The Major Gulf of the Aqaba Earthquake, 22 November 1995 – Maximum Intensity Distribution
The major earthquake of 22 November 1995, with a moment magnitude MW = 7.1 and a local magnitude ML 6.2, was the beginning of a seismic swarm that occurred in the central part of the Gulf of Aqaba. During this swarm, thousands of earthquakes occurred with local magnitude ranging between 2 and 6.2 from 22 November 1996 to 31 December 1997, when 2089 earthquakes were detected and/or analyzed by the Jordan Seismological Observatory (JSO). The major earthquake strongly affected the near shoreline cities (Figure 1). The maximum observed intensity on these cities was VIII on the modified Mercalli intensity (MMI) scale. A questionnaire was distributed in the main cities of Jordan one week after the major earthquake. The results of this investigation, which demonstrated the observed intensity distribution for Aqaba city, shows a relationship between local conditions, such as geological foundations and topographical characters, and the extent of the destruction. This conclusion was supported by the maximum peak ground acceleration (PGA) measurements inside Aqaba and Eilat cities. From the results of this questionnaire compiled inside Jordan, and other reports and readings compiled from other nearby countries outside Jordan, a preliminary regional iso-intensity map for this major earthquake of 22 November 1995 is presented in this study.
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