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1759 CE Baalbek and Safed Quakes

30 Oct. and 25 Nov. 1759 CE

by Jefferson Williams









Introduction & Summary

Two strong earthquakes struck on 30 October and 25 November of 1759 CE both of which were followed by a series of aftershocks. The earthquakes caused much damage and many deaths in Lebanon, Syria, and northern Palestine, produced rock falls and landslides, created fissures, and generated tsunamis on the Mediterranean coast and the Sea of Galilee. The first shock in October caused extensive damage in Safed. The historical core was severely damaged with over 1500 fatalities (Katz and Crouvi, 2007). Much of the damage in Safed was due to earthquake induced landslides. The second apparently larger shock occurred further to the north. According to Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989), the magnitude estimate for the October earthquake is MS = ~6.6 and the magnitude estimate for the November earthquake is MS = ~ 7.4. These are in rough agreement with the mean magnitude estimates of Daeron et. al. (2005). Based on paleoseismic trenching, geomorphological surveys, and a report from the French Consul in Saida of a 80 km. or longer fissure near Baalbek, Daeron et. al. (2005) proposed that the 1759 Baalbek earthquakes were caused by a rupture on the Rachaiya Fault in October followed by a rupture on the Serghaya fault in November. They estimated (2σ) magnitudes of 6.4-7.3 and 7.0-8.0 for the October and November earthquakes respectively.

There appears to be corroborating paleoseismic evidence at Bet Zeyda for the 30 October Safed Quake and in the Tekieh Trenches in Syria and the Faqaa Trench in Lebanon for the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake. Marco et al (2014) may have observed tsunamogenic evidence for one of these earthquakes at the Taninim Creek Dam site although the dating for the observed flame structures at this site is not well constrained.

Ellenblum et al. (1998) observed ~0.5 m of displacement of an Ottoman Mosque at the Tel Ateret site (aka Vadum Iacob) which may have occurred during the October Quake.

There are numerous sources describing the effects of these two earthquakes.

Notes

Check refs from Daeron et al (2005)
The seismic sequence of 1759 affected roughly the same region (Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989). The smaller 30 October shock ruined Safed, Qunaitra, and many villages nearby, killed 2000 people, and triggered a seismic wave in Lake Tiberias (Ben-Menahem, 1979). The second, larger shock on 25 November destroyed all villages in the Beqaa. Baalbek was ruined. Three of the last nine columns of the Jupiter temple (Ben-Menahem, 1991) and three columns of the Bacchus temple collapsed. Safed, Ras Baalbek, and Damascus were damaged, and the earthquake was felt as far as Egypt and Anatolia, 1100 km away.
Check any repeated Ben-Menahem assertions.

Textual Evidence

Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage and Chronology Reports from Textual Sources n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Letter from the French Consulate in Saida (Sidon) French
Biography

An anonymous letter from the French consul's office in Saida (Sidon) described the earthquake and an earth fissure near Baalbek which probably locates the fault break for the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake.

Christian Dec. 1759 CE Saida (Sidon)
Account

A two part letter written in late December 1759 CE and a bit later from a French Consular official in Saida (Sidon) provided an extensive description of seismic effects from the two earthquakes. The first earthquake struck at 345 am on 30 Oct. 1759 CE. It was followed by continuing aftershocks until a second stronger and longer quake struck on 25 November. The two earthquakes ruined the city of Saida (Sidon) with all houses partially or fully destroyed. The Khan was extremely damaged particulalrly on the the sunset and midday side. Because the city became uninhabitable people left the city to live in tents. As of 28 Dec. 1759 CE or a bit later, the writer reports that there was never a 24 hour stretch without aftershocks. Aftershocks were reported throughout Syria. Outside of Saida (Sidon), Nablus and Safed were said to be completely ruined as was the case with Baalbek. Damascus was 75% ruined and Acre slightly less damaged than Saida (Sidon). Several villages were damaged in the mountains and the writer said that it was assumed that more than thirty thousand people died in Syria. A large fissure opened up in the earth on the Baalbek side and it is said that these cracks extend more than 20 leagues (~80 km.). Beirut, Rame (Ramle?), Jerusalem and Jane (Jenin?) all felt the earthquake but were less damaged.

The report from the French Consul in Saida spoke of what is approximated as a ~6 m wide ~80 km. long earth fissure on the eastern Baalbek side of the Beqaa Valley. This (albeit second hand) observation agrees with geomorphological observations by Daeron (2005) and Daeron et al (2005) that less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault (both on the eastern Baalebek side) were caused by the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake. This further suggests that the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake was of significant Magnitude since extended tectonic ruptures tend to be a result of large M 7.0+ earthquakes. Older more weathered fault scarplets observed by Daeron (2005) and Daeron et al (2005) on the Yammouneh fault [west side of the Beqaa Valley] were presumed to be due to one of the 1202 CE earthquakes.

Archbishop of Saida Boutros Jalfaq Arabic ?
Biography
Christian Melkite December 1759 CE Sidon
Account

An extensive account of the earthquakes of 1759 CE is to be found in a letter written in December 1759 by Boutros Jalfaq (aka Basile Jelghaf?) the Archbishop of Saida (Sidon). The letter dates the earthquakes to 30 Oct. and 25 Nov. 1759 CE and contains an extensive list of seismic effects, some of which may be co-mingled, as well as locations where there was damage or fatalities. The 30 Oct. 1759 CE earthquake is said to have been particularly severe in Safed where 2000 were reported dead. Curiously, the area surrounding Safed was said to be unscathed indicating that a Ridge effect may have been at play in Safed during this earthquake. Numerous aftershocks and people sleeping in open spaces around their towns and villages is also described after this earthquake. The 25 Nov. 1759 CE earthquake was described as more violent than the October one and the ensuing description of seismic effects are probably mostly due to this second earthquake. Damascus suffered severe destruction with several hundred dead. There were collapses and deaths in Baalbek and Ras-Baalbek. Some structures in the Baalbek Temple Complex were damaged. Deaths were reported in the village of Hasbyaa at the foot of Mount Hermon and nearby Beit-Jin was particularly hard hit on its southeastern slope where a fire broke out. The fire was said to have "fallen" on the village which is located 1 km. from a Quaternary volcanic crater. The Monastery of the Holy Savior near Sidon suffered damage and the nearby Convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame was ruined. 18 people were reported dead in the surrounding Maronite and Druze villages. In the Greek village of Qoutuli (near the monastery), two people died. Five people died in Saida (Sidon), one died in Deir-el-Qamar, and 55 people died in Kfar-Hatta. The seraglio and some churches were also damaged in Deir-el-Qamar. In Mukhtara, a few people died, the Sheikh's Place was destroyed, and rocks fractured in the mountains above the town. There were further reports of churches being damaged in Jorin and Berti. A dust cloud is said to have emerged after the earthquake and the source of Maasser-el-Chouf dried up. Churches and houses belonging to the monastery in the country of Hesroumom (?), north of Beirut were said to be unscathed. There was also a curious report of a massive hailstone in Qana, Lebanon.

Petition from Saida (Sidon) Arabic 5 Dec. 1759 CE Saida (Sidon) Ayalon (2014:94) reports that after the earthquakes, a petition dated to 5 December 1759 was sent from Saida (Sidon) to Istanbul, asking for tax reductions for that year and the next. The petition was approved six weeks later.
Patrick Russell English
Biography

Patrick Russell was a Scottish surgeon and naturalist. In 1759 CE, he was working as a physician at the British factory at Aleppo. He wrote about the earthquakes in two letters to his brother, Alexander Russell who, in turn, had the letters published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Kitto, 1841:lxxxix).

Christian 2 Dec. 1759 CE & 29 March 1760 CE Aleppo
Account

Patrick Russell, who was both a physician and a naturalist/scientist, wrote a detailed contemporaneous account of both earthquakes in two letters. The first longer letter was written about 5 ½ weeks after the 30 Oct. Safed Quake and almost two weeks after the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake. The extract from the second letter was much shorter and written almost 4 months after the first. Russell provided detailed descriptions of the nature and duration of the seismic shocks he experienced in Aleppo.

The first shock he described was on the morning of 10 June 1759 CE. It was, he said, slight and forgettable. At about 4 am on 30 Oct. 1759 CE, he experienced a severe shock - the most violent he had ever felt. It lasted, he said, for more than a minute but did no damage in Aleppo. 10 minutes later an aftershock arrived - the tremulous motion was less violent, and did not last above fifteen seconds. These shocks were caused by the Safed Quake with a more distant epicenter.

At about 730 pm on the night of the 25th of November 1759 CE, the Baalbek Quake struck Aleppo. Russell said that the motion, at first, was gently tremulous, increasing by degrees, till the vibrations became more distinct, and, at the same time, so strong, as to shake the walls of the houses with considerable violence. Then, the motion became more gentle and fluctuated between strong and gentle several times throughout the shock which, he said, lasted about two minutes. About 8 minutes later, he experienced a slight shock which lasted only a few seconds. The next morning at ~415 am, there was another shock, not nearly as strong as the first shock, which lasted somewhat less than a minute. At 9 pm on the 26th, another shock arrived. It lasted a few seconds and the motion appeared very deep and undulatory rather than tremulous. Russell reports that 4-5 additional slighter shocks were felt after midnight on the 25th but he was not sensible to them until he felt a short pulsatory shock on the morning of the 28th. Then at 2pm on the 28th, he felt another pretty smart shock, lasting about forty seconds. In the evening on 5 Dec., Russell felt a shock which was pretty strong, but lasted not above twenty seconds. People around Russell felt even more shocks. As he put it, others either felt or imagined several slight vibrations every day. In Russell's second letter written at the end of March, he said that after 7 Dec., there were several other shocks in December, and a few very slight ones in January : since which time, all has been quiet.

Russell reported that damage in Aleppo was limited - excepting in a very few old walls, the city bears no fresh marks of ruin; none of the oldest minarets have suffered. He updated this assessment in his second letter written at the end of March 1760 CE - Excepting a few old houses, none of the buildings in Aleppo were actually thrown down; but the walls of a considerable number of houses have been rent.

Before he finished his first letter on 7 Dec. 1759 CE, Russell received reports of how other cities in the region had fared. Russell's account is separated below by earthquake.

30 Oct. 1759 CE Safed Earthquake

Letters from Damascus stated that the 30 Oct. earthquake and successive shocks had done considerable damage to Damascus. Daily accounts arrived about damage in Tripoli, Sidon, Acre, and all along the Syrian coast. Russell found many of the accounts exaggerated and inaccurate so he concluded that we only knew in in general, that Damascus, Acri [Acre], and Seidon [Sidon], have suffered injury from the earthquake, though less than was at first given out. Although Russell reported destruction in Safed as being due to the Nov. 25 Earthquake, this was a mistake due to the nature of communication at that time. Safed was totally destroyed, together with the greater part of the inhabitants on 30 Oct. 1759 CE.

25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Earthquake

Russell reported that in Antioch many houses have been thrown down, and some few people killed. Summarizing a letter written in Damascus on 28 Nov. which arrived in Aleppo on 7 Dec., Russell stated that one-third of Damascus was thrown down and unknown numbers of people died in the ruins. Survivors fled to the fields and were still there three days later. Relief efforts were reported as limited to non-existent. Another account from Damascus said that 20,000 people died but Russell was skeptical of the number. Tripoli suffered more than Aleppo. Three minarets, and two or three houses, were thrown down, while the walls of numbers of the houses were rent. The Franks, and many of the natives, ... deserted the city, and remain[ed] in the fields. At Sidon, a great part of the Frank kane [khan ?] was over­thrown, and some of the Europeans narrowly escaped with their lives. Acre and Latakia suffered little, besides rents in some of the walls.

