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Historical seismicity of Egypt

Authors:
  • National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, 11421- Helwan, Cairo, EGYPT

Abstract

The historical earthquakes that have been felt in Egypt were compiled from Arabic documents and earlier earthquake catalogues. About 83 earthquakes were found during the period from 2200BC to 1899AD. The time distribution of these earthquakes shows that, only seven earthquakes have been reported in the period before Christ (BC). Up to the end of the ninth century the secular number of reported earthquakes fluctuates between zero and three. A relatively high number (eight) of earthquakes has been reported in the tenth century. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries (Fatimid period) a dramatic decline in the earthquake number has been notified. After this decline the number of earthquakes re-increased up to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (Mamluk Period) reaching a relatively high value (ten). In seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Egypt was a province of the Ottoman Empire, another dramatic decline has been realized. The reported earthquakes reach their highest number (seventeen) in the nineteenth century. The spatial distribution of historical earthquakes is relatively disagreeing with the epicentral distribution of recent earthquakes. The distribution of population in a narrow band along the Nile Valley and Delta creates challenging problems in locating and assessing the origin and true effects of historical earthquakes in Egypt. Earthquake epicenters are located almost exclusively in Cairo, the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley. Most earthquakes that affected these areas originated from epicenters at the subduction zone in the north and rifting zone in the east. Egypt has experienced damaging large earthquakes from the Hellenic Arc and eastern Mediterranean, as well as the Red Sea and its two branches, Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba. Earthquakes originated from local sources have also affected the country.
A
cta
Geod
.
Geoph
.
Hung
., Vol. 3 4 (
1-
2) , pp . 11 9
-1
35
(1999)
HISTORICAL
SEISMICITY
OF
EGYPT
AB ADAWy l
[M
an
u scr ip t rec eive d
Ma
rch
10, 1998)
T he histo rica l eart hq uakes t
hat
have bee n felt in Egypt were compiled from
Ara
-
bic doc
uments
and earlier
eart
hquake
cata
logues.
About
83
earthq
uakes were foun d
du ring the period fro m 2200BC to 1899AD.
T he ti me
distrib
ution of t hese
eart
hqua
kes shows t
hat,
only seven
earthq
uakes
have bee n reported in the period before C hr ist (BC) . Up to t he end of the ninth
cent ury t he sec ula r nu mb er of repo rted ea rt hqua kes fluct uat es between zero and
t hree . A rela ti vely high
number
(eight) of
eart
hquakes has been repor t ed in t he
te nt h ce
ntury
. In t he elevent h a nd twel fth centuries (Fatimid pe riod) a dra
matic
decli ne in t he
eart
hqua ke
numbe
r has been not ified. After t his decl ine the
numb
er of
eart
hqua kes re-in creas ed up to th e fiftee nt h a nd sixteent hcenturies ( Mam luk P eriod )
reaching a relat ively high value (ten) . In seventeenth and eigh
teent
hcentur ies, w hen
Egypt was a province of the
Ottoman
Empire,
anot
her
dramatic
decline has been
realize d. T he re por ted ea rt hquakes reach t heir highest number(seventeen) in t he
nineteenth cent ury.
T he
spatia
l dist rib ution of his torical ea rt hquakes is relatively disagreeing with
t he ep icent ral d ist ri
butio
n of recent
eart
hquakes. T he distribution of population in a
narrow ba nd alo ng
the
Nile Valley and Delta creates challenging problems in loca t ing
and assessing t he origin and
true
effects of historical
earthqua
kes in Egypt.
Earthquake
epicenters are loca ted almost exclusively in Cairo, the Nile De
lta
and
the
Nile Valley. Most earthquakes
that
affected these areas orig inated from epicenters
at
the sub duction zone in t he no
rth
and
rifting zone in the east.
Egypt has experienced damaging large earthquakes from
the
Hellenic Arc and
eastern Med
iterranean,
as well as
the
Red Sea and its two branches, Gu lf of Suez
and
Gulf
of Aqaba. Earthquakes orig
inate
d from local sources have also affected
the
country.
Keywords:
Arabic documents; earthquakes; Egypt; historical seismicity;
spatia
l
distribut ion;
time
dist ribut ion
Introduction
T he searc h for longest possi ble reco rds o f eart hq ua kes in a ny given region can b e
helpful in recurrence st udies and forecasting seismic hazard . In
strum
ental record
of
eart
hqua kes has been
starte
d by
th
e beginning of t he t wentiet h cent ury.
Th
e
ea
rt
hqua ke information up to 1900 has been compiled mainly from historic al docu-
ments a nd book s. Th e refore, t his kind of recor ds is known as hist orical
eart
hqua ke
infor
mat
ion.
Unfort unately, historical records of
eart
hquakes
spa
nning several cent ur ies are
nonexistent in ma ny parts of the World. However, they do exist in some regions:
eastern Medite
rra
nean (Ambraseys 1971); China (Lee et al. 1976); Afghanistan
lSeismology
Department,
Nationa
l Rese arch Ins tit ut e of Ast ronomy and Geop hysics 11421
Helwan , Cai ro,
Egypt
1217
-8977
/99
/ $ 5.00 ©
1999
Akademiai
Kiad6, Budapest
120 A
BADAWY
and Pakistan (Quittmeyer and Jacob 1979); Middle East and north Africa (Poirier
and Taher 1980); Arab world (Ambraseys et al. 1995); Sinai plate region (Badawy
1996).
Egypt is one of the few regions of the World where evidence of historical earth-
quake activity has been documented over the last four millennium.
The
first pub-
lished chronology of historical earthquakes in the Middle
East
region has been so
far the one compiled by As-Souty, an Egyptian polygrapher. As-Souty's work called
"Kashf El-Salsala fi wasf El-zalzala" contains a list of earthquakes for the period
between 712AD to 1499AD
that
was translated into English by Sprenger in 1843
from Arabic manuscript of the National Library at Paris.
Lyons (1907) gave the first catalogue devoted to earthquakes in Egypt. It con-
tains 29 events between 27BC and 1906AD and generally gives its information
sources.
Willis (1928) presented a list of earthquakes, which contains 130 shocks compiled
on the authority of As-Souty, Willis's list was copied in
part
by Sieberg (1932a,b)
and others
but
they did not bother to convert into AD the Muslim dates which
were given by As-Souty. Ambraseys (1962) checked these dates against another
manuscript of the same work at British Museum and suggested
that
this list is
dated about six centuries too early.
Rothe (1969) also adopted Sieberg's work and it reappeared by Maamoun (1979)
and Maamoun and Ibrahim (1978)
that
mainly depend on Sieberg's list.
Poirier and Taher (1980), Ambraseys et al. (1995) and Badawy (1996) have
undertaken the most valuable compilation of different materials on the historical
seismicity in region of our interest.
In the present work the historical earthquake information from Arabic docu-
ments and these catalogues are incorporated and extended as possible to provide a
uniform account of the historical seismicity of Egypt.
Sources
of
historical
earthquake
data
The
primary sources for the history of Egypt and certainly for its earthquakes
are the Arabic chronicles. Egypt has been home to some of the earliest civilizations.
In a unique situation, Egypt at the crossroad of three major continents (Africa, Asia,
and Europe) dynastic power based on the Nile Valley go back to the first dynasty.
During the Pharaonic period the chief sources are inscriptions,papyruses and the
archaeological evidence provided by the temples and monuments themselves. Un-
fortunately, this large corpus of material to study ancient Egypt contains no explicit
reports of earthquakes.
In the classical period, Greek historiographers from about 500BC and Latin ones
from 200BC occasionally provide information about shocks in Egypt reflecting the
commercial and imperial interests of the Greek and Roman powers. During the
Byzantine period (450AD-1453) more information becomes available mainly from
ecclesiastical histories (Ambraseys et al. 1995).
In the early seventh century, the formation of the Islamic Empire had a signif-
icant cultural consequence , namely the spread and development of Arabic as the
Acta
Geod. Geoph. Hung. 34, 1999
HIST
ORI
C AL SE ISM IC I
TY
OF
EG
YPT
121
language of learning and lit era
tur
e. Egypt has been one of most popul ous, cultur-
ally flourishing and politically import
ant
region s. Th er efore , t he na
tur
e and type
of the documen
tar
y sources in which its history were preserved is essential.
Th e greatest flourishin g of hist orical litera
tur
eoccurred in t he period between
the sack of Baghd a d by t he Mongols (1258) and the Ottoman conquest of th e Middle
East
(1517). Dur ing this period Mamluks (1260- 1517) ruled Egypt and Syria from
Cairo.
