Neotectonic activity in Caesarea, the Mediterranean coast of central Israel

Yossi Mart, Ilana Perecman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence for neotectonic activity along the coast of the southern Levant exists in the ancient harbor of Caesarea in central Israel, where large Herodian breakwaters are presently submerged 5-8 m below sealevel, whereas other contemporary coastal installations in the same area remain at sealevel. High-resolution seismic reflection surveys on the very shallow continental shelf encountered a series of coast-parallel faults that displace both the eolianite, which crops out along the coastal zone and the submerged breakwaters. The faults have 1-3 m of offsets, downthrowing their seaward flank and leaving their landward flank stable. We suggest that the subsidence of the ancient breakwaters was caused by neotectonic displacements on these faults and enhanced by solifluction. Records of historical earthquakes in the coastal Levant region and archaeological evidence of faulting are compatible with the geophysical findings. The neotectonic activity of the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which is a consequence of the Plio-Quaternary subsidence of the southeastern Mediterranean basin, has shaped the coast of the southern Levant even during the past 2000 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 30 Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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