Research ArticleGEOLOGY

A 220,000-year-long continuous large earthquake record on a slow-slipping plate boundary

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Science Advances  27 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 48, eaba4170
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba4170
  • Fig. 1 Tectonic setting of the Dead Sea Fault.

    (A) Dead Sea Fault is a sinistral boundary between the African and Arabian plates (43). (B) Major active faults (43, 44) along the plate boundary, Dead Sea Transform; in this area, the fault is composed of four fault segments. The red star marks the drilling site; the black points mark places referred to in the study; the magenta triangles indicate historic and instrumental Mw ≥ 6.0 earthquakes near the drilling site (45). (C) The gray bars represent the fault rupture of historic Mw ≥ 7.0 earthquakes since 31 BCE (34, 36) that occurred along the focused part of the fault—the central Dead Sea Fault (up to 150 km north and south of the drilling site).

  • Fig. 2 Paleoearthquake indicators in the ICDP Core 5017-1.

    (A to J) In situ folded layers; (A and B) linear waves, (C to F) asymmetric billows, and (G to J) coherent vortices. (K to M) Intraclast breccia layers. The vertical light blue bars indicate the position of events. Core depth: (A) 11,010.0 to 11,012.0 cm; (B) 16,604.0 to 16,608.0 cm; (C) 10,929.9 to 10,932.4 cm; (D) 26,582.7 to 26,585.2 cm; (E) 32,861.0 to 32,862.5 cm; (F) 35,921.8 to 35,923.8 cm; (G) 13,754.4 to 13,758.0 cm; (H) 10,605.4 to 10,606.9 cm; (I) 36,425.9 to 36,427.9 cm; (J) 12,528.0 to 12,532.0 cm; (K) 14,492.5 to 14,500.0 cm; (L) 39,206.4 to 39,210.4 cm; and (M) 10,772.0 to 10,787.0 cm.

  • Fig. 3 Numerical simulation on in situ folded layer and intraclast breccia structures in the Dead Sea sedimentary sequences.

    (A) Typical structures from Dead Sea depocenter Core 5017-1. (B) Typical structures from Dead Sea onshore outcrops (Fig. 1B). (C) Schematic diagrams based on snapshots from the numerical simulations demonstrating the four structures. (D) Quantitative estimation of the accelerations that are needed to initiate the four structures with different thicknesses; the deformations normally occurred when Richardson number ≤ 0.125.

  • Fig. 4 Return time statistics of seismites and magnitude constraint for strong seismic shaking events during the past 220 ka.

    (A) Temporal distribution of moderate (PGA ≥ 0.13g) and strong (PGA ≥ 0.34g) seismic shaking events. (B and C) Histograms for return times of PGA ≥ 0.13g and PGA ≥ 0.34g events. We plot two distribution types (exponential and power-law) for each dataset. (D) Normalized return time data to show return time distribution of moderate and strong seismic shaking events. (E) Magnitude constraint for strong seismic shaking events by applying the three regional empirical attenuation relations (2831), taking the past 2-ka earthquake scenario as an analogy for the paleoseismic record, and assuming that most Mw ≥ 6.0 earthquakes occurred with D ≥ 30 km from the drilling site (see the text for details); D, epicentral distance. (F) Comparison of different temporal distributions of large earthquakes on the central Dead Sea Fault Zone derived from three different geological records. (G) Magnitude-frequency distribution of modern (33) (olive colored) and paleoearthquakes (pink colored) on the central Dead Sea Fault during the past 220 ka; the number of modern earthquakes (fig. S5) is extrapolated to 220 ka.

  • Fig. 5 Recurrence pattern of large earthquakes (Mw ≥ 7.0) on the slow-slipping plate boundary during the past 220 ka.

    (A) Histograms for recurrence times of Mw ≥ 7.0 events in the paleoseismic record of Begin et al. (19). (B) Histograms for recurrence times of Mw ~ 8.0 events in the paleoseismic record of Kagan et al. (21). (C) Histograms for recurrence times in the integrated 220-ka-long Mw ≥ 7.0 record. (D) Normalized recurrence data for the three datasets for comparison.

  • Table 1 Statistical analysis of recurrence times for the referred records.

    record of (19)
    record of (21)
    PGA ≥ 0.13g (MMI
    ≥ VI½) events (this
    PGA ≥ 0.34g (MMI
    ≥ VIII) events (this
    Integrated Mw
    7.0 record (this
    Lower-bound magnitude (Mmin)
    Time periodPast 60 kaPast 185 kaPast 220 kaPast 220 kaPast 220 ka
    Number of events1326413139151
    SD (year)4800460090022002000
    SEM (year)1500100040190160
    Mean return time (year)4600 ± 15006900 ± 1000530 ± 401500 ± 1901400 ± 160
    Fitting of return time
    distribution (R2)
    The best fit to the distribution– (Fig. 5A)Weibull (Fig. 5B);
    y = 0.18x0.7e(−0.03*x^1.7)
    Power-law (Fig. 4B);
    y = 0.03x−1.5
    Power-law (Fig. 4C);
    y = 0.14x−1.2
    Power-law (Fig. 5C);
    y = 0.15x−1.3
    Earthquake recurrence patternRandomQuasi-periodicClustered
    Fault behavior modelThe group-fault temporal clustering model

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    A 220,000-year-long continuous large earthquake record on a slow-slipping plate boundary

    Yin Lu, Nadav Wetzler, Nicolas Waldmann, Amotz Agnon, Glenn P. Biasi, Shmuel Marco

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    • Figs. S1 to S5
    • Tables S1 to S5

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