A fresh view of the tsunami generated by the dead sea transform, 1995 Mw 7.2 Nuweiba earthquake, along the Gulf of Elat–Aqaba

Eran Frucht, Amos Salamon, Erez Gal, Hanan Ginat, Marina Grigorovitch, Rachamim Shem Tov, Steve Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The tsunami that followed the 1995 Mw 7.2 Nuweiba earthquake along the Dead Sea Transform in the Gulf of Elat–Aqaba (GOE) surprised the local population, who were unconcerned by seismogenic sea waves happening in a closed gulf, far away from the open ocean. Eyewitness reports, field observations, and a mareogram recorded near Elat demonstrated conclusively that tsunami hazard in the GOE deserves focused attention. Here we take up the challenge, adopting the GeoClaw package and investigating which of the available Nuweiba earthquake models are capable of better replicating the actual findings. In general, the simulated tsunamis that are based on both the seismological and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) Nuweiba earthquake models are in line with the eyewitness descriptions of wave height, slight inundation, and limited damage. In addition, the simulations show a reasonable correlation with the amplitude and wave period derived from the analog mareogram, as expected from a tsunamigenic, mostly strike-slip component earthquake. The InSAR inverse-based modeling of the coseismic deformation, however, appears closer to the measured parameters of the recorded mareogram. The exception of 3–4 m high waves reported in the Nuweiba port may be the result of local perturbations in the harbor or the effect of a local tsunamigenic submarine landslide. The four countries of Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that encircle the GOE seek to expand intensively their marine infrastructure, tourism, and population. The present study aims to warn the stakeholders around the GOE about the inevitable tsunamis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1493
Number of pages11
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


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