Deterministic seismic hazard assessment for the Makkah region, western Saudi Arabia

  • Hani Mahmoud Zahran
  • Vladimir SokolovEmail author
  • Salah El-Hadidy
Original Paper


Rapid social and industrial development of the Makkah and Jeddah regions emphasizes necessity of reassessment of seismic hazard, results of which are essential for aseismic design, emergency management, and insurance regulations. In this work, the deterministic seismic hazard studies are applied to evaluate level of seismic hazard for the Makkah region using the up-to-date geophysical, geological, and seismological database, and using different techniques. The assessment has been performed in terms of peak ground acceleration (PGA) and presumably active faults are considered as sources of earthquakes. Results of the study show that, in the context of the used models of seismic sources, the level of seismic hazard in the region is controlled by magnitude of earthquakes that may occur at the intersection of NE-SW faults (the Ad Damm fault zone and the Wadi Fatima Shear Zone) and the NNW-oriented faults that run parallel to the Red Sea coast (Red Sea Margin Faults group). It is important to make accurate mapping of faults using up-to-date data and to estimate if the faults are active at present. Particular attention should be given to careful estimation of maximum magnitude of possible earthquakes that can occur along the active fault.


Seismic hazard Makkah region Saudi Arabia 



The authors are grateful to Prof. Abdullah Al-Amri for the seismic data obtained before 2000 and to anonymous reviewer for the thorough comments. The work has been performed in the National Center for Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Saudi Geological Survey, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


  1. Abdelfattah AK, Morgen S, Mukhopahyay M (2016) Mapping b-value for 2009 Harrat Lunayyir earthquake swarm, western Saudi Arabia and Coulomb stress for its mainshock. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 330:14–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akkar S, Sandikkaya MA, Bommer JJ (2014) Empirical ground-motion models for point- and extended-source crustal earthquake scenarios in Europe and the Middle East. Bull Earthq Eng 12(1):359–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Amri AM (1995) Recent seismic activity in the northern Red Sea. Geodynamics 20:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al-Saud MM (2008) Seismic characteristics and kinematic models of Makkah and Central Red Sea regions. Arab J Geosci 1:49–61. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ambraseys NN, Adams RD (1988) The seismicity of Saudi Arabia and adjacent areas: part B. Department of Civil Engineering, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London ICST/KACST Project, ESEE Rep. no. 88/11Google Scholar
  6. Ambraseys NN, Melville CP (1988) The seismicity of Saudi Arabia and adjacent areas: part A. Department of Civil Engineering, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London ICST/KACST Project, ESEE Rep. no. 88/11Google Scholar
  7. Ambraseys NN, Melville CP, Adams RD (1994) The seismicity of Egypt, Arabia and the Red Sea: a historical review. Cambridge University Press, Great Britain 181 ppCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Atkinson GM, Boore DM (2006) Earthquake ground-motion prediction equations for Eastern North America. Bull Seismol Soc Am 96:2181–2205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Babiker N, Mula AHG, El-Hadidy S (2015) A unified Mw-based earthquake catalogue and seismic source zones for the Red Sea region. J Afr Earth Sci 109:168–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baer G, Hamiel Y (2010) Form and growth of an embryonic continental rift: InSAR observations and modelling of the 2009 western Arabia rifting episode. Geophys J Int 182:155–167Google Scholar
  11. Beven KJ, Aspinall WP, Bates PD, Borgomeo E, Goda K, Hall JW, Page T, Phillips JS, Rougier JT, Simpson M, Stephenson DB, Smith PJ, Wagener T, Watson M (2015) Epistemic uncertainties and natural hazard risk assessment – part 1: a review of the issues. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci Discuss 3:7333–7377. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bilal M, Askan A (2014) Relationships between felt intensity and recorded ground-motion parameters for Turkey. Bull Seismol Soc Am 104:484–496. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Blank HR (1977) Aeromagnetic and geological study of tertiary dikes and related structures on the Arabian margin of the Red Sea. In: Saudi Arabian Directorate General of Mineral Resources. Red Sea Research 1970–1975, Bulletin no. 22, G1–18Google Scholar
