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Jordan Valley Earthquake
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The best seismologists in the world dont know when the next big earthquake will hit. But a Tel Aviv University geologist suggests that earthquake patterns recorded in historical documents of Middle Eastern countries indicate that the regions next significant quake is long overdue.
A major quake of magnitude seven on the Richter scale in the politically-fragile region of the Middle East could have dire consequences for precious holy sites and even world peace, says Tel Aviv University geologist Dr. Shmulik Marco. In light of this imminent danger, Marco, from the schools Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, has taken an historical approach to earthquake forecasting by using ancient records from the Vatican and other religious sources in his assessment. The past holds the key to the future.

All of us in the region should be worried - Dr. Shmulik Marco, who dedicates his career to piecing together ancient clues.

Based on the translations of hundreds of documents -- some of the originals of which he assumes reside in Vatican vaults -- Marco has helped determine that a series of devastating earthquakes have hit the Holy Land over the last two thousand years. The major ones were recorded along the Jordan Valley in the years 31 B.C.E., 363 C.E., 749 C.E., and 1033 C.E.

So roughly, we are talking about an interval of every 400 years. If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake of 1033 - Dr. Shmulik Marco.

Written by monks and clergy, the documents, which span about two millennia, can help determine the location and impact of future quakes on several fault planes cutting through Israel and its neighbouring countries, Marco believes.

We use the records, written in churches and monasteries or by hermits in the desert, to find patterns. Even if these papers were not officially recording history, they hold a lot of information. ... Some are letters to Europe asking for funding of church repairs. And while many of these accounts are told in an archaic religious manner, they help us confirm the dates and location of major calamities. Following these patterns in the past can be a good predictor of the future - Dr. Shmulik Marco.

Marco credits the help of an international team of historians, who have deciphered the Latin, Greek, and Arabic of the original correspondence.

One of the most cited Christian chroniclers in history upon whom Marco bases some of his conclusions is a ninth-century Byzantine aristocratic monk named Theophanes, venerated today by Catholics. In one manuscript, Theophanes wrote, A great earthquake in Palestine, by the Jordan and in all of Syria on 18 January in the 4th hour. Numberless multitudes perished, churches and monasteries collapsed especially in the desert of the Holy City.

While Christian sources helped Marco confirm ancient catastrophes and cast light on future ones, Jewish sources from the Bible also gave him small pieces of the puzzle. A verse in Zachariah (Ch. 14) describes two instances of earthquakes, one of which split apart the Mount of Olives, he says. Muslim clergy have also collected ancient correspondence, which further broadens the picture.

Earthquakes are a manifestation of deeper processes inside the earth. My questions and analysis examine how often they occur and whether there is pattern to them, temporally or spatially. I am looking for patterns and I can say that based on ancient records, the pattern in Israel around the Dead Sea region is the most disturbing to us. When it strikes and it will this quake will affect Amman, Jordan as well as Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Earthquakes dont care about religion or political boundaries - Dr. Shmulik Marco.

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L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Beirut-Tripoli earthquake
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The source of one of history's most catastrophic events, the tsunami-generating 551 A.D. Beirut-Tripoli earthquake, lies dangerously just four miles off Lebanon's coast, according to a new underwater survey by an international team of geophysicists.

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A.D. 551 Tsunami
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In A.D. 551, a massive earthquake spawned huge tsunamis that devastated the coast of Phoenicia, now Lebanon.
Now a new underwater survey has finally uncovered the fault likely responsible for the catastrophe and shown that it rumbles approximately every 1,500 yearswhich means a disaster is due any day now.

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RE: Mediterranean Tsunami System
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Title: Active thrusting offshore Mount Lebanon: Source of the tsunamigenic A.D. 551 Beirut-Tripoli earthquake
Authors: Ata Elias, Paul Tapponnier, Satish C. Singh,  Geoffrey C.P. King, Anne Briais, Mathieu Daëron,  Helene Carton,  Alexander Sursock, Eric Jacques,  Rachid Jomaa, Yann Klinger.

On 9 July A.D. 551, a large earthquake, followed by a tsunami, destroyed most of the coastal cities of Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon). Tripoli is reported to have drowned, and Berytus (Beirut) did not recover for nearly 1300 yr afterwards.  
Geophysical data from the Shalimar survey unveil the source of this event, which may have had a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.5 and was arguably one of the most devastating historical submarine earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean: rupture of the offshore, hitherto unknown, 100150-km-long active, east-dipping Mount Lebanon thrust. Deep-towed sonar swaths along the base of prominent bathy-metric escarpments reveal fresh, west-facing seismic scarps that cut the sediment-smoothed seafloor. The Mount Lebanon thrust trace comes closest (8 km) to the coast between Beirut and Enfeh, where, as 13 14 C-calibrated ages indicate, a shoreline-fringing vermetid bench suddenly emerged by 80 cm in the sixth century A.D. At Tabarja, the regular vertical separation (1 m) of higher fossil benches suggests uplift by three more earthquakes of comparable size since the Holocene sea level reached a maximum ca. 76 ka, implying a 15001750 yr recurrence time. Unabated thrusting on the Mount Lebanon thrust likely drove the growth of Mount Lebanon since the late Miocene.

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Title: Sources of the AD 551, 1202 and 1759 earthquakes (Lebanon and Syria)
Authors: Daëron, M.; Elias, A.; Klinger, Y.; Tapponnier, P.; Jacques, E.; Sursock, A.