All r epor ted ea rt hqua kes up to 1899 ha ve b een listed wit h t he cor respo nding
source in Tabl e I. References to a ll sources are given at t he end the Table.
Description
of
historical
earthquakes
In thi s section each earthquake is describ ed as possible from t he availabl e infor-
mation. For t he peri od 2200BC to 1899AD th e catalogue co
nta
ins 83 eart hquakes
which have been felt in Egypt.
Th
ese shocks ar e essentially collected from Arabic
sources and incorporated into earlier catalogues (Sieberg 1932a, 1932b, Maamoun
1979, Maamoun and Ibr ahim 1978, Poirier and Taher 1980, Ambr aseys et al. 1995,
Badawy 1996).
For description and estimat ion of approxi
mate
intensities (MMI) of hist orical
eart hqua kes, t he following te rms have b een used : Slight t o felt ea
rt
hqua ke (up to
intensity V) including events t
hat
are not widely reported and may be originated
from local sources . S
tro
ng
eart
hqua ke (greater tha n or equal intensity VI) t
hat
were
widely reported and caused considerable dam a ges.
2200
BC
, Tell Basta:
Thi
s shock was a severe one, caused deep fissures in t he soil in
Tell Bas ta ne ar Zagazig , Shar qui a pr ovince. Th e esti
mated
maximum inten-
sity is VII in a confined area near the village of Tell Basta and Abu Hammad
about 16 km east of Zaga zig. Alth ough Maam oun ( 1979) has given an isoseis-
mal map for t his event Ambraseys et al. (1995) classified it as a non-confirmed
one.
1210BC, Abu Simbel: Th is event ca used crac ks in t he te mple of R amses II in Abu
Simb el, South ern Egy pt . Th e maximum est i
mate
d intensity is VI. Kebeasy
(1990) suggested that these c
ra
cks are not ce
rta
inly du e to an ea rt hqua ke.
However, Ambraseys et al. (1995) classified this shock as not confirmed.
600BC, Luxor: An ear t hqua ke at Th eb es, Luxor , South ern Eg
ypt
.Although, this
event was well docum
ent
ed in the previous
cata
logues (e.g. Maamoun and
Ibrahim 1978). Ambr aseys et al. (1995) listed this shock as not confirmed.
221BC, Siwa Oasis:
Thi
s shock had an int ensity of VII at Siwa Oasis, western
desert (Maa moun 1979). However, it caused des
tru
ction in locations in Libya
about 100 km away. It is possible t
hat
this
eart
h
qua
ke is t
hat
large one
which too k place in ce
ntra
l Italy wit h an intensity X and caused landfalls and
diversion of river t here (Kebeasy 1990).
Acta
Geod. Geoph. Hun g. 34, 1999
122 A
BADAWY
T
abl
e
I.
Hist ori cal ea rt h qua kes r
eported
in
Egypt
(2200B C
-1899AD)
Approx. Lo
cati
on Approx. Felt at th e
Dat e
Lat
. E Long. N intensity locality of Sources
MMI
2200 BC 30.75 31.50 VII Tell
Basta
Sieb erg (1932a,b )
1210 BC 22.50 31.50 VI
Abu-Simb
el Sieb erg (1932a,b)
600 BC 25.55 33.00 V
Luxor
Sieb erg (1932a,b)
221 BC 29.80 26.00 VII Siwa Oasis Si
eberg
(1932a,b)
184 BC 31.00 31.00 No
rth
ern
Egypt
Pr
eisigke (1915)
95 BC 29.00 33.00 Gu lf of S uez Preisigke (1926)
27 BC 25.20 33.25 VI
Southern
Eg
ypt
Lyons (1907) ;
Si
eberg
(1932b)
93 AD 30.20 31.20 VI
Northern
Egypt
Lyons (1907);
Sieberg (1932b)
262 AD 29.70 26.00 VII Siwa
Oasis
Sieberg (1932a ,b )
320 A D 32.00 30.00 VII A
lexandria
Lyons (1907)
358 AD 31.50 29.50 VII A
lexandria
Lyons (1907)
396 AD 31.30 29.55 VI A
lexandr
ia Lyons (1907)
14 Oct . 520 31.00 30.00 V II
Northern
Egypt
Si
eberg
(1932b)
553 32.00 29.70 VII Al
exandria
Sieb erg (1932b)
742 29.50 33.00 VI Gu lf of Su ez Sieb erg (1932a,b)
14
Apr.
796 31.20 29.50 VII Al
exandria
7,9
, 11
857 30.00 31.20 V
Egypt
10, 14
27
Jan.
859 30.50 31.50 VI Bilbais (Eg
ypt)
11
3 Nov. 885 30.10 31.20 VII No
rth
ern
Egypt
11, 12
912 30.00 31.00 VII Eg
ypt
16
4 O ct . 93 5 30.50 31.20 VIII
North
ern Egy p t 18
25
Jul
y 950 30.20 3 1.20 VI Nort he rn E gy pt 15
15 Sep. 95 1 32.00 29 .00 VII Alexand
ria
15
1
Jan
. 956 32.00 30 .00 VIII
Eastern
Medit
er ran ean 9
967 26.50 32.50 V S
outhern
Eg
ypt
8, 10
1
July
969 30 .00 31.00 Egyp t 6
997 26.50 32.00 V Sou
thern
Eg
ypt
8
18 Mar. 1068 29.50 35.00 VIII
North
ern Eg
ypt
12
12 Feb . 1091 28 .00 34.00 VSinai
Rabino
(1937)
31 Aug . 1111 30.03 31.15 VII
North
ern Eg
ypt
Ambraseys
et al. (1995)
20 May 1202 33.00 36.00 IX Dead Sea 1
6
Jun
e 1259 30.00 31.00
VIII
North
ern
Egypt
7, 9
20 F eb . 1264 30.00 31.00 V II
North
ern
Egypt
8,9
8
Jan
. 1299 29.50 30.50 VII Nort h
ern
Egypt
12
8 Aug . 1303 34.50 28.5
VIII
Eastern
Medit
erranean
7, 9, 15
10 Aug . 130 7 30.20 31.00 VI No
rthern
Egypt
14
27 Feb . 1313 30.50 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
2
29 May 1335 30 .00 31.00 VI
Nort
hern
Egypt
6, 9
19 O ct . 1373 30 .20 31.50 VI
Nort
hern
Egypt
3
,10
19 Sep, 1385 30.50 31.00 VII
Northern
Eg
ypt
5
17 J u l. 1386 30 .20 31.20 V
Nort
hern
Eg
ypt
8
28
Jun.
1422 30.00 31.20 V Nort he rn
Egypt
3
23
Jun
. 1425 29.50 33 .50 V I Gu lf of S uez 7
14 Dec. 1433 30.00 31.00 V N ort he rn Eg yp t 2
6 Nov. 1434 30.00 31.20 VII
North
ern Eg
ypt
7
Acta Geod. Geoph . Hun g. 34, 1ggg
HISTORI CAL SEISMICITY OF E
GYPT
123
Table
I(contd.)
Approx.LocationApprox . Felt at t he
Date
Lat
. E Long . N int ensity loca lity of Sources
MMI
5 Mar. 1455 30.50 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
3
15 Dec. 1467 30.00 31.00 V
Northern
Egypt
4
1 Nov. 1476 30.2 0 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
9
15
Jun
. 1483 30.10 31.20 V
Northern
Egyp
t10
11
Oct
. 1486 30.50 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
13
16
Oct
. 1498 30.00 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
5
17 Nov. 1502 30.15 31.25 VI No
rthern
Egypt
14
28 Mar. 1513 30.00 31.20 V
Nort
hern
Egypt
6, 8
4
Apr
. 1523 30.25 31.30 V
Northern
Egypt
6, 7
9
Mar
. 1525 30.15 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
3, 6
14
Jul.
1527 30.00 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
4, 7
12 Nov. 1529 30.15 31.50 V No
rthern
Egypt
8,11
10
Jul.
