Quaternary tectonic evolution of the Northern Gulf of Elat/Aqaba along the Dead Sea Transform

Gal Hartman, Tina M. Niemi, Gideon Tibor, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Abdallah Al-Zoubi, Yizhaq Makovsky, Emad Akawwi, Abdel Rahman Abueladas, Rami Al-Ruzouq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The northern Gulf of Elat/Aqaba is located in the transition between the deep marine basins of the gulf and the shallow onland basins of the Arava Valley. Interpretation of 500 km of high-resolution seismic reflection data collected across the northern shelf reveals the tectonic structure and evolution of this transition. Six NNE-trending faults and one E-W trending transverse fault are mapped. Slip rates are calculated based on measured offsets and age determination based on a radiocarbon-calibrated sedimentation rate and a Quaternary age model. The most active fault is the Evrona Fault that absorbs most of the left lateral slip within the basin with an average sinistral slip rate of 0.7 ± 0.3 mm/yr through the Late Pleistocene and 2.3-3.4 mm/yr during the Holocene. Two intrabasin faults east of the Evrona Fault that have been inactive for the last several tens of thousands of years were mapped, and motion from these faults has likely transferred to the Evrona Fault. The basin is flanked on the west by the Elat Fault and on the east by the Aqaba Fault. Both faults are marked by large bathymetric escarpments. Based on displaced seismic reflectors, we calculate a Holocene vertical slip rate of 1.0 ± 0.2 and 0.4 ± 0.1 mm/yr for the Elat and Aqaba Faults, respectively. The geometry, slip rates, and slip history of the northern Gulf of Elat/Aqaba faults show that during the Late Pleistocene several intrabasin faults became dominant across the basin but that during the Holocene the Evrona Fault accommodates most of the strike slip.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9183-9205
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Dead Sea
  • Gulf of Aqaba
  • Transform
  • basin
  • fault
  • tectonic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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