Participants:Department of Geophysics, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel; Dept. of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, U.S.A.; Jordanian partners and EcoOcean.

The Study:

Our ongoing research on the “High Resolution Marine Geophysical Imaging of Active Faults in the Aqaba-Eilat Region” financed by MERC-USAID seeks to map the active faults submerged in the northern gulf that lie immediately offshore and the faults that lie onshore beneath the rapidly developing cities of Aqaba and Eilat in order to adequately characterize the seismic potential and to understand the dynamic behavior of the Dead Sea Tranform fault system and its earthquake cycle.

In our second phase of the research, “Leg 2: Marine Coring and Onshore Correlations”, that started in 2010 we plane to characterize the earthquake hazards of the Aqaba-Eilat region by determining the seismic potential of newly mapped faults (e.g. 1st pase) that lie offshore and beneath Aqaba and Eilat. Evaluation of the amount of slip and of slip rates of specific faults will allow us to estimate the likelihood of future fault rupture.

In the frame of this phase we have utilized the R/V Mediterranean Explorer for one month (February 2010) geophysical and geological study in the northern part of the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba. During this study we have collected 40 high resolution seismic profiles across the Gulf using Sparker single channel reflection system. The geological part of this study include the collection of 27 piston cores at the deep basin, 6 vibro cores and 3 air-percussion cores (core penetration performed using air driven hammer) at the shallow shelf (Fig. 1). The vibro coring equipment was developed by IOLR technicians and was successfully operated in the study by the Mediterranean Explorer crew.

We have started the processing of the seismic profiles and analyzing the core data all of which are part of master and doctoral studies of Israeli and Jordanian students. Preliminary results from splitting the cores (Figure 2) show variable grain sizes and abrupt changes in sediment texture, suggesting turbidite/hemipelagic type deposition sequences.

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