Holocene earthquakes inferred from a fan-delta sequence in the Dead Sea graben

Yehouda Enzel*, Galit Kadan, Yehuda Eyal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The Holocene sequence of the fan-delta of Nahal Darga, in Israel, records deformation associated with earthquakes related to the Dead Sea Transform in general and to the Jericho Fault in particular. The fan-delta sequence is well exposed, and 20 radiocarbon ages help to date the earthquakes that are inferred from (a) displacement along faults, (b) liquefaction features associated with 11 separate sandy and silty layers, and (c) slumped allocthonous bodies of sediments located directly above one of the main splays of the Jericho Fault. On average, an earthquake larger than M 5.5 has occurred approximately every 600 years. This estimate is based on the earthquake record of the complete stratigraphic sequence, with erosional hiatuses omitted from the calculations. The most recently deformed layer is related to the 1927 Jericho (M(L) 6.2) earthquake. This layer provides a modern analog for the style of soft-sediment deformation associated with earthquakes in the late Pleistocene and Holocene silty sand beds of the fan-delta complexes of the Dead Sea and its predecessor, Lake Lisan.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Israel Science Foundation founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Earth Science Administration, and by the Licensing Division of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. The time invested by J. Tinsley and T. Niemi in reviewing the manuscript was extremely helpful. Discussions and reviews of our work in the field and encouragement by R. Amit, A. Agnon, P. Bierman, J. Doolan, S. Marko, and S. Wells are greatly appreciated.


  • Dead Sea
  • Earthquakes
  • Fan delta
  • Holocene
  • Israel
  • Neotectonics


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