Journal of Seismology

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

The Beni-Ourtilane-Tachaouaft fault and Seismotectonic aspects of the Babors region (NE of Algeria)

  • Youcef Bouhadad
  • Ali Nour
  • Nacer Laouami
  • Djelloul Belhai


A shallow moderate (Ms=5.7) but damaging earthquake shook theregion of Beni-Ourtilane located about 50 km NW of Setif and 390 kmNE of Algiers (Central Eastern Algeria). The main shock caused the deathof 2 peoples, injured 50 and caused sustainable damage to about 3000housing units. The main shock was preceded by 2 foreshocks and followedby many aftershocks which lasted for many days. Analysis of historicalseismicity including the localisation of epicenters, the trend of isoseismalmaps of some historical events, the localisation of the November 10, 2000main shock (Ms=5.7) and the November 16, 2000 aftershock(Ms=4.5) as well as the shape of the area of maximum intensity ofthe November 10, 2000 earthquake suggest that the Tachaouaft fault of20 km of length is the activated geological structure. Although, there isno clear surface breaks associated with this earthquake, the localisation ofgeological disorders, such as ground fissures, during the Beni-Ourtilaneearthquake, which are remarkably located near the fault, may have atectonic meaning. Geomorphological analysis through Digital ElevationModels (DEMs) allowed us to identify a clear fault scarp related likely tostrong earthquakes occurred in the past. Among geomorphologicalevidences of this active fault there are the uplift and tilt of alluvial terraceson the hanging wall and the diversion of the drainage pattern. Based onthe quality of constructions and field observations an intensity I0 = VII (MSK scale) is attributed to the epicentral area,which is striking NE-SW in agreement with the focal mechanism solutionand the seismotectonic observations. In the other hand the amount ofdamage is due rather to the bad quality of constructions than to theseverity of ground motion. The Tachaouaft fault with the Kherrata fault isthe main source of seismic hazard in the Babors region.