1532 30.20 31.25 IV
Northern
Egypt
8, 17
23 Mar. 1534 30.10 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
7, 16
1
Apr
. 1576 30.00 31.50 VII
Northern
Egypt
6
7Apr. 1588 29.50 31.50 V
North
ern
Egypt
11
21 Dec. 1694 28.75 31.00 V
Northern
Egypt
8
2 O ct . 1698 32.00 30 .00 V I Alexandria 7
27 Aug. 1710 29.30 33.25 VI
Gulf
of Suez 4
18 Oct . 1754 29.60 32.25 V
Gulf
of Suez 18
22
Jun
. 1778 26.20 32.10 V
Southern
Egypt
8
10 Oct . 1801 30 .00 31.20 V No rt hern
Egypt
4
27 J un . 1814 29.00 33 .00 VII Gu lf of Suez 4
21
Jun
. 1825 30.15 31.00 V No
rthern
Egypt
5
28 Mar. 1846 35.00 25.00 V
Eastern
Mediterr
anean
4
15 J u n. 1846 30.00 31.00 V
Northern
Egypt
2, 3
7 Aug. 1847 29.50 30.75 VIII
Northern
Egypt
Maamo
un (1979)
23 J u l. 1849 30.15 31.25 V
Northern
Egypt
Sieberg (1932b)
27 Oct. 1850 27.00 31.00 VI
Southern
Egypt
11
30 Dec. 1858 30.00 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
4
11 Apr. 1865 31.10 30.00 V
Northern
Egypt
2
20 Feb. 1868 35.00 25.00 V
Eastern
Mediterranean
Sieberg (1932b)
24
Jun.
1870 34.50 29.50 VII
Eastern
Mediterranean
Sieberg (1932a ,b)
12
Jan.
1873 35.00 33.50 VII
Eastern
Mediterranean
11, 12
11
Jul.
1879 29 .00 33 .00 VI Gu lf of Suez Sieberg (1932b)
27 Aug . 1886 36 .00 23 .50 VI
Eastern
Medite
rranean
Sieberg (1932b)
17 Nov. 1886 30.15 31.20 V
Northern
Egypt
Ambraseys et al. (199 5)
7 Dec. 1895 30.10 31.25 V
Northern
Egypt
Ambraseys et al. (1995)
A
ra
bic
sou
r
ce
s
1. Abel-Latif "Kit a b El-efada" facs. Eds . (1810) .
2. Ibn
Kather
"E l-Bedaya wa El-Nehaya fi El -
Tarikh"
. 13vols ed .
Cairo
, 1351-8/1932-9.
3. Ibn Tolon
"Mufakahat
El-khillan f
hawadith
EI-zaman " ed . Mohamed
Mostafa
. 2vols. Cairo,
1962, 1964.
4.
EI-Jabarty
"E ia b El-Asear fi E I-
Trajim
wa E
l-Akhabar"
ed.
Johar
et a l., 7vols. Ca iro, 1888-96.
5. El
-Johary
"Nozhat El-Nofous wa El
-Abdan
f
Tawar
ikh El-zaman" ed . Hassan Habashi. 3vols,
Cairo
, 1973.
Acta
Geod. Geoph . Hung . 34, 1999
124 A
BADAWY
Table
I (
contd
.)
6. E l-Ma q rizy "K it ab E I-Slo uk Li Ma er afa t Dewal E l-Molo uk" ed. Ziad a
and
Ashour 4vo ls.
Ca
iro,
1934-1958
and
1970.
7. E l
-Ma
qrizy "E l-Khi
tat"
Ca
iro, 1953.
8. E l-M aqrizy "It
ti'ad
EI-Hu
na
fa bi ak
haba
r EI
-A'
ima El-fat imyin EI-kh
alaf
a" ed.
Ga
ma l E l-
Sha wal. C airo, 3vols. 1967-73 .
9. As-So uty " Kas hf EI- sals ala fi Wasf El-za lza la" ed.
Cairo,
1971.
10. As-
Souty
"Hosn el-mo
hadar
fi Ak ha ba r Mis r wa E l-
Qa
hira " ed. Mo ha me d Ab ul Fadl
Ibrah
im
Ca
iro, 1967.
11. At- Tab
ar
y "Ta rikh El-
Ta
ba
ry" ed. Mo ha med Abul Fadl
Ibr
ahim.
10 vols. Cairo, 1979.
12. Ab de l-Ra h
ma
n ElGawzy "EI-moha ndes fi El m
ohad
r
at
" Egy pti an
Libr
ar
y
manus
crip
t B23054.
13. Yihya Ibn EI
-Qasim
"G haya t E l
-ama
ny fi akhaba r E I-
qot
r El -yam any " ed . Sa id Ashour,
Ca
iro,
1968.
14. Ahme d Ibn EI-Y
aaq
obi "Tarikh el
-yaa
qo bi" Be iru t, 1960.
15.
Ahm
ed Ibn EI-N eweyri " Nihaye t E I-Ara b fi fun on El -As ab " Eg y pt ia n
Librar
y
manu
s
crip
t.
Ma
ar
ef.
16.
Ahm
ed Ibn
Adhari
"E I-Baya n El-M a
ghrib
fi Akh
abar
EI
-Andal
os wa EI-Maghrib" B
eirut,
1967.
17. E I-F
aa
riqi
Ahmed
Inb Youssef "
Ta
rikh Mayafarqin" ed .
Abd
el-L
atif
Bad awy, Cairo, 1959.
18. Said Ibn
Batriq
"K it a b A
t-Tarikh"
B
eirut,
1909.
184BC, North ern Egypt: An earthquake reported in northern Egypt in this year as
written on a Gr eek papyrus
(Pr
eisigke 1915).
95BC
, Gulf of Su ez: An ea rt hq uake affected th e temple of Heron between 97BC to
94BC,
but
th e n
atur
e of the effects is not mentioned
(Pr
eisigke, 1926).
27
BC
, South ern Egypt :
Thi
s event was a st rong one, caused gre at damage and leav-
ing only four villages undes
tr
oyed in
Th
ebes, southern Egyp t. One column of
Mernnon fell down.
Thi
s ea
rt
hqu ake was al so felt in Nort hern Eg ypt. How-
ever, Ambr ase ys et al. (1995) ga ve a tte nt ion t o t he fact t
hat
the collapse of
Memnon was not du e t o thi s earthquake.
9
3AD
, North ern Egypt: Sieberg (1932a,b)
dat
ed a de
stru
ctive ea rt hquake in Eg
ypt
to 93AD. However, Ambr aseys et al. (1995) suggested that thi s earthquake
took place in Western Anat olia.
262AD, Siwa Oasis:
Thi
s shock was felt in Siwa Oasis
but
occurred probably in
Libya. There is agreement
that
the epicenter of this eart hquake was in Libya
(Kebeasy 1990, Ambr aseys et al. 1995, Badawy 1996).
320A D, Al exandria:
Thi
s earthquake caused destruction to man y houses in Alexan-
dria,probably it was seaquake. Lyons (1907) dat ed thi s shock to 312AD.
358A D, Alexandria:
Thi
s shock was felt in northern Egypt, especia lly in Alexan-
dria.
It
caused a grea t concern wi
thou
t dam ages.
396A D, Al exandria: A slight ea rthqua ke was shaking Alexandria in daytime.
Thi
s
shock caused slight damages in old buildings.
Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung. 34, 1999
HISTORICAL
SEISMICITY
OF
EGYPT
125
14 Oct. 520AD, Northern Egypt : Astrong earthquake was felt in Egypt shaking
buildings, some cities and villages were swallowed up. Unfortunately, the
correct identification of this shock is problematic (Ambraseys et al. 1995).
553AD, Alexandria:This event occurred in the Mediterranean near Alexandria,
many people were injured. Ambraseys et al. (1995) corrected the date to 9
July 551AD.
742AD, Gulf of Suez: According to Sieberg (1932a,b), an important earthquake
took place in the Suez area, causing many cases of fissuring and some de-
struction. The maximum estimated intensity VI was assigned for Ain Soukhna
(Gulf of Suez region) where cracks in the ground were reported (Maamoun
1979). However, Ambraseys et al. (1995) places this shock in Yemen.
14 April 796AD, Alexandria: Adestructive earthquake occurred in the Mediter-
ranean Sea near Alexandria. This earthquake was located by Ambraseys et
al. (1995) to the Hellenic arc near the island of Crete
that
was strongly felt
in Northern Egypt. The upper
part
of the lighthouse in Alexandria collapsed.
857AD, Egypt: Adestructive earthquake took place in Egypt. This shock was
widely felt in Egypt, it shaked buildings and destroyed some houses.
27 January 859AD, Bilbais, Northern Egypt: Adamaging earthquake occurred in
Bilbais, Sharquia province, it was widely felt in Northern Egypt. Ambraseys
et al. (1995) correct the date of this shock to January 860AD.
3November 885, Northern Egypt: A large shock in Egypt destroyed some
houses in Northern Egypt and about one thousand people were killed. No
effects were reported from elsewhere. Therefore, the epicenter of this earth-
quake should be in Northern Egypt .
