Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Method For Dating Ancient Earthquakes Through Cave Evidence Developed By Israeli Researchers

Date:
May 9, 2005
Source:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
A new method for dating destructive past earthquakes, based on evidence remaining in caves has been developed by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Geological Survey of Israel.

Photo in the stalactite cave near Beit Shemesh, Israel, shows a collapsed ceiling, evidence of an ancient destructive earthquake. Note the stalactites that were growing prior to the collapse, as well as the stalagmites on top of the ceiling that began to grow only after the collapse.
Credit: Photo by Elisa Kagan

A new method for dating destructive past earthquakes, based on evidence remaining in caves has been developed by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Geological Survey of Israel.

Using this method, they discovered for the first time evidence of earthquakes that can be documented some distance from the Syrian-African rift that runs from Syria through Lebanon, Israel and Jordan and down into Africa. This rift caused great shifts in the topography of the region in prehistoric times.

An article on this subject was published this month in the journal Geology. The article is based on work carried out by graduate student Elisa J. Kagan of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University and on a report issued by the Geological Survey of Israel, a government research body.

Stalactite caves retain a record of environmental conditions, including climate and the seepage of water through cracks in the earth. The researchers examined the stalactite cave near Beit Shemesh and another nearby cave, which are located about 40 kilometers west of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea itself is part of the Syrian-African rift.

The researchers estimate that there were at least 13 earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.5 or greater on the Richter Scale that occurred in the region in the last 200,000 years. However, in the two caves that were examined there was no evidence of an earthquake of such magnitude in the last 4,000 years. The scientists suggest, therefore, that the prehistoric earthquakes that hit the region (during the time of the great Syrian-African rift upheavals) were of greater magnitude than those recorded later.

Together with her advisor, Prof. Amotz Agnon of the Hebrew University Institute of Earth Sciences, Kagan further noted the patterns of fallen stalactites and stalagmites in the caves and found that they had fallen primarily in the direction of north to south and east to west. The researchers showed through calculations that these patterns were caused by extremely large earthquakes that originated in the Dead Sea Region.

In her research, Kagan examined those stalactites and stalagmites upon which new stalagmites had grown, indicating passage of many thousands of years. In the dating of this material, she was guided by Dr. Miryam Bar-Matthews and Dr. Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel.

The scientists are continuing their investigative work in the caves in connection with Kagan's doctoral research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "New Method For Dating Ancient Earthquakes Through Cave Evidence Developed By Israeli Researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050508212133.htm>.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2005, May 9). New Method For Dating Ancient Earthquakes Through Cave Evidence Developed By Israeli Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050508212133.htm
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "New Method For Dating Ancient Earthquakes Through Cave Evidence Developed By Israeli Researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050508212133.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins