Shallow architecture of the Wadi Araba fault (Dead Sea Transform) from high-resolution seismic investigations

Ch Haberland*, N. Maercklin, D. Kesten, T. Ryberg, Ch Janssen, A. Agnon, M. Weber, A. Schulze, I. Qabbani, R. El-Kelani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In a high-resolution small-scale seismic experiment we investigated the shallow structure of the Wadi Araba fault (WAF), the principal fault strand of the Dead Sea Transform System between the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat and the Dead Sea. The experiment consisted of 8 sub-parallel 1 km long seismic lines crossing the WAF. The recording station spacing was 5 m and the source point distance was 20 m. The first break tomography yields insight into the fault structure down to a depth of about 200 m. The velocity structure varies from one section to the other which were 1 to 2 km apart, but destinct velocity variations along the fault are visible between several profiles. The reflection seismic images show positive flower structures and indications for different sedimentary layers at the two sides of the main fault. Often the superficial sedimentary layers are bent upward close to the WAF. Our results indicate that this section of the fault (at shallow depths) is characterized by a transpressional regime. We detected a 100 to 300 m wide heterogeneous zone of deformed and displaced material which, however, is not characterized by low seismic velocities at a larger scale. At greater depth the geophysical images indicate a blocked cross-fault structure. The structure revealed, fault cores not wider than 10 m, are consistent with scaling from wear mechanics and with the low loading to healing ratio anticipated for the fault.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The CSA II project (as part of the DESERT project) was financed by the GeoForschungsZentum Potsdam (GFZ). Instruments were provided by the GIPP (GFZ Potsdam). We thank our contractor Chemical and Mining (Jordan) for explosives, and the National Resources Authorities of Jordan (NRA) for logistical support. Thanks to Y. Bartov for stimulating discussions. Furthermore we thank the residents of Bir Mathkur for their cooperation, and all field groups for their excellent work under difficult conditions. The manuscript benefited greatly from critical remarks and suggestions by editor Kevin Furlong, reviewer John Hole, and an anonymous reviewer.


  • Dead Sea Transform
  • Reflection seismics
  • Shear zone
  • Strike-slip fault
  • Tomography


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