912AD, Egypt: A widely felt earthquake was reported in this year in Egypt. Poirier
and Taher (1980) placed this shock to Kairawan as it caused some damage on
the Tunisian coast. So this event originated from the central Mediterranean
region.
4 October 935AD, Northern Egypt : The epicenter of this shock was somewhere in
Northern Egypt. This earthquake destroyed some houses in Cairo . No re-
ported damage elsewhere. Poirier and Taher (1980) proposed
that
this earth-
quake took place on 5 October 935AD with an estimated intensity VIII in
Cairo and surrounding area.
25 July 950AD, Northern Egypt: A series of shocks destroyed most houses in Cairo
and some old buildings. There is some disagreement over the correct date
in the sources. Poirier and Taher (1980) dated it to 26 July 950AD. These
shocks might originate at an epicenter in the northern Red Sea where the
earthquakes tend to occur in related sequences (Badawy 1995).
Acta
Geod. Geoph, Hung . 34, 1999
126 A
BADAWY
15 September 951AD,Alexandria: Astrong earthquake in Northern Egypt. In
Alexandria, the lighthouse was totally destroyed and new springs of water
appeared in many places as a consequence of this shock.
1January 956AD, Eastern Mediterranean: A widely felt earthquake in the East-
ern Mediterranean region. In Northern Egypt and Syria the shock was felt
with long duration. In Cairo, this earthquake caused great concern
but
no
significant damage.
967AD, Southern Egypt: Astrong earthquake caused partial damage in many places
in Southern Egypt, as well as in the wall of the El-Karnak temple, Luxor.
However, this shock is not confirmed by Ambraseys et al. (1995).
1 July 969AD, Egypt: An earthquake reported in Egypt,
but
there is no informa-
tion about its place and intensity (Poirier and Taher 1980). However, Am-
braseys et al. (1995) suggested
that
it was no earthquake.
997AD, Southern Egypt: A relatively strong earthquake was reported at Qus, south-
ern Egypt, through other phenomena hint at particularly violent storms. Five
hundred palm trees were uprooted and a number of heavily laden boats sank.
18 March 1068AD, Northern Egypt: This seism was the first historical earthquake
which strongly affected the Gulf of Suez area.
It
was located near Aqaba at the
end of Gulf of Aqaba (Ben-Menahem 1979, Melville 1984). This earthquake
was widely and strongly felt in Cairo where some houses were damaged.
12 February 1091AD, Sinai:A series of earthquakes was felt in Southern Sinai (St .
Catherine) during night .
31 August 1111AD, Northern Egypt: There is some disagreement over the correct
date of this earthquake in the sources. Lyons (1907) listed it to March 1111,
Sieberg (1932a,b) to 26 May 1111 and Ambraseys et al. (1995) on the same
date as above.
Adestructive earthquake in Northern Egypt affected Cairo in the morning of
31 August. It was widely felt through the country and ruined a number of
places.
20 May 1202AD, Dead Sea: Amajor earthquake occurred in the morning and was
widely felt throughout Egypt, causing slight damage. Poirier and Taher (1980)
reported
that
this shock took place in 1203AD and was felt also in Syria, Iraq,
and Turkey. Ambraseys et al. (1995) placed the epicenter of this shock to
south of Beirut.
In Cairo, this earthquake was of long duration and awoke sleepers . Three
shocks were reported.
6 June 1259AD, Northern Egypt : Lyons (1907) dated this earthquake on 28 May
1260AD. A damaging shock occurred in Cairo and in other cities in Egypt.
Acta
Geod. Geoph . Hung . 34, 1999
HISTORICAL
SEISMICITY
OF
EGYPT
127
This event preceded the news of the Mongols' advance and it possibly is a
reference to the political situation in Egypt, which was undergoing a prolonged
dynastic upheaval (Ambraseys et al. 1995).
20 February 1264AD, Northern Egypt: El-Maqrizy stated
that
a very strong earth-
quake destroyed many houses in Egypt. Few reports are available for this
shock and only As-Souty stated specifically
that
an earthquake occurred in
Egypt.
8January 1299AD, Northern Egypt:Amajor earthquake was felt in Egypt, such
as had not been felt before. There is no evidence of a strong shock elsewhere in
the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, this earthquake was probably a local
event.
8August 1303AD, Eastern Mediterranean: Astrong shock was felt throughout
northern Egypt. Arabic sources reported
that
this earthquake was the
strongest in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria.In Cairo, almost all houses suf-
fered some damage and many large public buildings collapsed.
The
earthquake
caused panic, and women run into the streets without their veils. Minarets of
the mosques of Cairo were particularly affected. In Alexandria, many houses
were ruined and killed a number of peoples .
The
lighthouse was shattered and
its top collapsed.
The damage extended to Southern Egypt up to Qus . This earthquake was
placed by Sieberg to Faiyum, south of Cairo because of the severe damage in
Middle Egypt.
It
was also reported
that
this earthquake caused large-scale
damage in Rhodes and Crete.Ambraseys (1961) placed its epicenter in the
Mediterranean Sea as As-Souty mentioned
that
the advance of sea submerged
half of Alexandria. According to Arabic sources (e.g. El-Maqrizy; As-Souty)
aftershocks continued during three weeks.
10 August 1307AD, Northern Egypt: During the night, an earthquake was experi-
enced in Northern Egypt.This shock is not widely reported in the Arabic
sources, was evidently a small local event.
27 February 1313AD, Northern Egypt: In the midday, an earthquake was felt in
Northern Egypt. This shock is not widely reported in the Arabic sources
but
was evidently a small local event.
29 May 1335AD, Northern Egypt:Many people experienced an earthquake in
Northern Egypt, particularly in Cairo .
The
evidence from Arabic sources
suggests
that
this shock was a local event.
19 October 1373AD, Northern Egypt:Astrong shock was felt in Cairo. This earth-
quake was probably a small local event as it was not widely recorded.
19 September 1385AD, Northern Egypt:One or two earthquakes were felt during
the night in Cairo. However, El-Johary reported
that
this shock occurred in
the daytime.
Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung. 34, 1999
128 A
BADAWY
17 July 1386AD, No rthern Egypt: A slight shock was felt in Cairo around t he fourth
hour of the day.
28 Jun e 142
2AD
,Northern Egypt: Also a slight ea
rt
hqua ke was felt in Cairo on
this
dat
e, but t here is no indication of the epicent ral area .
23 Jun e 14
25AD
,Gulf of Su ez: A st rong ea
rt
hqua ke was reported in Northern
Egypt , p
arti
cularl y in Cairo but did li
ttl
e dam age. Th e long-p eriod shak-
ing caused by t he shock combined with the absence of inf
orma
tion in the
Eas t ern Medit erranean suggests a possible source in the Gulf of Suez region
(Ambarseys et al. 1995).
14 December 143
3AD
, Northern Egypt: During t he night , an ea rt hqua ke was re-
port
ed in Cairo.
Thi
s shock is not widely reported in t he Arabic sour ces, it
was evidently a small local event .
6 Nov emb er 1434AD,Northern Egypt : On th e morning, a strong earthquake was
felt in Northern Egypt, p
arti
cularly in Cairo. This eart hquake had shaken
th e houses in many places and caused great dam age as well as some houses
collapsed.
5 March 1455AD,Northern Egypt: A slight e art hq uake was felt in Nor the rn Egyp t
that concerne d in Cairo and its vicinity.
Thi
s event shook the ground more
t han once. After t hree or five d ays anot he r ligh t shoc k occ ur red .
15 December 1467
AD
, N orth ern Egypt : At t he night, a slight shock was felt in
Nort hern Egyp t , p
arti
cularl y in Cai ro. Thi s eart hqua ke ca used some dam-
age in Cairo and some old houses collapsed.
1 November 1476AD, N orth ern Egypt : A widely felt ea rt hqua ke r
eport
ed in Cairo
during the night. Many people rep
ort
ed t he shock.
Thi
s earthquake caused
g
reat
damage but As-Souty calls it a slight shock.
Thu
s evide nt ly t his shoc k
originated from a local event .
15
Jun
e 148
3AD
, North ern Egypt: A slight eart hquake was felt in Northern Egyp t,
with short
dur
ati on in Cai ro during th e nigh t .
Thi
s shock caused little dam -
age.
11 October 1486AD,North ern Egypt: A light earthquake occurred in Cairo around
midday moving
th
e ground once or twice. Th ere is no evidence of an earth-
quake elsewhere in th e region on this dat e and it probably originated from
local sour ce in Nor th ern E gypt .