  14. Boore DM, Atkinson GM (2008) Ground-motion prediction equations for the average horizontal component of PGA, PGV, and 5%-damped PSA at spectral periods between 0.01 s and 10.0 s. Earthquake Spectra 24:99–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bosworth W (2015) Geological evolution of the Red Sea: historical background, review, and synthesis. In: Rasul NMA, Stewart ICF (eds) The Red Sea. Springer Earth System Sciences, Berlin Heidelberg, pp 45–78. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Camp VE, Roobol MJ (1989) The Arabian continental alkali basalt province: part I. Evolution of Harrat Rahat, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Bull Geol Soc Am 101:71–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Camp VE, Roobol MJ (1992) Upwelling asthenosphere beneath western Arabia and its regional implications. J Geophys Res 97:15255–15271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Camp VE, Hooper PR, Roobol MJ, White DL (1987) The Madinah eruption, Saudi Arabia: Magma mixing and simultaneous extrusion of three basaltic chemical types. Bull Volcanol 49:489–508. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Camp VE, Roobol MJ, Hooper PR (1991) The Arabian continental alkali basalt province: part II. Evolution of Harrats Khaybar, Ithnayn, and Kura, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Bull Geol Soc Am 103:363–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Campbell KW, Bozorgnia Y (2008) NGA ground motion model for the geometric mean horizontal component of PGA, PGV, PGD and 5%-damped linear elastic response spectra at periods ranging from 0.1 s to 10.0 s. Earthquake Spectra 24:139–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chernov YK (1989) Strong ground motion and quantitative assessment of seismic hazard. Fan Publishing House, Tashkent (in Russian)Google Scholar
  22. Deif A, Zahran HM, El-Hadidy MS, Bawajeeh AO, El-Hadidy SY, Mansoub TA (2009) Sesimic hazard assessment along Haramein high speed rail project (Makkah-Madinah). Saudi Geological Survey report, 150 ppGoogle Scholar
  23. Downs DT, Stelten ME, Champion DE, Dietterich HR, Nawab Z, Zharan H, Hassan K, Shawali J (2018) Volcanic history of the northernmost part of the Harrat Rahat volcanic field, Saudi Arabia. Geosphere 14(3):1253–1282. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duncan RA, Al-Amry AM (2013) Timing and composition of volcanic activity at Harrat Lunayyir, western Saudi Arabia. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 260:103–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. El-Hadidy SY (2015) Seismicity and seismotectonic setting of the Red Sea and adjacent areas. In: Rasul NMA, Stewart ICF (eds) The Red Sea. Springer Earth System Sciences, Berlin Heidelberg, pp 151–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. El-Hadidy SY, Zahran HM, El-Hadidy M, Sami M (2015) Seismicity and seismotectonic settings of western Saudi Arabia with special emphasis of 5.1 Baish-Jizan earthquake 2014. Workshop on Imaging and Active Tectonics of the Red Sea Region. King Abdulaziz University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 10–13, 2015Google Scholar
  27. El-Isa ZH, Al Shanti A (1989) Seismicity and tectonics of the Red Sea and western Arabia. Geophys J 97:449–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. El-Masry NN, Moufti MRH, Nemet K, Murcia H, Qaddah AA, Abdelwahed MF (2013) Historical accounts of the AD 1256 eruption near Al-Madinah. In: Proceedings of the VORISA scientific meeting, 17–18 November 2013. King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, p. 9–13Google Scholar
  29. Endo E, Zahran H, Nofal H, Hadidy S (2007) The Saudi National Seismic Network. Seismol Res Lett 78:439–445. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fnais MS, Abdelrahman K, El-Hady Sh, Abdel-Monem E (2014) Seismicity and seismotectonics of the Jeddah area, Saudi Arabia. WIT Trans State Art Sci Eng 79.