The sources of three large (M 7.5) Near East earthquakes - in July, AD 551, May 1202 and Nov. 1759 - remain controversial, because their mesoseismal areas overlap, straddling the three sub-parallel active faults of the Lebanese restraining bend. Paleoseismic trenching in the Yammoûneh basin yields unambiguous evidence both for slip on the Yammoûneh fault in the 12th-13th centuries AD, and for the lack of a posterior event. Only two seismic events are visible on both walls, in the uppermost 80 cm of the trench. Based on the calibrated ages of 14C samples, the latest ground-breaking earthquake occurred between AD 1008 and 1345. The only possible candidate for this event is the 1202 earthquake, since macroseismic damage for other large Near East events was clearly located either well south (AD 1033) or well north (AD 1157 and 1170) of the Beqaa. The penultimate event in the trench has a 14C-calibrated date between AD 324 - 537 and AD 802 - 1001. Such dates cannot be used to rule out that the AD 551 event took place on the Yammoûneh fault. However, the 551 event is famous for having ruined most of the seaports on the Lebanese coast and having caused a large tsunami which wiped out Beirut. The recent discovery (SHALIMAR cruise, 2003) of fresh seismic scarps related to oblique thrusting on the seafloor offshore Beirut makes it more likely that rupture of one segment of the Mount Lebanon thrust system caused the AD 551 earthquake and tsunami. Thus, we propose that each of the three earthquakes discussed originated on a distinct fault: AD 551 on the Mount Lebanon thrust, 1202 on the Yammoûneh fault, and 1759 on the Râchaïya-Serghaya fault. Our conclusion regarding the last two events is further supported by a comparison of the freshest visible seismic scarps, which indicates more recent slip on the Râchaïya-Serghaya system than on the Yammoûneh fault. Regarding the latter, the trenching results suggest that a recurring 1202-like, M 7.5 event might be due this century, as part of a sequence similar to that of AD 1033 - 1202, whose beginning might already have been heralded by the 1995, Mw 7.3 Aqaba earthquake. Clearly, a thorough re-assessment of seismic hazard in Lebanon, and on the entire Levant fault, is overdue.

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In July 9th, A.D. 551, a massive earthquake devastated the coast of Phoenicia, now Lebanon. The disaster is well-documented, but scientists had struggled over the years to locate the earthquake fault.
Now a new underwater survey has uncovered the fault and shown that it moves approximately every 1,500 yearswhich means a disaster is due any day now.

"It is just a matter of time before a destructive tsunami hits this region again" - Iain Stewart, an earthquake expert at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom not involved in the underwater survey.

Earthquakes are common in Lebanon, but many of the faults remain unidentified, hidden beneath the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Surveying this region is difficult because some of the continental shelf drops off very quickly, reaching water depths of around 1,500 meters only eight kilometres from the shore.
Ata Elias of the National Centre for Geophysical Research in Beirut, Lebanon, and his colleagues had a hunch that the fault responsible for the A.D. 551 earthquake would lie in this offshore region, so they did an underwater geophysical surveyand "hit the jackpot".
By bouncing radio waves off the seafloor and studying the reflection patterns, Elias and his team were able to build a three-dimensional map showing all the lumps and bumps on the seafloor.
Running parallel to the Middle Eastern coast, they discovered a distinctive stepped ridgethe shape made by a "thrust" fault when one of Earth's tectonic plates shoves its way underneath another.

"We inferred that this thrust fault is the source of major earthquakes" - Ata Elias .

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The team was able to trace this fault along the coast for more than a hundred kilometres.
The findings are published in the August issue of the journal Geology.

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Two years ago, a tsunami struck Southeast Asia, leaving up to 230,000 dead in its wake. A similar scenario could happen on Europe's coasts, with the eastern Mediterranean being particularly vulnerable. European scientists are studying the question and hope to develop a warning system for coastal populations.
The Mediterranean region has already been a victim of tsunamis in the past and there is every reason to believe that others will occur in the future. The TRANSFER and SAFER projects, supported by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research & Development, aim to contribute to understanding of tsunami processes in the Mediterranean and to develop an early warning system similar to the one used for the Pacific.
TRANSFER simulates tsunamis and develops programmes to analyse the risks to vulnerable coastal areas. The simulations give insight into the strength of waves and consequently allow predictions as to which coastal buildings and infrastructures might be able to stand up to them.
The SAFER project aims to develop an early warning system to guarantee the protection of civil populations. Indeed, timely warnings enable people to take shelter and might even help prevent a devastating death toll.
Research on tsunamis is still in its infancy. Although seismic activity has been taking place for thousands of years, observation of these phenomena has only been in place for around a century.

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An international group of experts has said that the Mediterranean region needs an early tsunami warning system.

"The countries concerned ought to go along with us and be aware of the need for a Mediterranean warning system. At present a sense of awareness is clearly lacking" - Francois Schindele, member of an inter-governmental coordination group for such a system for the Mediterranean and northeast Atlantic.

The inter-governmental panel was launched last year at the initiative of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

"The crux of the problem is to define the main early warning centres, of which there ought to be at least two in the Mediterranean area, and to provide funding for their permanent operation" - Francois Schindele.

The idea is to be able to reduce to between five and 10 minutes from the present 30 minutes to one hour the time between an earthquake occurring and the assessment of a tsunami risk.
Tsunamis are less frequent in the Mediterranean than in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but have been registered in the Mediterranean and the northeast Atlantic, for example that of 1755 which destroyed Lisbon.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake took place on November 1, 1755, at 9:20 in the morning. It was one of the most destructive and deadly earthquakes in history, killing between 60,000 and 100,000 people. The quake was followed by a tsunami and fire, resulting in the near total destruction of Lisbon. The earthquake accentuated political tensions in Portugal and profoundly disrupted the country's 18th century colonial ambitions.

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