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Volume 18, issue 8 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2203-2219, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-2203-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Aug 2018

Research article | 17 Aug 2018

Paleotsunami deposits along the coast of Egypt correlate with historical earthquake records of eastern Mediterranean

Asem Salama1,2,5, Mustapha Meghraoui1,5, Mohamed El Gabry2,5, Said Maouche3,5, Moussa Hesham Hussein2,5, and Ibrahim Korrat4 Asem Salama et al.
  • 1EOST-Institut de Physique du Globe – CNRS – UMR 7516, Strasbourg, France
  • 2National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, 11421 Helwan, Egypt
  • 3Centre Recherche Astronomie Astrophysique et Géophysique, Bouzareah, Algeria
  • 4Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
  • 5North Africa Group for Earthquake and Tsunami Studies (NAGET), Ne t40/OEA ICTP, Italy

Abstract. We study the sedimentary record of past tsunamis along the coastal area west of Alexandria (NW Egypt) taking into account the occurrence of major historical earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean. The two selected sites at Kefr Saber ( ∼ 32km west of Marsa-Matrouh city) and  ∼ 10 km northwest of El Alamein village are coastal lagoons protected by 2–20m-high dunes parallel to the shoreline. Field data were collected by (1) coastal geomorphology along estuaries, wedge-protected and dune-protected lagoons; and (2) identification and spatial distribution of paleotsunamis deposits using five trenches (1.5m-depth) at Kefr Saber and twelve cores (1 to 2.5m-depth) at El Alamein. Detailed logging of sedimentary sections was conducted using X-rays, grain size and sorting, total organic and inorganic matter, bulk mineralogy, magnetic susceptibility, and radiocarbon dating to identify past tsunamis records. Generally of low energy, the stratigraphic succession made of coastal lagoon and alluvial deposits includes intercalated high-energy deposits made of mixed fine and coarse sand with broken shells, interpreted as catastrophic layers correlated with tsunami deposits. Radiocarbon dating of 46 samples consist in mixed old (>13 000BP) and young (<5500BP), dated charcoal and shells in sedimentary units correlate with the 24 June AD1870 (Mw7.5), 8 August AD1303 (Mw ∼ 8) and 21 July AD365 (Mw8–8.5) large tsunamigenic earthquakes that caused inundation along the Alexandria and northern Egyptian shoreline. Our results point out the size and recurrence of past tsunamis and the potential for future tsunami hazards on the Egyptian coastline and the eastern Mediterranean regions.

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We study the sedimentary record of past tsunamis along the coastal area west of Alexandria (northwestern Egypt), taking into account the occurrence of major historical earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean. Dated charcoal and shell in sedimentary units allow the correlation with the 1870 (Mw 7.5), 1303 (Mw ~8) and 365 (Mw ~8) large tsunamigenic earthquakes. Our results point out the size and recurrence of past tsunamis and related hazards on the Egyptian coastline and eastern Mediterranean.
We study the sedimentary record of past tsunamis along the coastal area west of Alexandria...
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