 10.1016/0012-821X(86)90045-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Suetsugu D (1998) Practice on source mechanism. IISEE Lecture note, Tsukuba, Japan, 104 ppGoogle Scholar
  52. Toro GR, McGuire RK (1987) An investigation into earthquake ground motion characteristics in eastern North America. Bull Seismol Soc Am 77:468–489Google Scholar
  53. Wessel P, Smith W (1991) Free software helps maps and display data. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 72: 441Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Abou Elenean
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Adel M. E. Mohamed
    • 1
  • H. M. Hussein
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Seismology DepartmentNational Research Institute of Astronomy and GeophysicsHelwanEgypt
  2. 2.North Africa Seismological Group NASG Net40/OEA/ICTPTriesteItlay

Personalised recommendations