16 October 1498AD, No rth ern Egypt : A light shock was felt in Cairo.
Th
ere is no
det ail of a n ea rt hqua ke elsewhere on this d at e and it was pr obably local to
Egypt.
17 November 150
2AD
, Northern Egypt: A s
tr
ong earthqua ke was rep
ort
ed in Cairo.
Thi
s shock des
tr
oyed many houses in several p
art
s of Cairo.
Acta Geod. Geoph, Hung. 34, 1999
HISTORICAL
SEISMICITY
OF
EGYPT
129
28 March 1513AD, Northern Egypt: A light earthquake was felt in Cairo , lasting
one minute. Three shocks were felt, which moved the ground perceptibly.
There is no detail about the epicentral area and this shock might be local to
Cairo .
4April 1523AD, Northern Egypt: A slight shock was felt in Cairo in the night, it
lasted about 2minutes.There is no indication of an epicentral area and this
earthquake might be a local event .
9 March 1525AD, Northern Egypt: During the night, a slight earthquake was felt
in Cairo.
14 July 1527AD, Northern Egypt: A slight shock was reported in Cairo around
dawn.
12 November 1529AD, Northern Egypt:A light earthquake was felt in Cairo, which
lasted about 2 minutes. This shock occurred towards the end of the night.
10 July 1532AD, Northern Egypt : A very slight earthquake was felt in Cairo during
the night.
23 March 1534AD, Northern Egypt: A slight shock occurred in Cairo after dawn.
1April 1576AD, Northern Egypt: Astrong earthquake was felt in Cairo during the
night . This shock was preceded by three weaker shocks .
7April 1588AD, Northern Egypt : An earthquake was felt in Cairo at sunrise and
lasted only a brief time . In the
Muqattam
hill, three fissures opened and
water poured
out
. These details and no indications of an earthquake elsewhere
suggest
that
this shock was probably a local event.
21 December 1694AD, Northern Egypt: In the early morning, an earthquake was
felt in Egypt. Some houses were destroyed and a few collapsed . No earthquake
was reported elsewhere in the region in this year, what gives evidence
that
this shock originated from a local source in Egypt.
2 October 1698AD, Alexandria:An earthquake was felt in Cairo in the morning, it
caused great concern
but
little damage. This shock was also reported from
Rosetta and Alexandria.
27 August 1710AD, Gulf of Suez: Aconsiderable earthquake was felt in Cairo in
the morning about 8 o'clock.
It
lasted
about
20 minutes.
The
long duration
of this shock in Cairo suggests
that
this earthquake might originate at an
epicenter in the Northern Red Sea or Gulf of Suez region .
18 October 1754AD, Gulf of Suez:Adestructive earthquake was felt in Northern
Egypt.This shock affected some districts in Cairo where many houses were
ruined with a high loss of life. This earthquake might be a local shock; there
is no evidence
that
it caused damage elsewhere.
Acta
Geod. Geoph . Hung . 34, 1999
130 A
BADAWY
22 June 1778AD, Southern Egypt: An earthquake was felt in Southern Egypt, par-
ticularly at Nag Hammadi and Tahta. This shock was followed by several
aftershocks during the night . There was no damage
but
is terrified the inhab-
itants of Nag Hammadi.
10 October 1801AD, Northern Egypt: A local earthquake was felt in Cairo at the
night. There is no evidence of an earthquake on this
date
in the Eastern
Mediterranean region.
27 June 1814AD, Gulf of Suez: Astrong earthquake was felt in Northern Egypt,
particularly in Cairo and Sinai. This shock lasted two minutes. This earth-
quake caused the minarets of Al-Azhar mosque to shake violently.
21 June 1825AD, Northern Egypt : A series of four severe earthquakes were felt in
Cairo in the night around 9 o'clock . Sieberg (1932b) lists another shock on
21 August 1825AD, probably aduplication.
28 March 1846AD, Eastern Mediterranean: Northern Egypt particularly Cairo and
Alexandria were shaken by a large magnitude event on this
date
in the East-
ern Mediterranean (Hellenic Arc). In Cairo the ground motion lasted three
minutes and caused considerable concern
but
no damage was recorded.
15 June 1846AD, Northern Egypt: Two local earthquakes were felt in Cairo . These
two shocks continued for 40 seconds.
7August 1847AD, Northern Egypt: This earthquake was a remarkable shock in the
seismological history of northern Egypt.
It
was a very strong earthquake which
shook northern Egypt and caused widespread damage to local houses and to
anumber of public buildings.
It
was the strongest shock with an epicenter on
land in Northern Egypt and was felt as far as Aswan in the South. In Cairo,
the shock continued intermittently for
about
one minute causing panic and
considerable damage in all districts.
The
earthquake was strongly felt throughout the Nile Delta. In Alexandria the
shock lasted about 35 seconds.
It
caused cracks in old houses . In Mansoura it
caused great concern with some minor damage in minarets.
The
earthquake
was reportedly strong in Damietta, Rashid and Suez.
Sieberg provides an assessment of damage and regards Faiyum as epicentral
region associating the earthquake with a fault break there.
A series of aftershocks were strongly felt in Cairo and Alexandria on the
morning of 10 August 1847 with no damage.
The recent earthquake
that
occurred on 12 October 1992 SW, Cairo showed
the same macroseismic epicenter in the region between Cairo and Faiyum as
well as aftershocks occurrence (Badawy and Manus 1995).
23 July 1849AD, Northern Egypt: A slight earthquake was felt in Northern Egypt,
particularly in Cairo in the early morning.
Acta
Geod. Geoph. Hung . 34,
1999
HIST
ORI
C AL SE ISM IC IT Y O F
EGYP
T131
27 October 1850AD,Southern Egypt : A st r ong ea rt hqua ke was felt nor th of Asyu t
(Sout hern Egyp t ) in t he morning which l
ast
ed a bout 30 seconds .
Thi
s shock
was felt a t m any pla ces a long t he N ile Valley. A c rack in t he ea rt h with a
one-inch dimension near t he Nile was reported.
30 December 1858AD, Northern Egypt: An
eart
hqua ke was felt in Cairo near the
end of t his year.
11 Ap ril 1865AD, Northern Egypt: In t he morning, a n
eart
hquake was felt in Nor th-
ern Egypt,
part
icularly in Alexandria. The shock l
ast
ed only two seconds.
20 February 1868AD, Eastern Mediterran ean: At the night , two
ear
thquakes were
widely felt in Nor
th
ern Egypt , par ticul arly in Alexandria, Cairo, Ismaili a,
Q
antara
and
Port
Said.
Th
ere is no r
eport
ed dam age due to thes e two eart h-
quakes anywhere. Ambraseys et al. (1995) pla ced th e epicen ter of this sh ock
to
th
e Eastern Medit erranean Sea.
24 Jun e 1870AD, East ern Mediterran ean: A st rong eart hquake was felt in
Northern Egypt, particularly in Alexandria,Cairo and Ismailia. In Alexan-
dria this shock caused considerable concern but no dam age was reported.
This earthquake was st ronger in Cairo and Ismailia, bu t of shorte r duration.
It
caused slight pan ic and damage to a few houses.
Thi
s ea rt hqua ke was felt
in a number of E
ast
ern Mediterr anean cou nt ries (e .g. Sicily, Alba nia, Turkey,
Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria and Lib ya ). Th erefore t he shoc k was focused in t he
Eastern Mediterr an ean by Ambr aseys et al. (1995).
12 January 187
3AD
, Eastern Mediterranean: In t he early afternoo n, man y people
felt an ea rt hqua ke in C airo. Th e osc illat ions of th e gro und p ersist ed for abo ut
one minute bu t n o dam a ge was re po
rte
d. Th is shock was apparently felt
along Palestin e and Lebanon, it could have originated from t he South east ern
Mediterranean (Ambraseys et al. 1995).
11 July 1879
AD
, Gulf of Suez:
Thr
ee mod
erat
ely shocks were felt in Cairo at the
night.
Th
e shocks were also felt in Giza and it was st ro nger in Alexandria. In
Sinai (at Tor) th e shocks were associate d with sea-waves t hat flooded some
areas .
27 August 1886AD, Eastern Mediterranean: A very strong earthquake was felt in
N
orth
ern Egypt,
part
icularly in Cairo and Alexandria.
It
caused no
dama
ge
but
great concern .
