Significant role of Dead Sea level changes in earthquake recurrence: application for the last two millennia
We explain the variability in paleoseismic rates of large strike-slip earthquakes by large-scale water level fluctuations in basins overlying faults. Reservoirs are known to induce seismicity: water level increase significantly affects effective stresses at seismogenic depths, generating immediate and delayed seismic responses, and accelerating seismicity. Our modeling manifests that fluctuations in water level in historic water bodies in the tectonic depression of the Dead Sea Basin could cause changes in paleo-seismic rates. This triggering is explored on a historical time scale of the period of two millennia, based on the data gathered on water level fluctuations and earthquakes in the Dead Sea Basin. The data regarding these two phenomena suffer from severe uncertainties due to their different nature, methods, and their inherent resolution. The correlation between the quasi-continuous record of historic Dead Sea level reconstructions and discrete seismicity patterns is considerably improved and novel scenarios for water level reconstruction are introduced, applying a numerical earthquake simulation algorithm. The results of the simulations show direct connection between water level changes and frequency of seismic events in the Dead Sea Basin for the period of two millennia; dates of numerically simulated quakes are also comparable with those from the literature sources. Our study demonstrates that incorporation of water level changes is essential for earthquake simulation, prediction, and mitigation in areas of lakes or reservoir.