The London Chronicle 1760 English
Background

The London Chronicle was introduced in 1756 CE as a thrice weekly evening newspaper. A typical issue was 8 pages long.

December 1760 CE London The London Chronicle contains a brief mention of a dreadful earthquake which had affected Damascus.
La Gazette de France 1760 French
Background

La Gazette de France was the first weekly magazine published in France. Its first edition was published on 30 May 1631 CE . It was discontinued in 1915 CE (wikipedia).

March 1760 CE Paris
Account

In 1760 CE, La Gazette de France reported on the earthquakes of 1759 CE twice in Issues 9 and 10. In Issue 9 (1 March 1760 CE), a report from Marseilles on 22 Feb. 1760 which was sourced from letters from Constantinople dated at the beginning of January 1760 CE stated that a great earthquake was experienced in the Levant. Safed was overthrown as wells as Antioch, Damascus, Tiberias and Jaffa. Tripoli, Seyde [Sidon], and Saint-Jean d'Acre were badly damaged. Several houses were knocked down there, and others sunk several feet. In Issue 10 (8 March 1760 CE), a report from Paris on 8 March 1760 which was sourced from letters from various places in Syria, spoke of repeated earthquakes which destroyed most of the towns in the region. The first earthquake struck at 345 am on 30 Oct. 1759 CE and the second earthquake struck at 715 pm on 25 November 1759 CE. Aftershocks were so numerous that they cannot be counted. It was reported that Tripoli in Syria is no more than a heap of ruins, as are Saphet (Safed), Napouloufe (Nablus?), Damascus, several other cities, and a multitude of Towns and Villages. Near Baalbek, a fissure several fathoms (a few meters) wide and 20 leagues (~ 80 km.) long was observed. This fissure report is almost identical to the Account by the French consul in Saida (Sidon). Survivors were reported to be living in tents in the countryside.

Ottoman Work Orders in Damascus Turkish ? 1760 CE Istanbul
Account

Ayalon (2014:96-99) reports that Ottoman work orders compiled in 1760 CE for rebuilding efforts in Damascus listed no fewer than 430 structures that needed full or partial repair among them the Umayyad, Selimiye, and Süleymaniye Mosques, smaller Mosques, Madrasas, Soup Kitchens, unspecified buildings, walls, gates, and domes, and the Muhyi al-Din al- ‘Arabi (Ibn ‘Arabi) tomb.

al-Budayri Arabic
Biography

Ahmed al-Budayyri was a barber and a scholar who lived in Damascus in the 18th century. His chronicle The Daily Events of Damascus Syria (Hawadit Dimashq ash-Sham al-yawmiyya) covered years of his lifetime - from 1741-1762 CE.

Muslim 1762 CE Damascus
Account

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - trying to find the text

Mikha’il Burayk Arabic
Biography

Historians of the Ottoman Empire provide the following bio of Mikha’il Burayk

From the dates of Ta’rih al-Sham, M.B.’s best known work and the only extant source on his life, one can conclude that he was born before 1132/1720 in Damascus and died there sometime after 1195/1782. Unfortunately telling very little about his life in this work, M.B. introduces himself as a priest (huri) of the Damascus-based Antiochian patriarchate (al-Batrakiyah al-Antakiyah) of the Greek Orthodox Church (Kanisah al-Rum al-Urtuduks), who was educated in church schools in Damascus. On 26 Jumada II 1154/8 September 1741, he was appointed as a deacon (shammas) by the archbishop. Ten days later, he was ordained as a priest (qissis) and within two weeks was permitted to hear confessions. In 1163/1750, during the archbishop’s stay in Russia, M.B. was entrusted with overseeing his residence and the operation of the city’s Orthodox cathedral. When the archbishop returned, Burayk was given the titles of priest (huri) and brutubabas (Greek, protopapas), the highest rank within the priesthood (al-kahanah). At the same time, he was charged with preaching at the Bab al-Muluki church. In 1182/1768, he was put in charge of the monastery (dayr) at Saydnaya, one of the most important monasteries in Syria. He served in this position for only a year before resigning due to overwork.
Historians of the Ottoman Empire described his book Ta'rikh al-Sham as follows:
Using both the Christian (masihi) and hijri calendars, M.B. lists events organized chronologically and focuses on Damascus and its hinterland.
...
Another Damascene chronicler, who is presumed to be Christian but whose identity remains uncertain, picked up where M.B. left off and compiled a chronicle of the years 1192/1782 to 1257/1841.

Greek Orthodox Christian ~1782 CE Damascus
Account

In Ayalon (2014:61)'s paraphrase of Mikha’il Burayk's (1982:78-80) earthquake narrative, a powerful earthquake was described as striking Damascus three hours before sunrise on 30 Oct. 1759 CE. The earthquake led to the destruction of houses, parts of the Umayyad Mosque, as well as other Mosques in Damascus. A month later (the exact date was not specified in the paraphrased re-telling) a “strong and frightening earthquake” hit Damascus late in the evening. It was reported that “walls were torn down, foundations weakened, minarets collapsed, and the Umayyad mosque with its minarets, domes and baths was destroyed.” Many other buildings were also destroyed among them the Greek Orthodox Church. Fires broke out in many quarters and, in the aftermath, city residents slept in gardens surrounding the city.

de Volney French
Biography

de Volney was born in France in 1757 CE. He studied classical languages, was involved in the politics of his day, and wrote a number of books including a book about a multi year trip to Syria. He died in 1820 ( wikipedia).

Atheist 1787 CE France
Account

de Volney included a brief passage about an earthquake in 1759 CE in a book written about his travels to the region after the earthquakes struck. He reports that it is said that more than 20,000 people died in the valley of Baalbek due to the earthquake and he indicated that some structural damage remained unrepaired. He also reported that 3 months of aftershocks drove many in Lebanon to live in tents. He did not differentiate between the 30 Oct. Safed Quake and the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake.

Giovanni Mariti Italian
Biography

Giovanni Mariti (1736-1806 CE) was an Italian traveler, scientist and historian.

1787 CE possibly Florence Giovanni Mariti wrote a brief passage in a travelogue where he said that strong earthquakes caused immense damage in Syria in 1759 CE.
John Bramsen French
Biography

John Bramsen lived from 1761-1831 CE.

1818 CE John Bramsen wrote a short passage stating that Acre suffered greatly due to an earthquake in 1759 CE and when he visited the place in 1814 CE, one could still see remains of the destruction.
Burton and Drake (1872) English
Biography

Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was a noted soldier, explorer, linguist, ethnologist, and controversialist. He mastered numerous eastern languages, made a pilgrimage to Mecca in disguise, translated The Arabian Nights into English, headed an expedition that discovered Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, and wrote over 80 books (burtonia.org). Unexplored Syria by Burton and Drake was published in 1872.

1872 CE
Account

Burton and Drake (1872) reproduced a letter written by Isabel Burton in 1870 CE and a notice written by J.D. Crace in The Builder which state that the Keystone in the soffit of the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek slipped during an earthquake in 1759 and three columns in the peristyle of the Temple of Jupiter also fell during an earthquake in the same year. Presumably the earthquake would be the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake.

Other Authors
Text (with hotlink) Original Language Biographical Info Religion Date of Composition Location Composed Notes
Damage and Chronology Reports from Textual Sources

Timing of Shocks

´

Duration of initial shock
Duration Reporting from Source Notes
long time Egypt al-Baghdadi
long enough to read the the Surat al-Kafirun - about 45 seconds Damascus Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi This probably refers to the initial shock
about one hour Hemat al-Baghdadi This probably refers to continuing shocks.
long enough to read the Surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern' (Surat Al-Kahf - ~33.25 minutes) Damascus al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama This probably refers to continuing shocks. al-Baghdadi's Letter from Damascus said it both last[ed] for some time and one of us said that it lasted long enough to read the Surat of the Koran entitled 'The Cavern'. Abu Shama says that for an hour the ground was like the sea and the initial violence of the earthquake abated in the time it takes to read the Sura of The Cave (Surat Al-Kahf - ~33.25 minutes) but the shocks continued for days
Spoke of earthquakes (plural) but did not discuss duration various locations Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius This may refer to continuing shocks.
Notes: Ibn al-Dawadari says the earthquake spread over the world in a single hour. As-Suyuti, writing very late and dependent on earlier sources, wrote that the first shock is said to have lasted but a short time, but after that it continued for several days.

All timings
Source Reporting from Description
Geoffrey of Donjon Acre? one earthquake a little before first light 20 May
Philipe du Plessis County of Tripoli earthquakes (plural). 1st earthquake struck at dawn on 20 May. Timing of later shocks unspecified.
al-Baghdadi Cairo long duration shock early in the morning on 20 May which consisted of three violent shocks. Further short duration weak shocks around midday.
al-Baghdadi - Letter from Hemat Hemat long duration shock in the early morning on 20 May. time of second shock not specified - it was shorter but stronger. Also reports two more earthquakes on 21 May at ~12 pm (felt by all including those sleeping) and ~ 3pm.
al-Baghdadi - Letter from Damascus Damascus long duration shock at the break of dawn on 20 May. Shocks felt in the daytime and nighttime on the following four days
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi Damascus long duration shock at dawn/daybreak on 20 May followed by aftershocks which, depending on the translation, lasted until the next morning or included a weak shock the next morning
Abu Shama Damascus time not specified . described as a long duration shock and notes that the ground was like the sea for an hour. says that shocks continued for days.
Chronicle of Ernoul ? time not specified - mentions earthquakes (plural)
History of Heraclius possibly in the West time not specified - mentions earthquakes (plural)

Seismic Effects

´

Partial List of Seismic Effects
Effect Sources Notes
unlocated tsunami al-Baghdadi
tsunami in Cyprus Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari, Ibn Munkala location in text by Ibn al-Dawadari suggests the tsunami struck Cyprus
landslide in the Lebanon Mountains al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari
walls of Tyre destroyed or damaged Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Ibn al-Athir, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius, Abu'l-Fida
Nablus destroyed al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi just says that it reached Nablus
Damage to the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn al-Dawadari