It
was also felt in some places in Eastern Mediterranean
countries. Thus th e ea rt hqua ke evide nt ly or iginated from a focus in t he Hel-
lenic Arc (Ambr aseys et al. 1995).
17 November 1886AD,Northern Egypt: A light earthqua ke was felt in Cairo at
dawn.
The
shock lasted several seconds.
7 December 1895AD, No rthern Egypt: Two ea rt hqua kes were felt in North ern E gypt ,
par ticularl y in Cairo, Alex
and
ria and Ismailia. Each shock last ed about t hree
A cta G eod. Geoph. Hun g. 34, 1999
132 A
BADAWY
seconds. There is no damage reported
but
some concern in
the
Tanta
and
Zagazig region. These earthquakes might originated from an epicenter at
the
Gulf of Aqaba (Badawy 1995).
Discussion
and
conclusions
The
reliability and heterogeneity of historical earthquake information are impor-
tant
factors in defining the level of seismicity
and
determining its future recurrence.
Although
the
historical earthquake information in Egypt is documented, it cannot
be regarded as complete as much of the old Egyptian literature was lost creating
gaps in earthquake records. Moreover, earthquake dating was a subject of difference
among different authors (e.g. Ambraseys 1962, Rothe 1969, Poirier
and
Taher 1980,
Ambraseys 1995, Badawy 1996). Also, the distribution of population causes bad
control on epicenter location.
The
time distribution of historical earthquakes in Egypt (Fig. 1) shows
that,
only seven earthquakes have been reported in
the
period before Christ (BC) . Up to
the
end of the ninth century
the
secular number of reported earthquakes fluctuates
between zero and three. A relatively high number (eight) of earthquakes were re-
ported in
the
tenth
century. In
the
eleventh
and
twelfth centuries (Fatimid period)
adramatic decline in
the
earthquake number has been notified . This decline reflects
that
most historical documents have been lost during
the
Fatimid period. After this
decline,
the
number of reported earthquakes re-increased up to
the
fifteenth and six-
teenth centuries (Mamluk Period) giving a relatively high value (ten earthquakes).
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Egypt was a province of
the
Ot-
toman Empire, another dramatic decline has been realized . This decline reflects
acultural decline not only in Egypt
but
also throughout the Middle
East
during
the
Ottoman
Empire period (see Hodgson 1974).
The
reported earthquakes reach
their highest number in the nineteenth century. In this century Cairo newspapers
(Al-Ahram, Egyptian Gazette, and Al-Muktataf') increased the amount of available
information.
Thus
fluctuations in the time distribution of historical earthquakes in
Egypt are closely related to variations in
the
availability and quality of the sources
of historical information.
The
spatial distribution of historical earthquakes in Egypt is depicted in Fig.
2. This map shows
the
localities where
the
shocks were reported or felt, it is not a
map of earthquake epicenters.
It
is in a good agreement with
that
given by Poirier
and
Taher (1980)
and
Ambraseys et al. (1995).
This figure clearly indicates
that
most historical earthquakes were felt in the
densely populated region of
the
Nile Valley, Nile Delta
and
Northern Egypt.There-
fore, the spatial distribution of earthquake location in historical period was essen-
tially linked to
the
population geography in Egypt.
The
concentration of population
in Nile Valley has distorted the location of historical earthquakes.Whereas,
the
his-
torical earthquakes are not representative what is known
about
recent earthquakes
in some regions in Egypt. For example along the Red Sea region
that
is sparsely
populated only a few effects on land were reported. Most of the earthquakes must
reach
the
moderate level to be considered. In contrast, Northern Egypt was densely
Acta
Geod. Geoph . Hung . 34, 1999
HISTORICAL
SEISMICITY
OF
EGYPT
18
_-
---
-
--
------
--
---,."
16
14
II 12
~
10 10
ClII
&10
.c
1: 8
lB
87
'0
i6
4
433 3
2 2 2 2
2
Time (Centu ries)
Fig
.1.
Time
distribution
of historical
earthquakes
in
Egypt
from 2200BC to 1899AD
133
populated, has a long and well-documented information, many reported earthquakes
were relatively small.
Generally, Egypt has been affected from earthquakes originating from epicenters
in the Eastern Mediterranean and Northern Red Sea (Gulf of Suez and Gulf of
Aqaba), as well by some shocks originating from local sources .
The degree of the earthquake damages (consequently the estimated intensity)
varies widely with construction and engineering quality of the structures. The
Egyptian pre-instrumentalearthquakes had widespread consequences (exaggerated
intensities) mainly because so many buildings were destroyed due to their poor
quality.
Finally, the total number of historicalearthquakes in the present catalogue is 83
up to 1899AD. Although th is number is twice greater
than
in the earlier catalogues
(e.g. Maamoun 1979, Poirier and Taher 1980, Ambraseys et al. 1995) the historical
earthquake records in Egypt are still very incomplete.
Ack nowle d ge
me
nt s
Ishould like to
thank
P Varga
and
Gy Szeidovitz at the Seismological Observatory
of
the
Hungarian Academy of Science for their valuable suggestions
and
discussions, and
great thanks to P M6nus for his continuous help. I am grateful to F Horvath at
the
Geophysical
Department
of L. Eotvos University, who reviewed
the
manuscript
and
for his
valuab le suggestions and discussions .
Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung . 34, 1999
134 A
BADAWY
33°
Med
iterranean
Sea
32° 1;(
**
1;(
.
~
~
~
..:~
\
\O{
a
~
\e
.
31
°
:
:,
Siwa Oasis
~
tf o
<P~
28° ,
~-I-
27° ¢
26°
()
25°
~
<P
24°
~-I-
~
23°
220
25° 26° 27° 28° 29° 30° 31° 32° 33034° 35° 36° 37"
Fig. 2. The spatial distribution of historical earthquake localities in Egypt from 2200BC to
1899AD
R
ef
eren
ce s
Ambraseys N N 1961: Rev . Etude des Calamites,37, 18-30 .
Ambraseys N N 1962: B. S. S. A., 52, 77
-80
.
Ambraseys N N 1971: Nature, 232, 5310, 375- 379.
Ambraseys N N, Melville C P, Adams RD1995:
The
seismicity of Egypt, Arabia
and
t he
Red Sea. Cambridge Press
Badawy A1995: Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung., 30. 349-361.
Badawy A1996: Seismicity and kinematic evolution of t he Sinai plate. Ph .D. thesis, L.
Eotvos Univ .,
Budapest
Badawy A, Monus P1995: J. Geodynamics,20 , 99-109 .
Ben-Mcnahem A1979: Bol. Geof. Teor. E d Applic., 21.
Hodgson M G S 1974:
The
venture of Islam. 3Vols. Chicago
and
London
Kebeasy R1990: In: Geology of Egypt. RSaid ed.,
Rotterdam,
51
-59
.
Lee W H, Wu FT, Jacobsen C1976: B. S. S. A., 66, 2003-2016 .
Acta Geod. Geoph.
Hung
.
34
,1999
HIST
ORI
CAL SE IS MIC IT Y O F EG
YPT
135
Lyons H G 1907: Survey Notes, 1, 277
-2
86.
Maam oun M 1979: Macroseismic obse
rvat
ions of principle ea
rt
hq uakes in Egyp t . H elwan
Obse rvato ry Bull . No. 183, Helwan
Maamoun M,
Ibr
ahim
E M 1978: T ect onic a cti vit y in Egyp t as indi ca t ed by e art h qua kes.
Helwan Observatory Bull. No. 170, Helwan
Melville C P 1984:
Th
e use of historical sourc es for seismic assess ment. A Br
amb
ati and
D Slejko eds , O .G.S. Silver Anniver
sar
y Volume, Triest e, 109-119.
Po irier J , Tah er M 1980:
B.S
.S.A ., 70, 2185-2201 .
Pr
eisigke F 1915-1926: S
amm
elbu ch Gri echischer Ur ku nde n a us Agy
pte
n. 4. Vo!., Str as-
b
our
g, Berlin and Leipzig
Qui ttm eyer R C , J acob K H 1979:
B.S.S
.A ., 69, 773- 823.
Rabi n o M H 1937: Bull. Soc. R . de Geogr. d 'Egypt, 19, 21-126.
Roth e J P 1969:
Th
e se ismicity of t he eart h 1953-1965. UNESC O, P aris
Sieberg A 1932a :
Erdb
ebengeographie, in
Gut
enb erg , B. H
andbu
ch d er Geoph ysik , Vo!.
IV, Berlin
Sieberg A 1932b:
Erdb
eben
und
Bruchschollenbau im O stl ichen
Mitt
elme ergebiet . Denk
d. Medizin.-Naturwiss. Ges. Zu J
ena
, 18, No
.2
.