  31. Girdler RW (1991) The Afro-Arabian rift system – an overview. Tectonophysics 197:139–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnson PR (1998) Tectonic map of Saudi Arabia and adjacent areas. Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources, Technical Report USGS TR-98-3 (IR 948)Google Scholar
  33. Kassem OMK, Hamimi Z (2018) Finite strain analysis of the Wadi Fatima Shear Zone in Western Arabia, Saudi Arabia. Geotectonics 52(2):251–265. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Klügel J-U (2008) Seismic hazard analysis - quo Vadis. Earth-Sci Rev 88:1–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Klügel J-U, Mualchin L, Panza GF (2006) A scenario-based procedure for seismic risk analysis. Eng Geol 88:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McGuire RK (2001) Deterministic vs. probabilistic earthquake hazard and risks. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 21:377–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Merghelani HM, Kinkar AR, As-Sawwaf MW (1981) Seismicity studies in Saudi Arabia-Microearthquakes in the Jiddah area: Saudi Arabian Directorate General of Mineral Resources Open-File Report DGMROF-01-08, 64 pGoogle Scholar
  38. Moore TA, Al-Rehaili MH (1989) Explanatory notes to the geologic map of the Makkah quadrangle, sheet 21D, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, 62 pGoogle Scholar
  39. Moufti MR, Németh K, Murcia H, Lindsay JM (2013) The 1256 AD Al Madinah historic eruption geosite as the youngest volcanic chain in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Int J Earth Sci 102(4):1069–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mukhopadhyay B, Mogren S, Mukhopadhyay M, Dasgupta S (2013) Incipient status of dyke intrusion in top crust – evidences from the Al-Ays 2009 earthquake swarm, Harrat Lunayyir, SW Saudi Arabia. Geomat. Nat Hazards Risk 4(1):30–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osman A (2012) Seismic hazard analysis and development of ground motion parameters for Makkah region in Saudi Arabia. In: proceedings of the 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal, 24–28 September 2012, Accessed 5 Feb 2019
  42. Pallister JS (1986) Explanatory notes to the geologic map of the Al Lith quadrangle, sheet 20D, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, 41 pGoogle Scholar
  43. Pallister JS, McCausland WA, Jónsson S, Lu Z, Zahran HM, El Hadidy S, Aburukbah A, Stewart ICF, Lundgren PR, White RA, Moufti MRH (2010) Broad accommodation of rift-related extension recorded by dike intrusion in Saudi Arabia. Nat Geosci 3:705–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Panza GF (2017) NDSHA; robust and reliable seismic hazard assessment. Proceedings, International Conference on Disaster Risk Mitigation, Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 23–24, 2017, arXiv:1709.02945Google Scholar
  45. Panza GF, Peresan A, La Mura C (2013) Seismic hazard and strong ground motion: an operational neodeterministic approach from national to local scale. Geophysics and Geochemistry. In: UNESCOEOLSS Joint Commitee (eds) Encyclopedia of life support systems (EOLSS), developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO. Eolss Publishers, Oxford. Accessed 21 July 2019
  46. Panza GF, Kossobokov VG, Peresan A, Nekrasova A (2014) Why are the standard probabilistic methods of estimating seismic hazard and risk too often wrong. In: Wyss M (ed) Earthquake hazard, risk and disasters. Elsevier, Waltham, pp 309–357. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Poirier JP, Taher MA (1980) Historical seismicity in the near and Middle East, North Africa and Spain from Arabic documents (VIIth–XVIIIth century). Bull Seismol Soc Am 70:2185–2201Google Scholar
  48. Rehman F, El-Hady SM, Atef AH, Harbi HM (2016) Seismic hazard assessment of Western Coastal Province of Saudi Arabia: deterministic approach. Earthq Sci 29(5):299–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rehman F, Alamri AM, El-Hady HHM, Atef AH (2017) Seismic hazard assessment and rheological implications; a case study selected for cities of Saudi Arabia along the eastern coast of Red Sea. Arab J Geosci 10:540. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Roobol MJ, Kadi KA (2008) Cenozoic faulting in the Rabigh area, central west Saudi Arabia (including the sites of King Abdullah Economic City and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology). Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2008-6, 1:250,000 map, with text 12 pGoogle Scholar