Locations

All Locations

Locations
Location Sources Notes
Egypt al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi
Upper Egypt Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti, al-Baghdadi By mentioning Qus, al-Baghdadi mentions Upper Egypt
Qus al-Baghdadi
Baniyan in Egypt Abu Shama
Damietta al-Baghdadi
Alexandria al-Baghdadi
Syria al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti
Fortress at Hamah (Abu Qubyas) al-Baghdadi
Hamah al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari al-Baghdadi calls Hama Hemat.
Homs Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Barin al-Baghdadi
Baalbek al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Mountains outside Baalbek or, less likely, Mt Lebanon al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Damascus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Aleppo Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Paneas al-Baghdadi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari
Hunayn al-Dawadari
Safet al-Baghdadi
Tebnin al-Baghdadi
Nablus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Bar Hebraeus, al-Dawadari
Beth Rhomaye Bar Hebraeus
Beit Jan1 al-Baghdadi
Hauran al-Baghdadi
Village near Busra Ibn al-Athir
Syrian Coast al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti
Acre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebreus, al-Dawadari, Annales de Terre Sainte
Tyre Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Chronicle of Ernoul, Marsilio Zorzi, History of Heraclius, Bar Hebraeus, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Annales de Terre Sainte
Beirut Chronicle of Ernoul
Gibelet (Byblos) Annales de Terre Sainte
Tripolis Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Bar Hebraeus, Annales de Terre Sainte
Arches [`Arqa] Geoffrey of Donjon, Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Annales de Terre Sainte Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi specifies 'Araqa
Krak [Hisn al-'Akrad] Geoffrey of Donjon, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi
Margat [Marqab] Geoffrey of Donjon
Arsum [Arima]1 Philipe du Plessis
Chastel Blanc (Burj Safitha) and/or Safith Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre, al-Baghdadi
Irka al-Baghdadi
Antioch Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon said Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent.
Cyprus al-Baghdadi, Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala
Jazira Ibn al-Athir, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Dawadari, al-Wardi, as-Suyuti
Iraq Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti Ibn al-Athir, probably writing from Mosul, says slight damage and no homes destroyed
Mosul Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil
Armenia Geoffrey of Donjon, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti Geoffrey of Donjon said Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent. as-Suyuti said it was felt
Azerbijan Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu Shama, al-Dawadari, as-Suyuti as-Suyuti said it was felt
Byzantium Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi, Ibn Munkala, as-Suyuti
Akhlat Geoffrey of Donjon, al-Baghdadi, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Dawadari probably just felt. Ambraseys (2009) lists an earthquake in Ahlat in 1208 CE based on reports by Ibn al-Athir and Abu Shama.
Sicily Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Wasil, Abu'l-Fida, al-Wardi
Ceuta, Morocco Ibn Wasil
Ajam al-Dawadari
Footnotes - Location discussion

1 Ambraseys and Melville (1988:187) note

Two possibilities present themselves for the identification of Bait Jann out of the three noted by de Sacy in 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi], p. 446, both being known to the Crusaders (see Dussaud, 1927, pp. 7, 391). The first is 10 km west of Safad and the second on the road between Damascus and Baniyas, see Ibn Jubair, p. 300, who described it as situated in between the mountains. The context in which Bait Jann is mentioned by 'Abd al-Latif [aka al-Baghdadi] allows either alternative to be acceptable, but the second is preferred here because the location was better known as marking the boundary between Muslims and Franks before the conquests of Saladin (cf. Deschamps, 1939, p. 146).
2 Mayer (1972:304 n.1) notes
There is no known Crusader castle which was called Arsum in either Arabic or Latin. One might suggest that arsum is a copyist's mistake for mediaeval Arsur, Arabic Arsuf, south of Cesarea, but this explanation would not be very illuminating, for this part of Philip's letter is evidently concerned with places in the county of Tripole much farther north.

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light

Locations mentioned as unaffected or damage was light
Location Sources Notes
Tortosa Philipe du Plessis, Robert of Auxerre
Antioch Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon says that Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent
Armenia Geoffrey of Donjon Geoffrey of Donjon says that Antioch and parts of Armenia were shaken by this earthquake, but did not suffer damage to the same lamentable extent
Jerusalem al-Baghdadi (Letter from Damascus) al-Baghdadi (Letter from Damascus) says It is said that Jerusalem ... has suffered nothing.
Iraq Ibn al-Athir Ibn al-Athir (probably contemporaneously reporting from Mosul) says in Iraq, the damage was slight - no houses were destroyed
The East Bar Hebraeus Bar Hebraeus says it was not violent in the East

Intensity Table of Guidoboni and Comastri (2005)
Intensity Table of Ambraseys and Mellville (1988)

Letter from the French Consulate in Saida (Sidon)

Excerpts

English

THE SEYDE EARTHQUAKE IN 1759

Seyde, ancient Sidon, present-day Saïda, was for the French, during the 18th century, the main "partner" of central and southern Syria, Aleppo being the main one in Northern Syria. This small town, which was then the seat of a Turkish Pashalik, owed a real prosperity to the trade in colons (?), for whom it was the most important market. The export of this article gave a real activity to its port. This traffic was almost exclusively in the hands of French traders, who represented trading houses of Marseilles and lived there, as in the other ports (?) of the Levant and Barbary, organized into national bodies, under the protection of the King's Consul, housed all together in a "Khan", annually appointing two "deputies of the nation" and dependent for the administration of their port (?) to the Secretary of State for the Navy, the King's Ambassador to Constantinople, and the Chamber of Commerce of Marseill

An earthquake caused serious damage to Seyde in 1759. The Consulate of France reported it to the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles in the following terms. The obvious exaggeration gives one a strong impression how the earthquakes and their consequences affected the mind of this brave official.

F. Ch. R.

From the gardens of Seyde, December 28, 1769.

GENTLEMEN,

Since October 30, a furious shock at 3:45 in the morning made us fear a fate like the one in Lisbon [JW: the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake]. We feel the continuing tremors day and night. There was another one on November 25, which was stronger and longer than the first. The two earthquakes ruined the city of Seyde, such that I doubt she can recover, given the poverty of the country and the unhelpful and unwilling government. There is no house that has not been completely or partially destroyed. The Khan was extremely damaged, especially on the sunset and midday side; it is uninhabitable here and in many other places. My house is in the same condition; all rooms were damaged. Several houses had to be demolished; some were damaged. We all left town on October 30 to take refuge in the countryside, under tents that the Pasha loaned me. We spent 48 days there and, obliged to return the tents to the Pasha, we did with recognition of about two hundred piastres. We had huts built, which were very costly, and in which we will have to winter, albeit with much inconvenience and risk due to the plague, which is now in Acre and environs, and will surely soon come here.



I have already had the honor of pointing out to you that the earthquakes still continue. We haven't had a 24 hour stretch without tremors and today we felt some. These tremors are felt throughout Syria. You know from the other partners(?) what happened there. I will confine myself to telling you that, in this department, which seems to have suffered the most, Acre was damaged a bit less than Seyde. Baruth (Beirut), Rame, Jerusalem and Jane felt it, but with less damage. Safed and Nablus have been completely ruined and overthrown. Damascus is three quarters destroyed and famous Baalbek is completely destroyed. Several villages were damaged in the mountains. Large fissures opened up in the earth on the Baalbek side and it is said that these cracks extend more than 20 leagues (~80 km.). Finally, it is assumed that more than thirty thousand people died in Syria.

Thank God none of us got hurt. But, we all had a beautiful scare. Happy to still be here! We believe that the dryness of the earth contributed to these shocks; we sigh after the rain. The rains are heavy, with continuous thunderstorms and for four days, the earth won't stop shaking. We are in even more disorder than the earth. All our cabins are flooded. One cabin longer than a square plank is slightly less flooded and is all the shelter I have for myself, my wife, my four children, including one on the breast, and my servants. One cannot imagine a more unfortunate situation.
[Historical archives of the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles, A.A. 340].

French

LE TREMBLEMENT DE TERRE DE SEYDE EN 1759

Seyde, l'ancienne Sidon, l'actuelle Saïda, fut pour les Français, pendant le XVIII° siècle, la principale «Échelle» de la Syrie centrale et méridionale, Alep étant la principale de la Syrie septentrionale. La petite ville, qui était alors le siège d'un Pachalik turc, devait une véritable prospérité au commerce des colons, dont elle était le marché le plus important. L'exportation de cet article donnait une réelle activité à son port. Ce trafic était à peu près exclusivement entre les mains de négociants français, qui représentaient des maisons de commerce de Marseille et vivaient là, comme dans les autres Échelles du Levant et de Barbarie, organisés en corps de «nation», sous la protection d'un Consul du Roi, logés tous ensemble dans un «Khan», nommant annuellement deux « députés de la nation » et dépendant, pour l'administration de leur Échelle, du Secrétaire d'Etat de la Marine, de l'Ambassadeur du Roi à Constantinople et de la Chambre du Commerce de Marseill

Un tremblement de terre ayant causé de graves dommages à Seyde en 1759, le Consul de France en rendit compte à la Chambre du Commerce de Marseille dans les termes suivants, dont l'évidente exagération montre du moins la forte impression que les secousses sismiques et leurs conséquences avaient produite sur l'esprit de ce brave fonctionnaire.

F. Ch. R.

« Des jardins de Seyde, le 28 décembre 1769.

« MESSIEURS,

« Depuis le 30 octobre, qu'une furieuse secousse à trois heures trois quarts du matin nous fit craindre un sort pareil à celui de Lisbonne, nous n'avons cessé jour et nuit de ressentir jusqu'à ce jour des tremblements de terre continuels. 11 y en eut un le 25 novembre, qui a été et plus fort et plus long encore que le premier. Les deux secousses ont ruiné la ville de Seyde, de façon que je doute qu'elle s'en puisse relever, vu la misère du pays et le gouvernement peu disposé à la diminuer. Il n'y a point de maison qui n'ait été écroulée en tout ou en partie. Le Khan a été extrêmement maltraité, surtout du côté du couchant et du midi; il est inhabitable clans cette partie et dans beaucoup d'autres. Ma maison est dans le même état ; tous les appartements ont été endommagés. Il a fallu en démolir plusieurs ; quelques-uns ont été abîmés Nous avons tous abandonné la ville dès le 30 octobre pour nous réfugier à la campagne, sous des tentes que le Pacha m'avait fait prêter. Nous y avons passé quarantehuit jours et, ayant été obligés de rendre les tentes au Pacha, ce que nous avons fait avec une reconnaissance d'environ deux cents piastres, nous nous sommes fait construire des cabanes, qui nous coûtent incroyablement et sous lesquelles il nous faudra hiverner, quoiqu'avec beaucoup d'incommodité pour le lieu et pour la saison et beaucoup de risque du côté de la peste, qui vdent de se manifester à Acre et dans son voisinage, et qui infailliblement sera bientôt ici. »



« J'ai déjà eu l'honneur de vous marquer que les tremblements de terre continuent toujours. Nous n'en avons pas encore été exempts pendant vingt-quatre heures et aujourd'hui encore nous en aA7ons ressenti des secousses. Ces tremblements sont généraux par toute la Syrie. Vous saurez des autres Échelles ce qui y est arrivé. Je me bornerai à vous dire que, dans ce département, qui paraît avoir été la partie la plus souffrante, Acre a été à peu près comme Seyde, mais un peu moins mal. Baruth (Beyrouth), Rame, Jérusalem et Jane l'ont ressenti, mais av-ec moins de dommage. Safed et Napoulouse ont été entièrement ruinées et renversées. Damas l'est aux trois quarts et le fameux Balbek est entièrement détruit. Plusieurs villages ont été abîmés dans les montagnes. Il s'est fait des ouvertures considérables à la terre du côté de Balbek et l'on dit que ces abîmes durent plus de 20 lieues. Enfin l'on suppose qu'il a péri jusqu'à ce jouiplus de trente mille personnes dans la Syrie.

Grâces à Dieu, personne des nôtres n'a pris mal. Mais nous avons tous eu une belle peur. Heureux encore de pouvoir l'avoir ! Nous croyions que la sécheresse de la terre contribuait à ces ébranlements ; nous soupirions après la pluie. Il en fait de très abondantes, avec des orages continuels, depuis quatre jours, sans que la terre en soit plus stable ; et nous n'en sommes que plus en désordre : toutes nos cabanes sont inondées ; une seule, grande de la longueur d'une planche en carré, l'est un peu moins et fait tout l'abri que j'ai pour moi, nia femme, quatre enfants dont un à la mamelle, et pour mes domestiques. On ne peut voir de situation plus fâcheuse. »

[Archives historiques de la Chambre de Commerce de Marseille, A. A. 340].

Original Document
Chronology
30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
3:45 am 30 Oct. 1759 CE October 30, a furious shock at 3:45 in the morning none
25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Nov. 1759 CE There was another one on November 25 none
Combined Seismic Effects Locations

More Damaged Less Damaged Tectonic Implications
Earth fissure in Baalbek

Daeron et al (2005:529-530) presented surface faulting evidence that suggested younger less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault [both closer to Baalbek] were associated with one of the 1759 CE fault breaks while older more weathered faults scarplets on the Yammouneh fault [farther from Baalbek] were associated with one of the the 1202 CE earthquakes. At the time of publication, they were only able to access a single line from the French Consul's report which was somewhat ambiguously worded. Nonetheless, they were able to ascertain from the sentence that the ~80 km. earth fissure was probably reported on the eastern Baalbek side of the Beqaa Valley in agreement with their scarplet observations. This contradicted previous speculation by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE fault break was on the Yammouneh fault on the west side of the Beqaa Valley. The fuller account from the French Consul's office of Saida presented here shows that the earth fissure was observed on the east side of the Beqaa Valley (i.e., the Baalbek side).

Online Versions and Further Reading Notes
Daeron (2005) and Daeron et al (2005)

Daeron et al (2005:530) suggested that the wording [in the account by the French consul in Saida] suggests that this rupture took place on one side of the Beqaa, and the mention of Baalbek points to the east side, thus to the Serghaya fault. Daeron et al (2005:529-530) presented surface faulting evidence that suggested younger less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault [both closer to Baalbek] were associated with one of the 1759 CE fault breaks while older more weathered faults scarplets on the Yammouneh fault [farther from Baalbek] were associated with one of the the 1202 CE earthquakes.

Excerpts

English translated from Daeron (2005) by Google and Williams

It is claimed that [...] from the side of Balbec in tirans (?) towards the plain the earth has opened more than three fathoms [~6 m] and that this opening extends more than twenty leagues [~80 km.]. (National Archives, Paris, B1/1032/1959-60)

English from Daeron (2005)

One claims that [ . . . ] on the Baalbek side (or possibly: near Baalbek) pulling toward the plain the earth cracked open by more than [~6 m] and that this crack extends for over twenty leagues (~80 km) (Archives Nationales, Paris, B1/1032/1959-60).

English from a paraphrase/quasi-translation in Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)

It is said that as a result of the earthquake, a series of ground ruptures many yards wide were formed running continuously along the Bekaa valley, to the north of Baalbek as far as opposite Tripoli and to the southwest to the plain of Satern, a total distance of about 100 km.

French from Daeron (2005)

On pretend que [...] du cote de Balbec en tirans vers la plaine la terre s’est entrouverte de plus de trois toises et que cette ouverture dure plus de vingt lieues. (Archives Nationales, Paris, B1/1032/1959-60)

Online Versions and Further Reading

Letter written by Archbishop of Saida Boutros Jalfaq

Background and Biography

Background and Biography
Excerpts

In Cahier 3 of Annales Seismologiques de l'Observatoire de Ksara, Lebanon (1956) there is a handwritten account of the 1759 earthquakes titled "Note d’histoire seismique; les seismes de 1759 au Liban". The account describes a letter dated December 1759 CE written by the Archbishop of Saida (Sidon) Boutros Jalfaq. This letter dates and describes effects due to the 1759 CE earthquakes
English

Figures
  • Question Marks (?) indicate doubts about the word transcribed
After describing in Cahier 1 of Year 1956, the earthquake of March 16, 1956, which devastated the Lebanese canton of Chouf, east of Saida, it seemed worthwhile to collect the testimony provided by a witness of the earthquakes of the year 1759 in the same region: where you will see that the two disasters present more than one analogy.

The witness is the Archbishop of Saida Boutros Jalfaq, whose letter, dated December 1759, has just been discovered in the archives of the Monastery of the Holy Savior, located in the center of this country of Chouf, by Ro. (?) J. Euthyme SKAF, who published it in the "Messages" menouels(?) of the Monastery ("Ol-Riqalat"?). Here is the summary of the seismic events mentioned in the letter.

A first earthquake occurred on October 30, 1759 (the author writes: "October 19", because it follows the Julian calendar), which struck especially in Safed in Galilee. He is suisr (?) of numerous aftershocks in the following days, and troubles of the population such that they deserted the towns and villages and fled to the fields. A new, more violent shock occurred on November 25 (the 14th of the old style) and aggravated the damage. Due (?) days later, in December, the author gives the following assessment of the disaster, the precision of which varies according to the proximity of the location:
  • Safad, 2000 dead, but the surrounding countryside is unscathed
  • Damascus, severe destruction and at least several hundred dead
  • Baalbek and Ras-Baalbek there are two ruins and dead, and the monuments of Baalbek are damaged
  • Near Mount Hermon, where deaths are reported in Hasbaya and especially in the village of Beit-Jinn (on the southeastern slope), where a violent fire broke out.
  • The Monastery of the Holy Savior suffered in the guards, while the nearby Convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame is in ruins.
  • There are 18 dead in the surrounding Maronite and Druze villages, 2 dead in Qoutuli (Greek village dependent on the monastery), 5 in Saida, one in Deir-el-Qamar, finally 55 dead in the Metouali village of Kfar-Hatta and a few in Mukhtara, where the Sheikh's palace was destroyed.
  • There are reports of guards on the churches of Jorin, Berti, Deir-el-Qumar, as well as in the seraglio of this town.
  • The other churches and houses belonging to the monastery in the country of Hesroumom (?), north of Beirut, are unscathed.
All the villages listed above, include those most affected by the earthquake of March 16, 1956, in particular that of Kfar-Hatta where 13 people died. It seems however that the shaking of 1956 was stronger, in this country, than in 1759, because it caused many more than two guards at the monastery of the Saint Savior, while the neighboring convent of Notre Dame was once again rendered uninhabitable.

Tarmi (?) the various phenomena having accompanied the earthquakes, the letter mentions the following:

  • a haze of dust rose from the ground, which had been the result of an abnormally dry spell this year.
  • the source of Maasser-el-Chouf has dried up
  • in the Jebel Hihs above Mukhtara the rocks have cracked
  • fire "fell" on the village of Beit-Jinn (we know today that this village is 1 km. from a quaternary volcanic crater)
  • finally, near Qana in the land of Syr (?) (not to be confused with Qana of Galilee), a hailstone was collected the size of a jar, whose melted water filled dense jugs!
All these data complement, on a local scale, those collected in the SIEBERG Catalog (Erdbeben ... im ostlichen Mittelmeergebiet. Frocher, IENA 1932), who mentions, on the same dates of October 30 and November 25, seriously destructive earthquakes, of which he locates the epicenters respectively near SAFAD and near BAALBEK, while adding that a large number of less strong shocks accompanied them until January 1760, with probable displacement of the epicenter towards the North, until the country of Antioch.

We can remember that this country of Chouf seems more exposed than other parts of Lebanon to feel both Palestinian and Syrian earthquakes.

French Transcription

Figures Apres avoir decrit, dans notre Cahier 1 de Annee 1956, le Seisme du 16 mars 1956, qui a devaste le canton libanois de Chouf, a l' Est de Saida, il nons a parn interessant de recuellir les details fournis par un temoin des seismes de l'an 1759 dans la meme region: ou verra que les deux catastrophes presentent plus d'une analogie.

Le teoin est l'Archeveque de Saida Boutros Jalfaq, dont une lettre, datee de decembre 1759, vient d'etre decouvertes dans les archives du Monastere du Saint Sauveur, situe au centre de ce pays du Chouf, par le Ro. J. Euthyme SKAF, qui l'a publiee dans les "Messages" menouels du Monastere ("Ol-Riqalat"). Voice le resume des faito sismiques que la lettre mentione.

Un premier seisme survinet le 30 octobre 1759 (l'auter ecrit: "19 octobre", parce qu il suit le calendriet julien), qui sevit surtout a Safed en Galilee. Il est suisr de nombreuses repliques les jours suivants, et le troulle de la population est tel qi 'elle deserte villes et villages et se butit des fuittes dans leo champs. Inis men nouvelle secousse plus violente survient le 25 novembre (le 14 de l'ancien style) et agrrave les de' gats. Due de jours apres, en decembre, l'auter donne de la catastrphe le bilan suivant, dont las precision varie suivant las proncimite des lieux:
  • Safad, 2000 morts, mais la campagne environmante est indemne
  • Damas, graves destructions et plusieurs centaines de mortes au moins
  • Baalbek et a Ras-Baalbek il y a deo ruines et des morts, et les monumento de Baalbek sont endommages
  • Anpres du Mont Hermon, ou signale des morts a Hasbaya et surtout au village de Beit-Jinn (sur le versant Sud-Est), ou un violent incendie s'est declare.
  • Le Monastere du Saint Sauveur a subi dans legardes, kandis que le Couvent voisin des Soeurs de Notre-Dame est en ruines.
  • On compte 18 morts dans les villages maronites et druzes environmants, 2 morts a Qoutuli (village grec dependant du monastere), 5 a Saida, un a Deir-el-Qamar, enfin 55 morts dans le village metouali de Kfar-Hatta et quelques uns a Mukhtara, ou le palais du cheikh est destruit.
  • On signale des legardes ons eglises de Jorin, Berti, Deir-el-Qumar, ausos qu' au serail de ce bourg.
  • Les autres eglises et maisons relevant du monastere dans le pays du Hesroumom, au Nord de Beyrouth, sont indemnes.
Tous les villages enumeres si-desous dont aujourd'hui parisi les plus atteints du seismes du 16 mars 1956, notarmment celui de Kfar-Hatta ou l'on a compte 13 morts . Il semble cependant que les recourses de 1956 aients ete plus fortes, dans ce pays, que celles de 1759, cor elles ont cause bien plus de deux legardes au monastere du Saint Sauveur, tandis que le couvent voioin de Notre Dame a ete, de nouveau, rendu inhabitable.

Tarmi les phenomenes divers ayant accompagne les seismes, la lettre fait mention des suivants:

  • une brume de poussiere s'est degagee de la terre, qui avait sult cette annee une secheresse anormale.
  • la source de Maasser-el-Chouf s'est tarie
  • dans le jebel Hihs au dessus de Mukhtara les roches se sont crevassees
  • le feu serait "tombe" our le village de Beit-Jinn (nous savons aujourd'hui que ce village est a 1 km. d'un craters de volcan quaternaire)
  • enfin pres de Qana au pays de Syr (ne pas confonfre aves Qana de Galilee), l'on aurant recueilli un grelon de la grosseur d'une jarre, dont l'eau de fusion avait rempli dense gargoulettes!
Toutes ces dounees completent, a l'echelle locale, celles qu'a recueillies le Catalogue de SIEBERG (Erdeberben ... im aeoilichen Mittelmeergebiet. Frocher, IENA 1932), qui mentionne, aux memes dates des 30 octobre et 25 novembre, des seismes gravement destructeurs, dont il localise les epicentres respectivement pres de SAFAD et pres de BAALBEK, tout en ajoutant qu'un grand nombre de secousses moins fortes les ont accompagnes jusques en janvier 1760, aves deplacement probable de l'epicentre vers le Nord, juoqu'an pays d'Antioche.

Nous pouvons au reteuir que ce pays du Chouf semble plus expose que d'Autres parties du Liban a ressentir a la fois les seismis palestinieens et syriens.

Original hand written report in French

Figures

Chronology
30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
30 Oct. 1759 CE (Gregorian Calendar) 19 Oct. 1759 (Julian Calendar) none
  • Date converted from the Julian to Gregorian Calendar using fourmilab
  • The Gregorian Calendar reform took place in October 1582 CE but not everybody got the message
25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Nov. 1759 CE (Gregorian Calendar) 14 Nov. 1759 (Julian Calendar) none
  • Date converted from the Julian to Gregorian Calendar using fourmilab
  • The Gregorian Calendar reform took place in October 1582 CE but not everybody got the message
Seismic Effects

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake 25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake Undifferentiated and/or combined but probably mostly due to the 25 Nov. Earthquake Locations

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake Undifferentiated and/or combined Unaffected Questionable Online Versions and Further Reading

Petition from Saida (Sidon)

Excerpts

Ayalon (2014:94) reports that after the earthquakes, a petition dated 15 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1173 (5 December 1759) was sent from Saida (Sidon) to Istanbul, asking for tax reductions for that year and the next. The petition was approved six weeks later (BOA, C. DH., 11626).

Original Document


Figure 4.2. A petition sent from Sayda (also Sidon, in present-day Lebanon) to Istanbul requesting relief after the earthquakes of 1759–60. The text of the petition appears at the top; the rest includes the petitioners’ original signatures and seals. Source: BOA, C. DH. 11626. Courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office Archives, Istanbul. from Ayalon (2014)

Online Versions and Further Reading

Letters written by Dr. Patrick Russell

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Patrick Russell was a Scottish surgeon and naturalist. In 1759 CE, he was working as a physician at the British factory at Aleppo. He wrote about the earthquakes in two letters to his brother, Alexander Russellc who, in turn, had the letters published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Kitto, 1841:lxxxix).

Footnotes

c The author of The Natural History of Aleppo.' Dr. A. Russell had been many years physician to the factory at Aleppo, from which office he retired in 1753, and was succeeded by his brother, Dr. P. Russell, the writer of this account (Kitto, 1841:lxxxix note c).

Excerpts
Letter written by Patrick Russell in Aleppo on 2 Dec. and 7 Dec. 1759 CE

L11. An Account of the late Earthquakes in Syria : In a Letter from Dr. Patrick Russell, to his Brother, Alexander Russell, M . D. F. R. S

Aleppo, Dec. 2, 1759.
Read Feb. 21, 1760

As I recollect nothing in the way of business, which I have not already wrote you about; and as I know not when this letter may get away, I shall, in the mean time, give you some account of the earthquakes here, which have thrown the people into a terrible consternation.

The spring of this year was unusually dry, the summer temperate, and the autumn, though the rains came on towards the end of September, might be be esteemed much drier than in other years. The Aleppo river has been very low all the summer; and its bed, from the first to the second mill, is, I believe, even now still without water. This phenomenon I, at first, thought remarkable; but have been informed, that the scarcity of water complained of, during all the summer, was occasioned by driving the river into some rice-grounds lately formed towards Antab.

On the morning of the 10th of June, a slight shock of an earthquake was felt here, and, as usual, soon forgot; having, so far as we know, been felt in no other place, in any degree of severity.

October the 30th, about four in the morning, we had a pretty severe shock (indeed the most violent I had ever felt), which lasted somewhat more than a minute, but did no damage in Aleppo. In about ten minutes after this first, there was a second shock; but the tremulous motion was less violent, and did not last above fifteen seconds. It had rained a little in the preceding evening; and when the earthquake happened, the west wind blew fresh, the sky was cloudy, and it lightened.

This earthquake occasioned little alarm amongst the natives, and even with the Europeans was the topic only for a day. But the subject was soon revived, by letters from Damascus, where the same shock felt by us at Aleppo, and several other successive ones, had done considerable damage. From this time, we had daily accounts of earthquakes from Damascus, Tripoly, Seidon, Acri, and all along the coast of Syria; but so exaggerated in some circumstances, and so inaccurate in all, that we only knew in in general, that Damascus, Acri, and Seidon, have suffered injury from the earthquake, though less than was at first given out.

Such stories circulating among the people, rendered them more susceptible of alarm; and an occasion soon offered, where they feared, that the worst of their apprehensions were to be realized.

This happened the 25th of November. The morning had been serene, some clouds arose after noon, and the evening was remarkably hazy, with little or no wind. About half an hour after seven at night, the earthquake came on : the motion, at first, was gently tremulous, increasing by degrees, till the vibrations became more distinct, and, at the same time, so strong, as to shake the walls of the houses with considerable violence; they again became more gentle, and thus changed alternately several times during the shock, which lasted in all about two minutes. In about eight minutes after this was over, a slight shock, of a few seconds duration, succeeded. The thermometer was at 50, and the barometer stood at 28-9, the mercury suffering no alteration. There was little or no wind in the night, the sky clear, excepting some heavy clouds, that hung about the moon. At a quarter after four next morning, we had another shock, which lasted somewhat less than a minute, and was hardly so strong as that of the preceding night. The night of the 26th was rainy and cloudy. At nine o’clock we had a slight shock, of a few seconds. The motion here appeared to be very deep, and was rather undulatory than tremulous. The 27th, cloudy and rainy. From midnight of the 25th, besides these now mentioned, four or five slighter shocks were felt but I myself was sensible of none till the morning of the 28th, when we had a short pulsatory shock. The same day, at two o’clock, we had a pretty smart shock, lasting about forty seconds. From this time, I was sensible of no more, though others either felt or imagined several slight vibrations every day.

However violent this earthquake was, or rather, by the frightened people of Aleppo, imagined to be, it is certain, that, excepting in a very few old walls, the city bears no fresh marks of ruin; none of the oldest minarets have suffered. Its effects at Antioch were more formidable ; many houses have been thrown down, and some few people killed.

December 7 h.

The earthquake of the evening of the 25th has proved fatal to Damascus ; one-third of the city was thrown down, and of the people, numbers yet unknown perished in the ruins. The greater part of the surviving inhabitants fled to the fields, where they still continued, being hourly alarmed by slighter shocks, which deterred them from re-entering the city, or attempting the relief of such as might yet be saved, by clearing away the rubbish. Such was the purport of a letter I read this day, which was wrote from Damascus three days after the earthquake. Other accounts we have at this place, make the loss of the inhabitants amounts to 20,000; but, in circumstances of such general horror and confusion, little accuracy can be expected, and the eastern disposition to exaggeration reigns, at present, universally.

Tripoly has differed rather more than Aleppo; three minorets, and two or three houses, were thrown down, while the walls of numbers of the houses were rent. The Franks, and many of the natives, have deserted the city, and remain in the fields.

At Seidon, great part of the Frank kane was over­thrown, and some of the Europeans narrowly escaped with their lives. Acri and Latakea have suffered little, besides rents in some of the walls: but Saphet (eight hours from Acri) was totally destroyed, together with the greater part of the inhabitants.

Such are the most authentic accounts we have from abroad; how much they contribute to calm the minds of the people at Aleppo, you may easily imagine. Since the afternoon of the 28th, several slight shocks have been every day felt, and many more formed by the power of imagination: for my own part, I have since that time perceived none, excepting one the evening of the 5th, which was pretty strong, but lasted not above twenty seconds. The weather, for these two days, has been gloomy and rainy; a change which people are willing to flatter themselves is favourable. It often lightens in the night, and thunder is heard at a great distance.

Extract from a Letter written by Patrick Russell in Aleppo on 29 March 1760 CE

L11. Extract from another Letter of Dr. Patrick Russell, to Dr. Alexander Russell, dated at Aleppo, 29 March 1760

In my last, of the 7th of December, I gave you a full account of the earthquakes, which have occasioned an universal panic all over Syria. There were several other shocks in December, and a few very slight ones in January : since which time, all has been quiet.

Excepting a few old houses, none of the buildings in Aleppo were actually thrown down; but the walls of a considerable number of houses have been rent.

We have had the wettest winter I ever saw in this country. The Coic has everywhere overflowed its banks, and is just now much higher than it has been known to rise for many years.

Original Document



Chronology
Foreshock (?) 10 June 1759 CEE

Slight shock on 10 June 1759 CE
Date Reference Corrections Notes
morning 10 June 1759 CE On the morning of the 10th of June none

Main shock and aftershock for 30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake and aftershock
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Main shock at ~4 am 30 Oct. 1759 CE October the 30th, about four in the morning 1759 AD none
Aftershock at ~410 am 30 Oct. 1759 CE In about ten minutes after this first, there was a second shock; but the tremulous motion was less violent, and did not last above fifteen seconds none

Main shock and aftershocks for 25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake

25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake and Aftershocks
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Main shock at ~730 pm 25 Nov. 1759 CE About half an hour after seven at night [on} the 25th of November 1759 AD none
Aftershock at ~740 pm 25 Nov. 1759 CE In about eight minutes after this [main shock] was over, a slight shock, of a few seconds duration, succeeded [on} the 25th of November 1759 AD none
Aftershock at ~415 am 26 Nov. 1759 CE At a quarter after four next morning, we had another shock, which lasted somewhat less than a minute, and was hardly so strong as that of the preceding night none
Aftershock at 900 pm 26 Nov. 1759 CE At nine o’clock we had a slight shock, of a few seconds none
Additional 4-5 Aftershocks after midnight 25 Nov. 1759 CE until the morning of 28 Nov. 1759 CE From midnight of the 25th, besides these now mentioned, four or five slighter shocks were felt but I myself was sensible of none till the morning of the 28th, when we had a short pulsatory shock none
Aftershock at ~2 pm on 28 Nov. 1759 CE The same day [28 Nov.], at two o’clock, we had a pretty smart shock, lasting about forty seconds none
Daily aftershocks after ~2 pm on 28 Nov. 1759 CE Since the afternoon of the 28th, several slight shocks have been every day felt none
Aftershock at evening 5 Dec. 1759 CE the evening of the 5th, which was pretty strong, but lasted not above twenty seconds none
Aftershocks in Dec. 1759 CE and Jan. 1760 CE There were several other shocks in December, and a few very slight ones in January : since which time, all has been quiet none

Seismic Effects

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Footnotes

* Although Russell reported the destruction of Safed on 25 Nov, Safed suffered destruction on 30 Oct. 1759 CE. The nature of communication at the time is likely what caused Patrick Russell to lump it in with the 25 Nov. Earthquake

25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake Locations

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Footnotes

* Although Russell reported the destruction of Safed on 25 Nov, Safed suffered destruction on 30 Oct. 1759 CE. The nature of communication at the time is likely what caused Patrick Russell to lump it in with the 25 Nov. Earthquake

25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake Online Versions and Further Reading

The London Chronicle 1760

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

The London Chronicle was introduced in 1756 CE as a thrice weekly evening newspaper. A typical issue was 8 pages long.

Excerpts
The London Chronicle December 1760

The London Chronicle or, Universal Evening Post Vol. VIII No. 615 from Tuesday, December 2, to Thursday, December 4, 1760

... Rome, Nov, 10. The Society for propagating Christian knowledge in foreign parts, have received advice from their Missionaries in Syria, that after the dreadful earthquake, the city of Damas was visited with the plague, which made great havoc; and that the neighboring country had been ruined by a hurricane.

Seismic Effects Locations mentioned Online Versions and Further Reading
References

The London Chronicle Volume 8 1760

The London Chronicle at Project Gutenberg - 1189-1486 CE

Ambraseys (2009) References

Anonymous (1760c), Correspondence, The London Chronicle, no. 501, pp. 249, 550, London.

La Gazette de France 1760

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

La Gazette de France was the first weekly magazine published in France. Its first edition was published on 30 May 1631 CE . It was discontinued in 1915 CE (wikipedia).

Excerpts

In 1760 CE, La Gazette de France reported on the earthquakes of 1759 CE twice in Issues 9 and 10. Both reports are shown below.
English from La Gazette de France 1760 CE - Issues 9 and 10



Gazette Issue No. 9, 1st March 1760 CE

... From Marseilles, February 22, 1760.

From letters from Constantinople dated the beginning of last month, we learn that a great earthquake has been experienced in the Levant. It not only overthrew the City of Safet as was first reported; but also Antioch, Damascus, Tiberias and Jaffa. Tripoli in Syria, Seyde [Sidon], and Saint-Jean d'Acre were badly damaged. Several houses were knocked down there, and others have sunk several feet.



Gazette Issue No. 10, 8 March 1760 CE

... From Paris, 8 March 1760.

...Letters arrived recently from various places of Syria confirming the news of the repeated earthquakes which have destroyed most of the towns of this region. The two main tremors were felt last October 30, at three-quarters past three in the morning, and November 25, at a quarter past seven at night. The others were so numerous that they cannot be counted. Tripoli in Syria is no more than a heap of ruins, as are Saphet, Napouloufe (Nablus?), Damascus, several other cities, and a multitude of Towns and Villages. It has been added, near Baalbek, in the earth, a slit was observed several fathoms wide and twenty leagues long. Those who escaped the ruin of their homes are reduced to living in the countryside in tents. They have to defend themselves from ferocious beasts, which inhabit the mountains and uncultivated places with which this country is surrounded. For furcrok of misfortunes [On top of this ?], a plague is ravaging the City of Acre.

French from La Gazette de France 1760 CE - Issues 9 and 10



No. 9 Gazette, du Ir Mars 1760

... De Marseille, le 22 Février 1760.

Les lettres de Constantinople datées du commencement du mois dernier, apprennent qu'on a essuyé dans le Levant un grand tremblement de terre. Il a non-seulement renversé la Ville de Safet comme on l'avoit d'abord appris; mais encore celles d'Antioche, de Damas, de Tiberiade et de Jaffa. Celles de Tripoli en Syrie, de Seyde et de Saint-Jean d'Acre, en ont été fort endommagées. Plusieurs maisons y ont été renversées, et d'autres se sont enfoncées do plusieurs pieds.



No. 10 Gazette, du 8 Mars 1760

... De Paris, le 8 Mari 1760.

...Les lettres arrivée depuis peu de divers lieux de la Syrie confirment la nouvelle des tremblemens de terre réitérés qui ont détruit la plupart des Villee de cette Contrée. Les deux principales secousses se sont fait sentir le 30 Octobre dernier , à trois heures trois quarts du matin, et le 25 Novembre, à sepr heures et un quart du solr. Les autres ont été en si grand nombre qu'on ne peut les compter. Tripoli de Syrie n'est plus qu'un monceau de ruines, de méme que Saphet, Napoulouse, Damas, plusîeurs autres Villes, et une multitude de Bourgs et de Villages. Il s'est fait, à ce qu'on ajoute, près de Bulbec, dans la terre, une fente de plusieurs toises de largeur et de vingt lieues de longueur. Ceux qui one échappé à la ruine de leurs maisons sont réduits à demeurer dans les campagnes sous des tentes. Ils ont à se défendre des bêtes féroces, qui accourent en foule des montagnes et des lieux incultes dont ce Pays est environné. Pour furcrok de malheurs, on est menacé de la peste qui commence à faire du ravage dans la Ville d'Acre.

French from La Gazette de France 1760 CE - Issue 9 - embedded



French from La Gazette de France 1760 CE - Issue 10 - embedded



Chronology
30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
345 am 30 Oct. 1759 CE last October 30, at three-quarters past three in the morning none
25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
715 pm 25 Nov. 1759 CE November 25, at a quarter past seven at night none
Seismic Effects

Issue No. 9, 1st March 1760 CE Issue No. 10, 8 March 1760 CE Locations

Issue No. 9, 1st March 1760 CE Issue No. 10, 8 March 1760 CE Online Versions and Further Reading

Ottoman Work Orders in Damascus

Excerpts

Characterization of the Ottoman Work Orders by Ayalon (2014)

Ayalon (2014:96-97) reports the following on Ottoman rebuilding efforts in Damascus
Soon after the chain of earthquakes in Damascus ended, the state launched an ambitious plan to rebuild the city. The project was remarkable both in its scope and in the amount of documentation it generated. The records on it include the first 40 pages of a 900-page register as well as various other loose documents, individual orders, and petitions sent from Damascus to Istanbul and preserved in the Ottoman archives.
Ayalon (2014:98) described the 40 page work file as follows
The forty-page file mentioned previously comprises a set of work instructions issued to officials who were present in or sent to Damascus for the purpose. The three most frequently mentioned buildings are the Umayyad, Selimiye, and Süleymaniye mosques. At least one of the three is featured in each of the work orders copied into the file, and many entries discuss the need to renovate all three, or other, smaller, mosques.121 In addition to mosques, the Ottomans planned the reconstruction of madrasas and soup kitchens, both institutions that served Muslims only and were usually located in complexes that also included a mosque and sometimes a hospital.122 ...

Appended to the work orders was a list of no fewer than 430 structures that needed full or partial repair, to be financed by the Ottoman treasury.124
Footnotes

121 For entries that mention the three mosques, see BOA, MMD, 3160: 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14. For the Umayyad Mosque only, see 10, 13. For the Süleymaniye Mosque, see 13. For the Selimiye Mosque, see 7.

122 For religious schools, see ibid., 5, 8.

124 The list appears in BOA, MMD, 3160: 2–4, 6–7, 9–12. It contains 487 entries, but 57 of them are duplicates.

Ayalon (2014:99) provided some details of the requested work
The first of these is the Süleymaniye mosque. It has seventy-three entries: fifteen relating to the mosque itself; twenty-four to sections of the mosque or adjacent buildings, such as walls (divar), corridors (dehliz), gates (kapı), and domes (kubbe); two to religious schools; two to soup kitchens; and the rest to parts of unspecified buildings.125 Next are the Selimiye and its environs. Of eighty-seven structures, thirty were directly related to the mosque; seventeen to adjacent walls, gates, and domes; three to soup kitchens; six to the nearby Muhyi al-Din al- ‘Arabi (Ibn ‘Arabi) tomb; and the rest unspecified.126 The part of the register dealing with the Umayyad mosque and its surroundings contains 148 entries, of which 97 deal specifically with the mosque. Most of the rest probably relate to it as well, although this is not explicitly specified.127 On the whole, a sizable segment – possibly a majority – of the works to be carried out according to the register focused on mosques and structures related to them.
Footnotes

125 BOA, MMD, 3160: 2-3.

126 BOA, MMD, 3160: 3–4.

127 BOA, MMD, 3160: 10–13.

Original Document - a section from the Ottoman work orders


Figure 2.4. A section from the Ottoman work orders to rebuild Damascus after the 1759–60 earthquakes. Source: BOA, MMD 3160. Courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office Archives, Istanbul. from Ayalon (2014)

Seismic Effects

Partial List of Structures in Damascus slated for Repair Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

The Daily Events of Damascus Syria by Ahmed al-Budayri

Hawadit Dimashq ash-Sham al-yawmiyya min sanat 1154 ila sanat 1176 by Ahmed al-Budayyri

Aliases

Aliases Arabic
Ahmed al-Budayyri
Shihabaddin Ahmad Ibn Budayr
al-Budayyri
al-Budayri
Ahmad al-Budayri al-Hallaq
Shihab al-Din Ahmad Ibn Budayr al-Hallaq
Ibn Budayr
Background and Biography
Background and Biography

Ahmed al-Budayyri was a barber and a scholar who lived in Damascus in the 18th century. His chronicle The Daily Events of Damascus Syria (Hawadit Dimashq ash-Sham al-yawmiyya) covered years of his lifetime - from 1741-1762 CE.

Excerpts
Bits and pieces of translated excerpts in various texts

  • Ayalon (2014:93 n.112) noted that al-Budayri (224-225) reported that after the 1759 earthquakes in Damascus ‘Abdallah Pasha ordered a three day fast and invited everyone to participate in a mass prayer
  • Ayalon (2008:238 n. 56) notes that al-Dimashqi described the earthquake to have occurred at night between the 18th and 19th of October. See pp. 78-80. This may not be al-Budayri's book. The dates suggest the Julian Calendar for the 30 Oct. 1759 CE earthquake.
Abou-Karaki (1987) quotes Taher, probably Taher (1979), below. Some of these quotes may derive from al-Budayri.
In October, when no drop of rain had fallen so far..., a slight tremor was felt in Damascus followed by a second, then the earth shook violently,... The upper parts of almost all minarets of the mosques of Damascus fell,..., there was a lot of destruction and victims in Damascus and in the surrounding villages. The tremors followed one another... few trees remained standing. An epidemic broke out, the upper parts of the east and west minarets of the Umayyad Mosque fell. The tremors continued which caused the collapse of the eastern and northern walls of the eastern minaret the Umayyad mosque... around fifteen mosques are mentioned by name; the eastern wall of the Mosque "Al-MAZBOUR" cracked,..., last night, the earth shook in Safad, most of its inhabitants have perished ; a large part of Nablus was destroyed, and there were many casualties; a part of the tower of Acre fell into the Sea, Tiberias, Deir Hanna, the citadel of Al-Jandal, the country of Chouf and all the coastal cities, Sidon, Beirut, Tripoli, Latakia, Jaffa, Haifa, were affected, no villages in the Jabal-Druze were spared from the damage, the inhabitants of the coastal cities and the western zone took refuge in Damascus,..., then, on the evening of Monday, the 6th of the month Rabi II (Nov 25, 1759), the earthquake occurred. supreme, never known in the past,..., the eastern minaret we mentioned fell, on the side of the mosque, by destroying part of the 3 "Mihrabs", the majestic dome of the eagle fell as well as the entire northern part of the mosque, despite its well-built columns,...; there were a lot of victims this night in Damascus as well as in the villages of the surroundings in Tell there were victims; people have left Damascus and stayed 3 months in tents,..., the Umayyad mosque contains 3 minarets including the eastern called minaret of Isa (Jesus) son of Mary, peace be upon him..., the tremor of 30 OCT lasted 2 to 3 minutes,... that of 25 NOV lasted 4 minutes..., (TAHA)

