The Sea of Galilee in northeast Israel is a freshwater lake filling a morphological depression along the Dead Sea Fault. It is located in a tectonically complex area, where a N-S main fault system intersects secondary fault patterns non-univocally interpreted by previous reconstructions. A set of multiscale geophysical, geochemical and seismological data, reprocessed or newly collected, was analysed to unravel the interplay between shallow tectonic deformations and geodynamic processes. The result is a neotectonic map highlighting major seismogenic faults in a key region at the boundary between the Africa/Sinai and Arabian plates. Most active seismogenic displacement occurs along NNW-SSE oriented transtensional faults. This results in a left-lateral bifurcation of the Dead Sea Fault forming a rhomb-shaped depression we named the Capharnaum Trough, located off-track relative to the alleged principal deformation zone. Low-magnitude (ML = 3–4) epicentres accurately located during a recent seismic sequence are aligned along this feature, whose activity, depth and regional importance is supported by geophysical and geochemical evidence. This case study, involving a multiscale/multidisciplinary approach, may serve as a reference for similar geodynamic settings in the world, where unravelling geometric and kinematic complexities is challenging but fundamental for reliable earthquake hazard assessments.
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We thank the many people who in different ways helped us during the field work, including Naama Sarid, Guy Lang, Yaron Be’eri-Shlevin, Yoseph Yechieli and Marion Alcanie. This research could not have been carried out without the support of the Kinneret Authority, especially Hagai Levin, Yoni Dotan, and Yehuda Nitzani. Fundings were provided by ISMAR-CNR (Progetto Monitoraggio Geodinamico Marino), University of Haifa, NFR, through the HOTMUD project (288299) and its Centers of Excellence funding scheme (223272 -CEED), INGV (Palermo) and Université de Genève. Geochemical analyses were carried out with support of Anke Bleyer, Regina Surberg, Andrea Bodenbinder, Bettina Domeyer and Mariano Tantillo. We finally thank the editor and anonymous referees for improving the quality of the manuscript.
© 2020, The Author(s).
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