Sprenger A 1843: J. R . Asiatic Soc. Bengal, 12, 741-749.
Willis B 1928: B
.S
.S.A ., 18, 73-103.
Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung . 34 , 1999
... Egypt is characterized by earthquakes of moderate magnitudes which mainly concentrate along the surrounding plate boundaries (the Gulf of Aqaba-Dead Sea transform fault, the Gulf of Suez-Red Sea rift, and the Nubian-Eurasian plate boundary). Available publications and catalogs of historical (pre-1900) earthquakes in Egypt [48,[57][58][59][60] document the occurrence of only 83 earthquakes in the Egyptian lands ( Figure 3). In addition, the population concentration along the Nile River and its delta creates imprecision in the proper identification of the location and the possible damage effects of historical earthquakes. ...
... On the other hand, regarding the instrumental events (1900-2020) (Figure 4), Egypt shows relatively moderate seismicity in comparison to other regions all over the world. However, it was affected by some damaging large earthquakes that originated mainly along the Hellenic and the Cyprian Arcs, as well as those from Southern Palestine [59]. The following points can be deduced from the plotting of seismicity: (a) a higher concentration for the instrumental seismicity appears on the northeastern parts of Egypt, especially along the triple junction of the Gulf of Suez, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea than those in southern Egypt, (b) the shallow seismic activity is mainly focused in the surrounding plate boundaries (the Gulf of Aqaba-Dead Sea fault system and the Gulf of Suez-Red Sea rift towards the east, and the Nubia-Eurasia plate boundary "the Hellenic and the Cyprian Arcs" towards the north) as well as on other active seismic zones (southwest Cairo, Cairo-Suez area, Abu Dabbab area on the Eastern Desert, offshore Delta region, west of Assiut and Sohag, and the surrounding of Nasser's Lake), and (c) little dispersed seismicity could be noticed along the Western Desert of Egypt or on the southern parts of the Eastern Desert. ...
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A comparative analysis of geodetic versus seismic moment-rate estimations makes it possible to distinguish between seismic and aseismic deformation, define the style of deformation, and also to reveal potential seismic gaps. This analysis has been performed for Egypt where the present-day tectonics and seismicity result from the long-lasting interaction between the Nubian, Eurasian, and Arabian plates. The data used comprises all available geological and tectonic information, an updated Poissonian earthquake catalog (2200 B.C.-2020 A.D.) including historical and instrumental datasets, a focal-mechanism solutions catalog (1951-2019), and crustal geodetic strains from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data. The studied region was divided into ten (EG-01 to EG-10) crustal seismic sources based mainly on seismicity, focal mechanisms, and geodetic strain characteristics. The delimited seismic sources cover the Gulf of Aqaba-Dead Sea Transform Fault system, the Gulf of Suez-Red Sea Rift, besides some potential seismic active regions along the Nile River and its delta. For each seismic source, the estimation of seismic and geodetic moment-rates has been performed. Although the obtained results cannot be considered to be definitive, among the delimited sources, four of them (EG-05, EG-06, EG-08, and EG-10) are characterized by low seismic-geodetic moment-rate ratios (<20%), reflecting a prevailing aseismic behavior. Intermediate moment-rate ratios (from 20% to 60%) have been obtained in four additional zones (EG-01, EG-04, EG-07, and EG-09), evidencing how the seismicity accounts for a minor to a moderate fraction of the total deformational budget. In the other two sources (EG-02 and EG-03), high seismic-geodetic moment-rates ratios (>60%) have been observed, reflecting a fully seismic deformation.
... Seismicity, seismotectonics and earthquake hazard in Egypt have been studied by several authors [4,[38][39][40][41][42]. Available publications and catalogs of historical earthquakes striking Egypt [4,38,40,41,43] document the occurrence of moderate earthquakes (M ≥ 6) in the Egyptian lands at least since 2200 B.C. Historical earthquakes are mainly concentrated along the Nile River and its delta, as well as in the Sinai Peninsula (Figure 1), clearly reflecting the population concentration over the study area. ...
... Seismicity, seismotectonics and earthquake hazard in Egypt have been studied by several authors [4,[38][39][40][41][42]. Available publications and catalogs of historical earthquakes striking Egypt [4,38,40,41,43] document the occurrence of moderate earthquakes (M ≥ 6) in the Egyptian lands at least since 2200 B.C. Historical earthquakes are mainly concentrated along the Nile River and its delta, as well as in the Sinai Peninsula (Figure 1), clearly reflecting the population concentration over the study area. In addition, the Egyptian region was also affected by some large damaging earthquakes nucleated along the Hellenic and the Cyprian Arc systems, as well as those that occurred along the Gulf of Aqaba-Dead Sea fault system [40]. ...
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The comparison between crustal stress and surface strain azimuthal patterns has provided new insights into several complex tectonic settings worldwide. Here, we performed such a comparison for Egypt taking into account updated datasets of seismological and geodetic observations. In north-eastern Egypt, the stress field shows a fan-shaped azimuthal pattern with a WNW–ESE orientation on the Cairo region, which progressively rotated to NW–SE along the Gulf of Aqaba. The stress field shows a prevailing normal faulting regime, however, along the Sinai/Arabia plate boundary it coexists with a strike–slip faulting one (σ1 ≅ σ2 > σ3), while on the Gulf of Suez, it is characterized by crustal extension occurring on near-orthogonal directions (σ1 > σ2 ≅ σ3). On the Nile Delta, the maximum horizontal stress (SHmax) pattern shows scattered orientations, while on the Aswan region, it has a WNW–ESE strike with pure strike–slip features. The strain-rate field shows the largest values along the Red Sea and the Sinai/Arabia plate boundary. Crustal stretching (up to 40 nanostrain/yr) occurs on these areas with WSW–ENE and NE–SW orientations, while crustal contraction occurs on northern Nile Delta (10 nanostrain/yr) and offshore (~35 nanostrain/yr) with E–W and N–S orientations, respectively. The comparison between stress and strain orientations over the investigated area reveals that both patterns are near-parallel and driven by the same large-scale tectonic processes.
... A relatively high number (eight) of earthquakes has been reported in the tenth century. The reported earthquakes reach their highest number (17) in the nineteenth century [18]. The Question: What is the reason for the proven resistance of the monuments to the seismic events of the past? ...
... According to Arabic sources (e.g. El-Maqrizy; As-Souty) aftershocks continued during 3 weeks [18]. ...
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The Pyramids complex in Giza consists of three main pyramids in addition to the famous Sphinx and small queen’s pyramids. Recently, the pyramids of Cheops (Khufu), Chephren (Khafre) and Mykerinos (Menkaure) on the Giza plateau have been threatened by a rising groundwater table resulting from water leakage from the suburbs irrigation canals, and mass urbanization surrounding the Giza pyramids. The pyramids at Giza suffer from a lot of Geo-environmental and structural problems. The main objectives of this study are (1) to assess the current status of the preservation of this unique and high valuable archaeological site, (2) to analyze the various actions that cause the destruction of the pyramid complex, in particular the weathering activities and strong seismic event, and (3) to determine the geochemical and engineering properties for construction materials using different types of tools and advanced analytical and diagnostic techniques. Structural stability analysis requires good assessment of present conditions of major materials used such as stones and structural mortar. The paper shows a thorough analysis of the current condition of the Great Pyramids at Giza. The work includes a discussion and analysis of the natural character and source of the pyramids building stones, geological context, damage survey, petrographic investigation, and physical and mechanical characterization of the stones and structural mortars, by means of laboratory and in situ testing. The results are displayed, described and analyzed in the paper in the context of potential threats to the monuments. The experimental study indicates the dependence of mechanical geological properties on the physical properties and the mineral composition of the studied building materials. The physical and petrographic characteristic of the stones are related. The modeling of properties indicates a reliable relationship between the various visible pores and uniaxial compression force parameters that can be applied to predict and characterize limestone elsewhere.
... Most of the earthquake epicenters were located in Cairo, and the damage from earthquakes affected Cairo, the Nile Delta, and the Nile valley. For example, in 520 AD, a large one happened, and many cities and villages were swallowed up [58] (Table 1). In 1992, Memphis pyramids were affected by the Dahshour earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.3 and depth of 30 km. ...