Chronology
30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
nighttime 30 Oct. 1759 CE Ayalon (2008:238 n. 56) wrote that al-Dimashqi described the earthquake to have occurred at night between the 18th and 19th of October. See pp. 78-80 none
  • These dates are in the Julian Calendar
  • 18 Oct. 1759 CE in the Julian Calendar converts to 30 Oct. 1759 CE in the Gregorian Calendar (converted using fourmilab)
  • The Gregorian Calendar reform took place in October 1582 CE but not everybody got the message
25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
25 Nov. 1759 CE none
Seismic Effects

Locations

Online Versions and Further Reading

Ta'rikh al-Sham by Mikha’il Burayk

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Historians of the Ottoman Empire provide the following bio of Mikha’il Burayk

From the dates of Ta’rih al-Sham, M.B.’s best known work and the only extant source on his life, one can conclude that he was born before 1132/1720 in Damascus and died there sometime after 1195/1782. Unfortunately telling very little about his life in this work, M.B. introduces himself as a priest (huri) of the Damascus-based Antiochian patriarchate (al-Batrakiyah al-Antakiyah) of the Greek Orthodox Church (Kanisah al-Rum al-Urtuduks), who was educated in church schools in Damascus. On 26 Jumada II 1154/8 September 1741, he was appointed as a deacon (shammas) by the archbishop. Ten days later, he was ordained as a priest (qissis) and within two weeks was permitted to hear confessions. In 1163/1750, during the archbishop’s stay in Russia, M.B. was entrusted with overseeing his residence and the operation of the city’s Orthodox cathedral. When the archbishop returned, Burayk was given the titles of priest (huri) and brutubabas (Greek, protopapas), the highest rank within the priesthood (al-kahanah). At the same time, he was charged with preaching at the Bab al-Muluki church. In 1182/1768, he was put in charge of the monastery (dayr) at Saydnaya, one of the most important monasteries in Syria. He served in this position for only a year before resigning due to overwork.
Historians of the Ottoman Empire described his book Ta'rikh al-Sham as follows:
Using both the Christian (masihi) and hijri calendars, M.B. lists events organized chronologically and focuses on Damascus and its hinterland.
...
Another Damascene chronicler, who is presumed to be Christian but whose identity remains uncertain, picked up where M.B. left off and compiled a chronicle of the years 1192/1782 to 1257/1841.
...
Qustantin al-Basha al-Muh’allisi’s edition of Ta’rih al-Sham was published in 1930 with an introduction in French, notes, and bibliographic references. Basha’s edition was republished with additional notes and indices by Ahmad Sabanu in 1982. In addition to reprinting Basha’s original introduction as an appendix, Sabanu added six documents related to the affairs of the Greek Orthodox community in Syria within the context of the Ottoman Empire. A separate chronicle by an unknown author which picks up where M.B. left off and covers the next 60 years is sometimes mistakenly attributed to M.B. This chronicle was re-edited by Ahmad Sabunu who acknowledges that the author is unknown.

Excerpts
English Paraphrase from Ayalon (2014)

  • from Ayalon (2014:61)
  • paraphrase of the account in Mikha’il Burayk (1982:78-80)
It was three hours before sunrise on 19 October 1759, and Mikha’il Burayk, a Greek Orthodox resident of Damascus, was sleeping.1 Suddenly he woke up: The earth was shaking. In the morning, cries were heard all over the city as the damage of the nocturnal earthquake was discovered. Many houses were razed, and parts of the Umayyad and other mosques were damaged. That disaster turned out to be a prelude to another, more violent quake. The next month, late in the evening, a “strong and frightening earthquake” again hit the city. “Walls were torn down, foundations weakened, minarets collapsed, and the Umayyad mosque with its minarets, domes and baths was destroyed.” Numerous other buildings were ruined too, among them the Greek Church, and fires broke out in many quarters. In the next few days, city residents left in mass numbers and settled temporarily in gardens surrounding the city, where they set up huts as provisional lodging.2
Footnotes

1 Sections of this chapter are taken from my IJMES article, “Ottoman urban privacy.

2 Mikha’il Burayk, Ta’rikh al-sham (Damascus: Dar Qutayba, 1982), 78–80.

Chronology
30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
three hours before sunrise 30 Oct. 1759 CE (Gregorian Calendar) three hours before sunrise 19 Oct. 1759 (Julian Calendar) none
  • Date converted from the Julian to Gregorian Calendar using fourmilab
  • The Gregorian Calendar reform took place in October 1582 CE but not everybody got the message
25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake
Date Reference Corrections Notes
Nov. 1759 CE The next month, late in the evening none
Seismic Effects

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake 25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake Locations

30 Oct. 1759 CE Earthquake 25 Nov. 1759 CE Earthquake Online Versions and Further Reading
References

Braik, Mikha’il (1982), Ta’rikh al-Sham 1720–1782, Damascus, pp. 78–82.

Ayalon, Y. (2014). Natural Disasters and the Ottoman State. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Ayalon, Y. (2011). "OTTOMAN URBAN PRIVACY IN LIGHT OF DISASTER RECOVERY." International Journal of Middle East Studies 43(3): 513-528.

Information on Ta’rikh al-Sham from Historians of the Ottoman Empire website

Manuscripts

  1. Berlin, Staatsbibliotek zu Berlin, Pet. 188, fol. 1-48, [TBC], copied in 1840. (W. Ahlwardt, Verzeichniss der arabischen Handschriften der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, vol. IX (Berlin, 1897), p. 284, no. 9786.)
  2. Cairo, Taymuriyah, Ta’rih, 2213. [TBC].
Editions
  1. Tarih al-Sham (1720-1782) [Documents inédits pour servir à l’histoire du Patriarcat Melkite d’Antioche, vol. II], ed. Qustantin al-Basha al-Muh’allisi (Harisa, 1930).
  2. Ed. Ahmad Gassan Sabanu (Damascus, 1982).

Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte 1783–5 by Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

de Volney was born in France in 1757 CE. He studied classical languages, was involved in the politics of his day, and wrote a number of books including a book about a multi year trip to Syria. He died in 1820 ( wikipedia).

Excerpts
English from Volney (1787)

In 1759, there happened an [earthquake] that caused the greatest devastation: it is said that more than twenty thousand souls perished in the valley of Baalbek, and the damage there remains unrepaired. For three months, the aftershocks pestered the inhabitants of Lebanon, to the point that they abandoned their homes, and lived in tents.

French from Volney (1787)

En 1759, il en est arrivé un qui a câusé les plus grands ravages: on prétend qu'il tua dans la vallée de Balbek plus de vingt mille ames, dont la perte ne s'est point réparée. Pendant trois mois, ses secousses inquiéterent les habitans du Liban , au point qu'ils abandonnerent leurs maisons , & demeurerent sous des tentes.

French from Volney (1787) - embedded

  • Volume 1
  • see page 178-179 for a description of the earthquakes starting with En 1759, il en est arrivé un qui a câusé
  • from Volney (1787:178-179)
  • from archive.org


Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1759 CE 1759 none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Viaggio da Gerusaleme per le coste della Soria by Giovanni Mariti

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Giovanni Mariti (1736-1806 CE) was an Italian traveler, scientist and historian.

Excerpts
English from Mariti (1787)

Present state of the City of Seida.
CHAPTER VIII.

... Even nowadays, strong earthquakes are felt in those regions; and in 1759 there were some very strong ones that did immense damage, which if they had tall portcullis (?) buildings, would certainly have seemed much more vigorous and more terrible.

Italian from Mariti (1787)

Stato preſente della Città di Seida.
CAPITOLO VIII.

... Si sentono anche ai giorni nostri delle fiere scosse di terremoti in quelle rehioni; e nel 1759 ce ne furono di quelle fierissime che fecero anche dei danni immensi, che se trovati averssero gli alti edifizj saracineschi, cerramente sarebbero sembrati molto piu gagliardi, e terribili.

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1759 CE 1759 none
Seismic Effects Online Versions and Further Reading

Promenades d’un voyageur prussien by John Bramsen

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

John Bramsen lived from 1761-1831 CE.

Excerpts
English from Bramsen (1818)

Letter XXII

Departure for Saint-Jean-d'Acre. -- Residence with the British Consul. Description of the city. Climate. Said, - Consul of France. - Feast of St. Louis. inhabitants. Description of the place. - Christian doctor. —The harbour.

Saide, September 1814.

... The walls of the city (Acre)1 are crenellated: it must once have been strong enough, but its fortifications, as well as those of all the other cities of Syria, fall quickly in ruins. In 1759, this place suffered greatly due to an earthquake, and you can still see remarkable remains of the destruction.

Footnotes

1 This passage is is a section where the author described a port call in Acre

French from Bramsen (1818)

Lettre XXII

Départ pour Saint - Jean - d'Acre. -- Résidence chez le Consul britannique. Description de la ville. Climat. Saïde, - Consul de France. - Féte de Saint. Louis. Habitans. Description de la place . - Médecin chrétien. —Le port.

Saïde , septembre 1814.

...Les murailles de la ville sont crénelées : elle a dû être autrefois assez forte , mais ses fortifications, de même que celles de toutes les autres villes de Syrie , tombent rapidement en ruines. En 1759 , cette place eut beaucoup à souffrir d'un tremblement de terre , et l'on y voit encore des vestiges remarquables des ravages qu'il y fit .

Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1759 CE 1759 none
Seismic Effects Locations Online Versions and Further Reading

Unexplored Syria by Burton and Drake (1872)

Background and Biography

Background and Biography

Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was a noted soldier, explorer, linguist, ethnologist, and controversialist. He mastered numerous eastern languages, made a pilgrimage to Mecca in disguise, translated The Arabian Nights into English, headed an expedition that discovered Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, and wrote over 80 books (burtonia.org). Unexplored Syria by Burton and Drake was published in 1872.

Excerpts

A letter written by Isabel Burton in B'lúdán, near Damascus, on 20 Sept. 1870 CE was reproduced in Burton and Drake (1872:36-37). The letter mentions a keystone in the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek which slipped during one of the 1759 CE earthquakes (presumably the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake).
English from Burton and Drake (1872)

For some months past my husband has been making interest with Rashid Pasha, the Wali, or Governor-general of Syria, to take certain precautionary steps for the conservation of old Heliopolis. ... nothing has been done to arrest the fall of the celebrated keystone in the soffit, which began to slip about 1759; which falls lower with every slight earthquake ( we had one at 6.15 P.M. on June 24, 1870), and which, if left unsupported, will bring down with it the other five monoliths of the lintel and sides, thus destroying one of, if not the grandest of ancient entrances the world can show.

English from Burton and Drake (1872) - embedded



Burton and Drake (1872:96) also reproduced a notice from The Builder (undated by Burton and Drake) written by J.D. Crace (possibly this J.D. Crace) which states that three columns in the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek fell during an earthquake in 1759 CE (presumably the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake).
English from Burton and Drake (1872)

Those even who know Ba'albak only by pictures will remember that, occupying the most conspicuous place on the great platform, six gigantic columns, surmounted by an entablature, tower high above all others, and stand boldly out in deep golden contrast to the lilac, snow-streaked range of Lebanon. These six columns are all that remain of the fifty four which composed the peristyle of the Great Temple [Temple of Jupiter]. Three fell in 1759. The columns have a height of 75 feet, and a diameter of 7 feet 3 inches.

