Archaeoseismological investigation of the ancient Ayla site in the city of Aqaba, Jordan

Category Tectonic & Seismotectonic
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Al-Tarazi, Eid
Holding Date 21 September 2008

Many tens of severe earthquake damage patterns were revealed at the ancient city of Ayla. The seismic deformation patterns are of various types, including systematic tilting of walls, systematic shifting and rotation of wall fragments and individual stones, arch deformations and joints crossing two or more stones. Features of later repair, supporting walls and secondary use of building stones suggest that the damage patterns can be explained by two historical devastating earthquakes: (I) revealed in the constructions built during the late Rashidun period (644-656 A.D.); (II) revealed in the structures restored and/or built during the Fatimid period (1050-1116 A.D.). The maximum observed intensity of both earthquakes at the studied site was not less than IX (EMS98 scale). The sources of the seismic events were probably the Dead Sea Transform and Wadi Araba Faults that cross the site obliquely. The last 1995 Nuweiba earthquake with maximum observed intensity VIII has also left its clear traces in the excavated ancient Ayla buildings. The severity of the destruction was significantly increased because of site effects.