Journal of Seismology

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1285–1290 | Cite as

A newly discovered historical earthquake or merely a chronological mistake? Report of Mary Eliza Rogers from October 10, 1856

Short Communication


In her nineteenth century book “Domestic Life in Palestine”, Mary Eliza Rogers describes the earthquake she had experienced in Haifa in the middle of the night between the 10th and 11th of October 1856. Although she reports that the earthquake was well felt in northern Palestine and even slightly damaged structures in Haifa, she is the only one who reported the event. However, on the following night, a destructive earthquake that occurred close to Crete was reported by many contemporary sources. Rogers’ report is not cited in any of the existing earthquake catalogs or literature. Thus, the question arises is whether what she reports is an earthquake that was unknown to us till now or perhaps she merely dated incorrectly the event she had experienced. To resolve this question, I interpreted her description of the moon phase at the time of the earthquake occurrence and concluded that Rogers incorrectly dated the event whereas in fact what she had experienced was the Crete earthquake. The rest of her description is probably reliable and reinforces reports of damaged localities along the coast of northern Palestine and southern Lebanon.


Mary Eliza Rogers Historical earthquake Damage 1856 Palestine Haifa 



I thank Prof. Shmulik Marco and Prof. Shay Zucker from Tel Aviv University for their advice and kind assistance, Prof. Basil Papazachos from Aristolle University of Thessaloniki for his support, and Prof. Rehav Rubin from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr. Amos Salamon from the Geological Survey of Israel for their useful comments and review. I also thank the Rothschild and Minerva foundations and the Geological Survey of Israel. Finally, I thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and review and Beverly Katz for editing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciencesthe Freie UniversityBerlinGermany

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