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EarthquakesDo we need seismic design in Bahrain?

Dr. Faisal M. Falih

Tectonic activities
A fold occurs when one or a stack of originally flat and planar surfaces, such as sedimentary strata , are bent or curved as a result of permanent deformation. A fault is a planar fracture or discontinuity in a volume of rock which may range in length from less than a meter to many hundreds of kilometers , across which there has been significant displacement along the fractures as a result of earth movement. The presence of such faults indicates that, at some time in the past, movements took place along them. A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot magma, volcanic ash and gases to escape from the magma chamber below the surface.

Plate tectonics theory

Plate tectonics theory visualizes the earth as consisting of a viscous, molten magma core with a number of lower-density rock plates floating on it. The exposed surfaces of the plates form the continents and the bottoms of the oceans. The crust of the earth is composed of many tectonic plates, and most of the major earthquakes occur at the plate boundaries. As time goes by, the plates move relative to each other, breaking apart in some areas and jamming together in others. Geodesy, the science of measuring the Earth's shape and positions on it, lets us measure plate motions directly using GPS, the Global Positioning System.

Tectonic Plates of the earth

Tectonic Plate Interactions

Divergent boundaries are areas where plates move away from each other, forming either mid-oceanic ridges or rift valleys. Convergent boundaries are areas where plates move toward each other and collide. These are also known as compressional or destructive boundaries. Transform boundaries occur when two plates grind past each other with only limited convergent or divergent activity

List of earthquakes in the region

Saudi Arabia
In January 11 1941, earthquake of M6.25 took place east of Jizan near Abu Arish. In October 17 1965, earthquake of M5.5 took place east of Abu Arish near Saudi Yemeni border. Gulf of Aqaba is an area where large damaging earthquakes occur quite regularly. The last major event was the 1995 Haql earthquake in the Gulf of Aqaba (M7.3) which caused significant damage on both sides of the Gulf and was felt hundreds of kilometers away. Earthquakes of M6 are common along the spreading axis of the Red Sea but generally they are not felt onshore and appear to pose little risk to infrastructure. On 19 May, 2009, 19 earthquakes of M4.0 or greater took place in the volcanic area of Harrat Lunayyir to the north of Yanbu, including a M5.4 event that caused minor damage to structures in the town of Al Ays (40 km to the SE). The maximum actual dip-slip offset on the fault in the hard rock in the nearby hills was about 90 cm.

In 13 December 1982, earthquake of M6.2 took place in Dhamar (depth 7 Km & epicenter 14.7N and 44.2E) resulted in 2,500 deaths and injured 15000 people and destroyed about 1,500 settlements. In November 22, 1991,earthquake took place in the Al-Udain and Hazm Al-Udain (Ibb), of M4.5 & epicenter 13.9N, 44.1E. Preliminary surveys indicate that 7,150 buildings were damaged and 1,578 were destroyed. However, the reinforced concrete structures in the epicentral area suffered no structural damage indicating the high vulnerability of traditional buildings, especially those constructed on slopes without proper foundation. Many of small earthquakes of magnitude less than M4.2 occurred on the period (1995-2012) highly felt by most of peoples.

Earthquakes in Iran( 21st century )

Date Time Epicenter Magnitude Fatalities Coordinates Name

June 22, 2002

02:58:21 Qazvin



Bou'in35408.4N4855 2002 Zahra 58.8E earthquake

December 01:56:52 Bam 26, 2003


At least 30,000[9]

29014.4N5820 2003 Bam 13.2E earthquake

May 28, 2004

12:38:46 Mzandar 6.3[8] n

At least 35[8]

361612N5134 2004 Mzandarn 30E earthquake

February 22, 2005

02:25:22 Zarand


At least 602[7]

304427.6N565 2005 Zarand 237.2E earthquake

November 10:22:19 Qeshm 27, 2005



26472.4N5550 2005 Qeshm 49.2E earthquake

Date Time June 22, 02:58:21 2002 Decembe 01:56:52 r 26, 2003 May 28, 12:38:46 2004 February 02:25:22 22, 2005 Novembe 10:22:19 r 27, 2005 March 31, 01:17:01 2006 Sep 10, 11:00:34 2008 Aug 27, 2010 Dec 20, 2010 Jun 15, 2011 Aug 11, 2012 Apr 9, 2013

Epicenter Qazvin Bam

Magnitude 6.5[10] 6.6[9]

Mzandarn 6.3[8] Zarand Qeshm Borujerd Qeshm 6.4[6] 6.0[5] 6.1[4] 6.1 5.9

23:56:34 Damghan

22:12:01 Hosseinabad 6.5 01:05:30 Kahnooj 12:23:18 Tabriz 16:22:50 Bushehr 10:44:13 Khash, Iran 5.3 6.4 and 6.3 6.3 7.8

Apr 16, 2013

Coordinates Name 2002 Bou'in35 40 8.4 N 48 55 5 [2] Zahra 262 8.8E earthquake At least 29014.4N58201 2003 Bam [9] 30,000 3.2E earthquake 2004 36 16 12 N 51 34 3 [8] Mzandarn At least 35 0E earthquake At least 304427.6N5652 2005 Zarand [7] 602 37.2E earthquake 26472.4N55504 2005 Qeshm 13[5] 9.2E earthquake 333451.6N4847 2006 Borujerd 70[4] 38.4E earthquake 2008 Bandar 26 44 34.8 N 55 49 Abbas 7 40.8E earthquake 264434.8N5549 2010 Damghan 19 40.8E earthquake 2010 11 28.491N 59.117E Hosseinabad earthquake Kahnooj 2 27.976N 57.574E 2011 earthquake Tabriz 306 38.324N 46.759E 2012 earthquakes 30 (early 2013 Bushehr 28.50 N 51.59 E estimate) earthquake 2013 Sistan 1 (Nonand residential area, due to 28.06N 62.08E Baluchestan earthquake landslide)


NOAA is : National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration

USGS-Seismic Hazard-Iran-Iraq & Gulf region-16-04-2013

Conclusions and Recommendations

1. All available scientific data shows that Bahrain lies in a low-risk zone, so there is little chance of a major earthquake to occur. 2. It is recommended to establish a Program of Assessment of Earthquake Risk in Bahrain by collecting information for historical and instrumental seismicity in Bahrain, in the Arabian Gulf and in neighboring countries. 3. It is recommended to acquire as soon as possible portable seismographs to carry out a survey of ground vibrations in different locations in Bahrain aiming at choosing permanent seismological stations.

4- After recommendation 3 as above is accomplished, then it is recommended to establish Bahrain Seismological Network (BSN) consisting of a number of Remote Sensing Permanent Stations with one Central Data Acquisition System (CDAS) and a communication link through a satellite hub. 5- The main aims of the recommended BSN as in 4 above is monitoring and analysis of earthquakes at the Arabian Gulf region, studying Hazard and Risk Assessment in Bahrain in PGA terms and to study any future seismic requirements for design of buildings in Bahrain (if necessary).

Thank you