Simulation of seismic-wave propagation through geometrically complex basins: The Dead Sea basin

Shahar Shani-Kadmiel, Michael Tsesarsky, John N. Louie, Zohar Gvirtzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dead Sea Transform (DST) is the source for some of the largest earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean. The seismic hazard presented by the DST threatens the Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian populations alike. Several deep and structurally complex sedimentary basins are associated with the DST. These basins are up to 10 km deep and typically bounded by active fault zones. The low seismicity of the DST, the sparse seismic network, and limited coverage of sedimentary basins result in a critical knowledge gap. Therefore, it is necessary to complement the limited instrumental data with synthetic data based on computational modeling, in order to study the effects of earthquake ground motion in these sedimentary basins. In this research we performed a 2D ground-motion analysis in the Dead Sea Basin (DSB) using a finite-difference code. Cross sections transecting the DSB were compiled for wave propagation simulations. Results indicate a complex pattern of groundmotion amplification affected by the geometric features in the basin. To distinguish between the individual contributions of each geometrical feature in the basin, we developed a semiquantitative decomposition approach. This approach enabled us to interpret the DSB results as follows: (1) Ground-motion amplification as a result of resonance occurs basin-wide due to a high impedance contrast at the base of the uppermost layer; (2) Steep faults generate a strong edge-effect that further amplifies ground motions; (3) Sub-basins cause geometrical focusing that may significantly amplify ground motions; and (4) Salt diapirs diverge seismic energy and cause a decrease in ground-motion amplitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1739
Number of pages11
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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