active fault Algeria DEM earthquake geological disorders geomorphology isoseismal Tachaouaft 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ambraseys, N.N., 1982. The seismicity of north Africa: the earthquake of 1856 at Jijeli, Algeria, Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata, Rome, Vol. XXIV, N.93, 31–37.Google Scholar
  2. Aoudia, A. and Meghraoui, M., 1995, Seismotectonics in the Tell Atlas of Algeria: The Cavaignac (Abou El Hassan) earthquake of August 25, 1922 (M S = 5.9), Tectonophysics 248, 263–276.Google Scholar
  3. Aoudia, A., Vaccari, F., Suhadolc, P., Meghraoui, M., 2000, Seismogenic potential and earthquake hazard assessment in the Tell Atlas of Algeria, J. Seismol. 4, 79–98.Google Scholar
  4. Argus, D.F., Gordon, R.G., De Mets, C. and Stein, S., 1989, Closure of the Africa-Eurasia-North America plate motions circuit and tectonics of the glauria fault. J. Geophys. Res. 94, 5585–5602.Google Scholar
  5. Benhallou, H., 1985, Les catastrophes sismiques de la région d'ech Chellif dans le contexte de la sismicité historique de l'Algérie du Nord. Thèse de doctorat, Université des sciences et de la technologie d'Alger (USTHB), pp. 294.Google Scholar
  6. Benouar, D., 1994, Material for the investigation of the seismicity of Algeria and adjacent region during the twentieth century. Annali di Geofisica, XXXVII, N4. 1994., pp. 860.Google Scholar
  7. Bezzeghoud, M., Ayadi, A., Sebai, A., Ait Messaoud, M., Mokrane, M. and Benhallou, H., 1996, Seismicity of Algeria between 1365 and 1989: Map of maximum observed intensities (MOI), Advances en Geofisica y Geodesia, I, pp. 107–114, IGN, Madrid.Google Scholar
  8. Bezzeghoud, M. and Buforn, E., 1999, Source parameters of the 1992 Mellila (Spain, M w = 4.8), 1994 Alhoceima (Morocco, M w = 5.8) and the Mascara (Algeria, M w = 5.7) earthquakes and seismotectonic implications, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 89, 359–372.Google Scholar
  9. Boudiaf, A., Philip, H., Coutelle, A. and Ritz, J.F., 1999, Découverte d'un chevauchement d'âge quaternaire au Sud de la grande Kabylie (Algérie), Geodynamica acta (Paris) 12(2), 71–80.Google Scholar
  10. Bouhadad, Y., 2000, Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment in the Beni-Chougrane region, Western Algeria, Europ. Earthq. Engin. 3, 82–87.Google Scholar
  11. Bouhadad, Y., 2001, The Murdjadjo, western Algeria, fault-related fold: implication for seismic hazard, J. Seismol. 5, 541–558.Google Scholar
  12. Bounif, A., Haesler, H. and Meghraoui, M., 1987, The Constantine (Northeast Algeria) earthquake of October 27, 1987: surface ruptures and aftershocks study, Earth &; Planet. sci. lett. 85, 451–460.Google Scholar
  13. CGS, 2001, Caractérisation du séisme de Beni-Ourtilane. Interne report, National center of applied research in earthquake engineering, 40 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Coutelle, A., 1979, Géologie du SE de la grande Kabylie et des Babors d'Akbou. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Bretagne occidentale, pp. 567.Google Scholar
  15. Coyne and Bellier, 1996. Barrage de Tichi-Haf. Structure géologique et perméabilité: hypothèses le voile d'étanchéité, rapport technique, pp. 34.Google Scholar
  16. De Mets, C., Gordon, R.C., Argus, D.F. and Stein, S., 1990, Current plate motion, Geophys. J. Intern. 101, 425–478.Google Scholar
  17. Deschamps, A., Bezzeghoud, M. and Bounif, A., 1991, Seismological study of the Constantine (Algeria) earthquake of October 27, 1985. In: Mezcua, J. and Udias, A. (eds), Seismicity, Seismotectonics and Seismic Risk of the Ibero-maghrebian Region, (publ. Inst. Geogr. Nac. Madrid) 8, pp. 163–173.Google Scholar
  18. Grandjian, A., Guiraud, R. and Polveche, J., 1966, Le séisme de Msila, Publ. Serv. Geol. De l'Algérie, Alger, Bull. 33, 33–47.Google Scholar
  19. Guiraud, R., 1977, Sur la néotectonique des régions ouest constantinoises, Bull. Soc. Geol. (France) 7, t. XIX, pp. 645–650.Google Scholar
  20. Hanks, T.C. and Kanamori, H., 1979, A moment magnitude scale, J. Geophys. Res 84, 2348–2350.Google Scholar
  21. Harbi, A., Maouche, S. and Ayadi, H., 1999, Neotectonics and associated seismicity in the Eastern Tellian Atlas of Algeria, J. Seismol. 3, 95–104.Google Scholar
  22. King, G.C.P and Vita-Finzi, C., 1981, Active folding in the Algerian earthquake of 10 October 1980, Nature 292, 22–26.Google Scholar
  23. Meghraoui, M., 1988, Géologie des zones sismiques du Nord de l'Algérie: Paléosismologie, tectonique active et synthèse sismotectonique. Thèse de doctorat Université Pierre et Marie Curie, pp. 356, France.Google Scholar
  24. Meghraoui, M., 1991, Blind reverse faulting system associated with the mont Chenoua-Tipaza earthquake of 29 October 1989 (north-central Algeria), Ter ra Nova 3, 84–93.Google Scholar
  25. Mokrane, A., Ait Messaoud, A., Sebai, A., Menia, N., Ayadi, A. and Bezzeghoud, M., 1994, Les séismes en Algérie de 1365–1992, CRAAG, Alger, Supervised by Bezzeghoud, M. and Benhallou, H., pp. 227.Google Scholar
  26. Rothe, J.P., 1950, Les séismes de Kherrata et la sismicité de l'Algérie. Publication du service des cartes géologiques de l'Algérie, 40 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Vila, J.M., 1980, La chaine alpine d'Algérie orientale et des confins algéro-tunisiens. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), pp. 665.Google Scholar
  28. Wells, D.L. and Coppersmith, K.J., 1994, Updated empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture area, and surface displacement, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 84, 974–1002.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youcef Bouhadad
    • 1
  • Ali Nour
    • 1
  • Nacer Laouami
    • 1
  • Djelloul Belhai
    • 2
  1. 1.CGS, National Center of Applied research in earthquake engineering 1, Rue Kadour Rahim, Hussein DeyAlgiersAlgeria
  2. 2.USTHB, University of Algiers, FSTGAT, BP 32 El-Alia Bab-EzzouarAlgiersAlgeria

Personalised recommendations