24 Mar 2021
24 Mar 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Identifying plausible historical scenarios for coupled lake level and seismicity rate changes: The case for the Dead Sea during the last two millennia

Mariana Belferman1, Amotz Agnon2, Regina Katsman1, and Zvi Ben-Avraham1 Mariana Belferman et al.
  • 1The Dr. Moses Strauss Department of Marine Geosciences, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel
  • 2The Fredy & Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel

Abstract. Seismicity triggered by water level changes in reservoirs and lakes is usually studied from well-documented contemporary records. Can such triggering be explored on a historical time scale when the data gathered on water level fluctuations in historic lakes and the earthquake catalogs suffer from severe uncertainties? These uncertainties stem from the different nature of the data gathered, methods, and their resolution. In this article, we considerably improve the correlation between the continuous record of historic water level reconstructions at the Dead Sea and discrete seismicity patterns in the area over the period of the past two millennia. Constricted by the data from previous studies, we generate an ensemble of random water level curves and choose that curve that best correlates with the historical records of seismic stress release in the Dead Sea reflected in the destruction in Jerusalem. We then numerically simulate a synthetic earthquake catalog using this curve. The earthquakes of this synthetic catalog show an impressing agreement with historic earthquake records from the field. We demonstrate for the first time that water level changes correlate well with the observed recurrence interval record of historic earthquakes.

Mariana Belferman et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-62', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Mariana Belferman, 20 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-62', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Mariana Belferman, 18 Aug 2021

Mariana Belferman et al.

Mariana Belferman et al.


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Short summary
Internal fluid pressure in pores leads to breaking. With this mechanical principle and a correlation between historical water level changes and seismicity, we explore possible variants for water level reconstruction in the Dead Sea Basin. Using the best-correlated variant, an additional indication is established regarding the location of historical earthquakes. This leads us to propose a certain forecast for the next earthquake in view of the fast and persistent dropping level of the Dead Sea.