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Abusir is the name of an elaborate burial area in Egypt, dotted with 19 pyramids and other temples, stretching on the western side of the Nile from the south of the Giza Plateau to the northern rim of Saqqara. It seems to have been created as the resting site for the Pharaohs dated from 2494 to 2345 BC. The name Abusir, originally spoken as Busiri, means “Temple of Osiris”. Over time, the name has become so popular because more than 60 villages now carry this name, but only one is the archaeological site. This paper focused on one of its most important pyramids from the Abusir archaeological area, Sahure’s pyramid, since it is one of Egypt’s little‑known but heavily damaged treasures. Field and laboratory studies have been carried out to investigate and understand the durability problems and construction materials of this pyramid, leading to results that confirmed the impact of the geoenvironmental conditions on the pyramid’s architectural, structural, and engineering stability. Moreover, the results showed that mineralogical content in the construction materials was an intrinsic problem due to the presence of swellable (expansive) clays, which are considered responsible for pyramid decay and damage. In addition to external factors such as the effect of temperature variations, rain, pollutants, wind, and earthquakes and their interactions with intrinsic building material defects. Finally, this paper revealed a new discovery for basaltic mortar as the first trial for green concrete manufacturing in the Egyptian Old Kingdom, Fifth Dynasty.
... Seismic activity in this region is related to the relative movement between the panels of Africa, Arabian plate and Sinai sub-plate (Bosworth and Taviani 1996;Badawy and Abdel-Fattah 2006). The recent maximum magnitude of the earthquake (ML = 6.8) was observed on 31 March 1969, it had been located 20 km (NE direction) from Hurghada city (Daggett et al. 1986;Badawy 1999). Jackup platforms are the most drilling units within the Gulf of Suez region. ...
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Offshore platforms in seismically active areas should be properly designed to survive within the face of intense earthquakes without a global structural collapse. This paper scrutinizes the seismic performance of a newly designed and established jacket type offshore platform based on the API-RP2A normalized response spectra during seismic events. A finite element model is developed from a typical jacket type offshore platform taking into the effect of the interaction among structure, pile, and soil components. The seismic responses of jacket type offshore platforms subjected to random earthquake excitations are evaluated by means of the power spectral density (PSD) analysis. Dynamic characteristics, the response function, output PSD and transfer functions for various elements of the platform are discussed. The spectrum compatible PSD is directly used to estimate the peak structural responses and determine the dynamic response of offshore jacket platforms that meet the required level of engineering practice for preliminary design. ARTICLE HISTORY
... The documented historical earthquakes demonstrated that northern of the Red Sea, southern Gulf of the Suez and Gulf of Aqaba are the most active areas in Egypt (Badawy 1999). Seismic activities were recently recorded southwest and southeast of Cairo, the zone between Cairo-Ismailia and Cairo-Suez roads, along the Red Sea ocean coast and south Aswan (Abuo EL-Ela and Abou Elenean 2012). ...
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Nile Delta is one of the most significant regions in Egypt. The offshore Nile Delta is located in a complex structural area of Mediterranean Ridge, which is an important wrench fault separating the Arabian plate to the African Plate. This study aims at monitoring the recent crustal deformation and velocity of the Northern delta beside its connection to the seismicity and tectonic activities of the African plate using the permanent GNNS stations distributed at the Egyptian Delta and Europe. The available GNNS data (2009-2019) were analysed utilising the Bernese 5.2 software, to identify the velocity vectors, and the principal segments of crustal strains along the investigated region. The results show that the average absolute velocity ranges between 14 and 22 mm/yr with an accuracy of 3 mm/yr, and the residual velocity is estimated at 0.51 to 4.98 mm/yr with an accuracy of 2.5 mm/yr. Furthermore, the rate of the gathered strains in the northern Nile Delta was recently changed from low to moderate. The outcomes show that the area under investigation suffers from irregular seismic activity related to the crustal movements, which occurred along with the major fault trends in the region.
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Throughout its existence the Temple of Hatshepsut, as well as two other royal sanctuaries, the temples of Mentuhotep II and Thutmose III, located in the great bay of Deir el-Bahari, have been under constant threat of falling rocks from the overhanging Theban cliff. The PCMA UW archaeological expedition at Deir el-Bahari, which has progressed with the study and conservation of the Hatshepsut temple since the 1960s, has implemented a project designed to address the issue of the protection of the temple from damages that could be caused by environmental processes (rainwater and seismic activity) affecting the Theban cliff behind the monument. In a geological survey of the fractured limestone cliff, the evidence from 31 observation stations was appraised and samples of Esna Shale and Theban Limestone were examined in order to ascertain the degree of the cliff’s instability and fragility. The results were used to prepare a 2D model presenting the environmental processes threatening the ancient substance.
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On 3 September 2015, an unexpected earthquake with magnitude MB = 4.5 occurred in a completely silent area, located at 40 km south El Alamein city north western desert, where there are ~ 20 million pieces of unexploded ordnance. This study aims to: i) review and interpret the widespread seismic activity in Egypt during the last three decades, and ii) delineate the active seismic source zones map of Egypt based on realistic assumptions. These assumptions include only the real and accurate seismic events from the whole earthquake catalogue of Egypt. The idea based on the accuracy of the monitoring system, magnitude size of earthquakes, and detailed structure elements map of Egypt. The seismic catalogue of Egypt was updating to the end of 2019 including the historical and instrumental earthquakes since −2200 BC. The seismicity map of Egypt was outlined along five interval periods based on the significant evolution in the seismic monitoring system. The advanced monitoring period in the detection and location of seismic events in entire Egypt was supposed to begin in 2003 where the ENSN almost accomplished. Seismicity of advanced monitoring period 2003–2019 can be used as a tracer of real seismicity boundaries entire Egypt. Active seismic source zones map was delineated based on the advanced monitoring period and the unified Mw ≥ 4.5 instrumental catalogue from 1900 to 2019. To validate the seismic zones model, it compared with the structural elements map and given a rational matching. The new local seismic spots entire Egypt was discussed because of the invention in the seismic monitoring system entire Egypt and attributed to the misdetection and/or dislocation events due to the lack of monitoring system before the accomplished of ENSN. In conclusion, a validated active seismic zones map of Egypt was delineated using real and accurate seismic and geologic data based on powerful assumptions.
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The earthquake activity in and around Sinai peninsula is studied. Most activity took place south of the Ragabet El-Naam fault. Also, more recent destructive events occurred along the African-Arabian plate boundaries. The hypocentral distribution of earthquakes clearly indicates that all activity took place within the crust. Spectral analysis was applied to three recent earthquakes which occurred at the Gulf of Aqaba in July and August 1993. The dynamic source parameters show similar seismic moments while the differences in stress drops, fault length and relative displacement are significant. The very low stress drop values of these events suggest that these earthquakes are parts of a sequence.
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A catalog of historical earthquakes in China from 1177 B.C. to 1899 A.D. has been compiled in a form suitable for computers. The data include the date, epicenter, magnitude, and epicentral intensity of the earthquake as well as the province where the earthquake occurred. The source materials are publications in Chinese of the Institute of Geophysics, Academia Sinica. Some of the historical events are evidently related to large faults that are easily discernible from satellite images. Comparing the historical seismicity map to epicenters located by the World Wide Standardized Seismograph Network stations since 1962, we may see the influence of population distribution on the historical data.
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On 12th October 1992 Egypt was hit by one of the largest earthquakes in its recent history with magnitude of mB = 5.8. This event shook Cairo and the northern part of the Nile valley and was felt in much of Egypt from Alexandria to Aswan causing widespread damage. The intensity in the epicentral area was of VIII degree on the Modified Mercalli intensity scale. The focal mechanism solution indicates a normal faulting with a strike-slip component. Dynamic source parameters derived from P-wave spectrum shows stress drop of about Δσ = 11 bar, seismic moment of M0 = 0.04 ∗ 1025 dyn ∗ cm, fault length of L = 6.01 km and relative displacement of 16.5 cm.
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This book provides a catalog of earthquakes that have occurred in Egypt, Arabia, the Red Sea region, and the surrounding areas of Libya, Sudan, and Ethiopia from the earliest times (184 BC) to the present day. By careful and intensive study of historical sources and a review of the instrumental data of this century, the authors describe each earthquake as fully as possible and analyze each in a geographical and historical context. They further scrutinize the completeness of the earthquake catalog over time and examine the range of sources and the problems associated with such historical records.
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Modern earthquake catalogues have been found unreliable in reporting earthquakes which occurred before 1900, because of a series of errors perpetuated at second and third hand. A new study of the original records provides significant data relating earthquake activity in the Eastern Mediterranean basin with plate tectonic activity over the past 2,000 years.
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