  51. Roobol MJ, Kadi KA (2014) Cenozoic faulting in the Jizan area, Southwest Saudi Arabia. Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2013-14, 32 p., 18 figs, 3 platesGoogle Scholar
  52. Roobol MJ, Stewart ICF (2009) Cenozoic faults and recent seismicity in Northwest Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aqaba region. Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2008-7, 35 p., 35 figs, 2 app., 10 platesGoogle Scholar
  53. Saudi Building Code SBC-301-2007. Loads and Forces Requirements. Saudi Building Code National CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  54. Sokolov V (2017) Seismic hazard analysis based on maximum credible earthquakes. Bull Earthq Eng 15(5):1831–1852. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sokolov V, Zahran HM (2018) Seismic hazard analysis for development of risk-targeted ground-motion maps in the western Saudi Arabia, Proceedings 16-th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 18–21 June 2018, Thessaloniki, Greece, paper 10424Google Scholar
  56. Sokolov V, Zahran HM, El-Hadidy SY, El-Hadidy M, Alraddi WW (2017) Seismic hazard assessment for Saudi Arabia using spatially smoothed seismicity and analysis of hazard uncertainty. Bull Earthq Eng 15:2695–2735. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stern RJ, Johnson PR (2010) Continental lithosphere of the Arabian plate: a geologic, petrologic, and geophysical synthesis. Earth-Sci Rev 101:29–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stewart ICF, Miller DT (2018) Directional tilt derivatives to enhance structural trends in aeromagnetic grids. J Appl Geophys 159:553–563. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Thenhaus PC, Algermissen ST, Perkins DM, Hanson SL, Diment WH (1989) Probabilistic estimates of the seismic ground-motion hazard in Western Saudi Arabia. US Geological Survey Bull 1868, 42 pGoogle Scholar
  60. Vakov AV (1996) Relationships between earthquake magnitude, source geometry and slip mechanism. Tectonophysics 261:97–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Whiteman AJ (1976) The existence of transform faults in the Red Sea depression. Philos Trans R Soc Lond A 267:407–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Worden CB, Gerstenberger MC, Rhoades DA, Wald DJ (2012) Probabilistic relationships between ground motion parameters and modified Mercalli intensity in California. Bull Seismol Soc Am 102:204–221. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zahran HM, El-Hady SM (2017) Seismic hazard assessment for Harrat Lunayyir – a lava field in western Saudi Arabia. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 200:428–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zahran HM, Stewart ICF, Johnson PR, Basahel MH (2003) Aeromagnetic-anomaly maps of central and western Saudi Arabia. Saudi Geological Survey Open-File Report SGS-OF-2002-8, 6 p., 1 fig, 1 table, 4 sheets (scale 1:2,000,000)Google Scholar
  65. Zahran HM, Sokolov V, El-Hadidy S, Alraddi WW (2015) Preliminary probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on combined areal source model: Monte Carlo approach and sensitivity analyses. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 77:453–468. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zahran HM, Sokolov V, Roobol MJ, Stewart ICF, El-Hadidy S, El-Hadidy M (2016) On the development of a seismic source zonation model for seismic hazard assessment in western Saudi Arabia. J Seismol 20(3):747–769. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zahran HM, El-Hady SM, Abuelnaga HS (2017) Aeromagnetic data over Harrat Lunayyir and surrounding areas, western Saudi Arabia. Arab J Geosci 10:63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zhao JX, Zhang J, Asano A, Ohno Y, Oouchi T, Takahashi T, Ogawa H, Irikura K, Thio HK, Somerville PG, Fukushima Y (2006) Attenuation relations of strong ground motion in Japan using site classifications based on predominant period. Bull Seismol Soc Am 96:898–913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zuccolo E, Vaccari F, Peresan A, Panza GF (2011) Neo-deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazard assessments: a comparison over the Italian territory. Pure Appl Geophys 168:69–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hani Mahmoud Zahran
    • 1
  • Vladimir Sokolov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Salah El-Hadidy
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Saudi Geological SurveyJeddahSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations