Journal of Seismology

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 541–558 | Cite as

The Murdjadjo, Western Algeria, fault-related fold: Implications for seismic hazard

  • Youcef Bouhadad


The murdjadjo (Oran) geological structure which consists of an asymmetricfold has been studied. The anticline has a length of about 32 km and isN050 trending. Its relationship with the relatively high historical seismicityof the region is analysed. New critical investigations of contemporary documents enabled us to re-evaluate the December, 12, 1959(Ms = 4.7) and the May 12, 1889 (Ms = 4.6) earthquakes. Fieldobservations reveal the existence of a fault which affect the south-easternflank of the Murdjadjo anticline. The fault dips 60° to the NW andcut the tilted Neogene deposits which juxtaposes the Quaternary tilteddeposits. A NE-SW-trending direction of stream pattern underlies thefaulted flank of the anticline. Furthermore, offset of stream patternindicate a strike lateral slip component of the fault. Marine terracesmapped along the Oran coast indicates a uniform uplift rate of0.18 mm/yr which may be compared to the coseismic rate obtained inthe chelif region. Also, development of secondary small plain on theuplifted flank, the high subsidence in the Mleta quaternary plain whichjuxtaposes the faulted flank constitute evidence of recent tectonicmovements. The Murdjadjo fault, composed by two segments, mayproduce in the future strong earthquakes of magnitude equal or greaterthan 6.5. This fact suggests that the Oran earthquake of October 9, 1790(M = 7.5) which produced sea waves along the Spanish coast is likelygenerated by the Murdjadjo fault- related fold. Recurrence of earthquakedetermined on the basis of historical seismicity suggests a return period ofabout 1000 years for an earthquake of M = 7.3 which seem underestimatedcompared to the paleoseismic data available in The Tell atlas of Algeria.

Algeria faulting-seismic hazard fault-related fold Marine terraces seismicity stream pattern 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youcef Bouhadad
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center of Applied Research in Earthquake Engineering (CGS)H.Dey AlgiersAlgeria

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