12,000-year-long record of 10 to 13 paleoearthquakes on the Yammouneh fault, Levant fault system, Lebanon

Title12,000-year-long record of 10 to 13 paleoearthquakes on the Yammouneh fault, Levant fault system, Lebanon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDaeron M, Klinger Y, Tapponnier P, Elias A, Jacques E, Sursock A
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Date PublishedJun
ISBN Number0037-1106
Accession NumberWOS:000247052500005

We present results of the first paleoseismic study of the Yammo (u) over cap neh fault, the main on-land segment of the Levant fault system within the Lebanese restraining bend. A trench was excavated in the Yammo (u) over cap mch paleolake, where the fault cuts through finely laminated sequences of marls and clays. First-order variations throughout this outstanding stratigraphic record appear to reflect climate change at centennial and millennial scales. The lake beds are offset and deformed in a 2-m-wide zone coinciding with the mapped fault trace. Ten to thirteen events are identified, extending back more than similar to 12 kyr. Reliable age bounds on seven of these events constrain the mean seismic return time to 1127 +/- 135 yr between similar to 12 ka and similar to 6.4 ka, implying that this fault slips in infrequent but large (M similar to 7.5) earthquakes. Our results also provide conclusive evidence that the latest event at this site was the great A.D. 1202 historical earthquake, and suggest that the Yammo (u) over cap neh fault might have been the source of a less well-known event circa A.D. 350. These findings, combined with previous paleoseismic data from the Zebadani valley, imply that the parallel faults bounding the Beqaa release strain in events with comparable recurrence intervals but significantly different magnitudes. Our results contribute to document the clustering of large events on the Levant fault into centennial episodes, such as that during the eleventh through twelfth centuries, separated by millennial periods of quiescence, and raise the possibility of a M > 7 event occurring on the Yammo (u) over cap neh fault in the coming century. Such a scenario should be taken into account in regional seismic-hazard assessments and planned for accordingly.