English from Burton and Drake (1872) - embedded



Chronology
Date Reference Corrections Notes
1759 CE 1759 CE none
Seismic Effects

Footnotes

1 Based on the discussion of fallen columns, the original writer is referring to the Temple of Jupiter.

Locations

Online Versions and Further Reading

Other Authors

THese earthquakes are extensively documented by numerous other authors and accounts. References listed below are primarily from Ambraseys (2009) and Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989).

References

Albini, P., Stucchi, M. (1992), ‘A document from the Archivo General de Simancas about the 1759 earthquake in Syria’, Proceedings of the Regional Workshop on Archaeoseismicity in the Mediterranean Region, Damascus, pp. 60–61.

Anonymous (1760a), ‘Lettre d’un negocient Francais’, Gazette de France, no. 9, pp. 1–4.

Anonymous (1760b), ‘Lettres de divers lieues de la Syrie’, Gazette de France, no. 10, pp. 118–120.

La Gazette de France 1759

La Gazette de France 1760

Anonymous (1760c), Correspondence, The London Chronicle, no. 501, pp. 249, 550, London.

Anonymous (1787), Viaggio da Gerusaleme per le coste della Soria 1767, vol. 1, Livorno, p. 114

Anonymous (1956), Note d’histoire seismique; les seismes de ´ 1759 au Liban, Ksara: Observatoire de Ksara

Bachiene W. A. (1766–75), Historische und geographische Beschreibung von Palastina, 7 volumes, Leipzig.

al- Bidiri, in Taher (1974)

Taher, M. A. (1974), ‘Traite de la fortification des demeures ´ contre l’horreur des seismes’, ´ Annales Islamologiques, 12, 131–159

Bramsen vid (1818), Promenades d’un voyageur prussien, vol. 1, Paris

Braik, Mikha’il (1982), Ta’rikh al-Sham 1720–1782, Damascus, pp. 78–82.

al-Budayyri, Ahmed, al-Hallaq, Hawadith Dimashq al-yawmiyah, ed. A. I. Abd al-Karim, Cairo, 1959, pp. 222–227, 233

Burton, R., Drake, C. F. (1872), Unexplored Syria, London

Burton, R., Drake, C. F. (1872), Unexplored Syria, London

Charles-Roux, C. (1928), Les echelles de Syrie et de Palestine au ´ XVIII-e siecle ` , pp. 209–211, Paris

Clouzot, E. (1914), ‘Une enquete seismologique au XVIII ´ siecle’, ` La Geographie ´ , 29, 1–22

Cousinery, M. (1760), ‘Sur un tremblement de terre en Syrie’, Hist. Acad. Royal Sci. 23, 4; also Coll. Academ., 12, 97, 1786

Dahmaan, M. A. (1948), ‘Les tremblements de terre de 1173/1759 a Damas et dans ses environs’, ` al-Mashriq, 42, 333–347.

Dahmaan, M. A. (1982), Fi rihab Dimashk, Damascus: Dar al-Fukr.

Dienner, C. (1886), Libanon, Grudlinien der physischen Geographie etc., Vienna: A. Holder, pp. 255–262

Donati, V. (1759), Giornale del viaggio fatto in Levante nell’anno 1759, MS Biblioteca Reale di Torino, varie 291, vol. 1, fols. 67–72.

F.Ch.R. (1927), ‘Le tremblement de terre de Syrie en 1759’, Revue de l'Histoire des Colonies Francaises 15, 591–594.

Findikli, Suleyman Efendi, Semdanizadeh, ¨ Mur ’it-Tevanli ¨ , BL MS f. 429a, modern Turkish text, ed. M. Aktepe, vol. 2A, p. 34, Istanbul, 1978

Golubovich, G. (1922), Biblioteca bio-bibliographica della Terra Santa e dell’Oriente Francescano, vol. 1, Florence, p. 175.

Guys, C. E. (1822), ‘Le tremblement de terre qui a bouleverse´ la Haute-Syrieen aout 1822’, ˆ Bull. Soc. Geogr ´ ., 1, 301–305.

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), 2 volumes, Erevan

Ibn al-Ghazzi (n.d.), Nahr al-dhahab fi ta’rikh Halab, 3:302, Aleppo

Kitto, J. (1844), History of Palestine and the Holy Land, vol. 1, London, pp. 89–90. - lots of excerpts starting on page lxxxix

Lemmens, H. J. (1898), ‘Al-zalazal fi Suriyah’, al-Mashriq, 1, 304–307, 337–342.

Maas, G. A. (1775), Historische Beschreibung von Palastina ¨ , vol. 4, p. 13.

Mariti, G. (1792), Travels through Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, vol. 1, Dublin, pp. 352–354.

al-Muradi, U., Silk al-durr, iii.83, in Damaan, 1982

Paulian, A. H. (1761), Dictionnaire de physique, vol. 3, Avignon, p. 341.

Rabbi Simha b. Yehosjua (1946), Travels, ed. A. Yaari, pp. 382–423.

Rabbi Yosef Sofer (1971), Iqrot Eretz Israel, ed. A. Yaari, Massada: Ramat-Gan, pp. 286–301.

Rafeq (1966, 227)

Rivkind, Y. (1928), Dapim Bodedim, Jerusalem, pp. 124–125.

Russell, P. (1760), ‘An account of the late earthquake in Syria’, Phil. Trans. 51, 529–534.

Skaf, A. (1975), ‘Fi zikra al-zalzala’, al-Rissala al-Muhallisiya, 24, 286–287.

Squire Col. (1820), Travels through Part of the Ancient Syria and Syria Salutaris, London: R. Walpole

Taher, M. A. (1974), ‘Traite de la fortification des demeures ´ contre l’horreur des seismes’, ´ Annales Islamologiques, 12, 131–159

Thiollet, D. (1977), La nation francaise de Tripoli au XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles, These, Universite de Paris V.

[al-‘Umari, Muhammad Amin, Manhal al-auliya (M), ed. Sa’id Diwahchi, Mosul, 1967.]

al-‘Umari, Yasin al-Khatib, Al-athar al-jaliya fi ’l-hawadith al-ardiya, MS, Iraq Academy, Baghdad; also BL Or. 6300.

Vasif, Ahmed, Mehasin al-asar ve hakaik al-ahbar, 4 volumes, MS, Hazine 1405, Topkapi Sarayi, Istanbul and ed. M. Ilgurel, Istanbul, 1978, also MS TY 5979, UIL, ¨ Istanbul.

Volney, C. F. (1787), Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte 1783–5, vol. 1, p. 304; vol. 2, pp. 187, 212, 238–247, 269–271. - ck also p 178

[Rabbi Simha b. Yehosjua (1946), Travels, ed. A. Yaari, pp. 382–423]

Yaari, A. (1946), Masaot Eretz-Israel, Tel-Aviv: Gazit, pp. 382–423.

Yaari, A. (1951), ‘The Safed earthquake of 1759’, Sinai, 28, 349–363.

Archaeoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tel Ateret aka Vadun Jacob possible ≥8
Schweppe et al (2021) estimated an Intensity of 7
Ottoman Mosque Earthquake

Ellenblum et al (1998:305) described archaeoseismic evidence from Mamluk and Ottoman mosques built on the site as follows:

In the northern part of the castle, we also unearthed a Muslim mosque whose northern wall is displaced sinistrally by 0.5 m. A mikhrab (the Muslim praying apse) is well preserved in the southern wall. According to the study of the pottery, the mosque was built, destroyed, and rebuilt at least twice: the initial structure was built in the Muslim period (12th century) and later rebuilt once or twice during the Turkish Ottoman period (1517-1917). The 0.5 m displacement is observed in the northern wall of the latest building phase . The repetitive building of this site might be due to earthquakes.
The latest rebuilding phase was not dated. Ellenblum et al (2015) suggested that the 30 October 1759 CE Safed Quake was responsible while Ellenblum et al (1998:305) and Marco et al (1997) entertained the possibility that the 1837 CE Safed Quake is also a possible candidate.

Baalbek probable 9 or 10 Drawings and descriptions before and after the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Earthquake indicate that, at a minimum, 3 columns of the peristyle of the Great Temple (aka the Temple of Jupiter) fell and the keystone of the soffit of the door of the lesser Temple dropped. Further damage, including to the 'Round Temple' is likely but not well-documented. Due to reports of continual decay, vandalism, stone-robbing, etc. to the Ruins of Baalbek during this time, it is difficult to identify all of the potential seismic damage.
Nimrod Fortress probable
Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tel Ateret aka Vadun Jacob



Baalbek



Nimrod Fortress



Nimrod Fortress arch deformation - add my photos of seismic effects in addition to published photos. perhaps include the video.

Kamai and Hatzor (2007)

Marco, S. (2008). "Recognition of earthquake-related damage in archaeological sites: Examples from the Dead Sea fault zone." Tectonophysics 453(1-4): 148-156.

some info on destroyed synagogues

Landslide Evidence

1 PGA to Intensity conversions use Wald et al (1999).
Location (with hotlink) Status Minimum PGA (g) Likely PGA (g) Likely Intensity1 Comments
Umm el-Qanatir unlikely to possible 0.36 0.5 8.2 Landslide most likely occurred during the Holy Desert Quake of the Sabbatical Year Earthquakes. Archeoseismic evidence suggests Intensity ≥ 8.
Location (with hotlink) Status Minimum PGA (g) Likely PGA (g) Likely Intensity1 Comments
Umm el-Qanatir



Zefat landslides

Katz, O. and O. Crouvi (2007). "The geotechnical effects of long human habitation (>2000 years): Earthquake induced landslide hazard in the city of Zefat, northern Israel." Engineering Geology 95(34): 57-78.

Katz and Crouvi (2007)

Two earthquakes struck the northern part of Israel in October and November 1759 (Amiran et al., 1994). The magnitude of the first one was estimated as MS 6.6 (Ambraseys and Barazanghi, 1989) with an estimated epicenter on the Jordan fault (southern extent of Rachaya fault) north of the Sea of Galilee (Ellenblum et al., 1998) (A in Fig. 1b). The second earthquake was stronger, MS 7.4, (Ambraseys and Barazanghi, 1989), with the estimated epicenter further north, on the Serghaya fault (Daëron et al., 2005). The core city was severely damaged in those earthquakes with about 150 fatalities, most of them in the earlier shock (Schiller, 2002; Ya'ari, 1943). The majority of the damage occurred in the downhill (western) parts of the core city (Fig. 2b), apparently due to landslides (Yizrael, 2002a). We used reports of historical chronicles describing the earthquake damage to synagogues in order to constrain the uphill (eastern) limit of the damage area. The synagogues of the Sefaradic Ari and Banea that were damaged in the 1759 earthquake (probably the first) mark the upper landslide boundary (β in Fig. 2b), while the more eastern ones, the Greek pilgrimage and Hagadol (the big) synagogues, were not damaged (Yizrael, 2002a).

Tsunamogenic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Taninim Creek Dam possible
Flame structures - possibly formed in 1759 CE

Marco et al (2014) observed zigzaged flame structures atop a permeable lacustrine unit wedged between two impermeable units. They interpreted the flame structures to be a result of overpressures or liquefaction. They surmised that the liquefaction was either induced directly by seismic shaking or by loading from a tsunami that breached the dam and placed a load of ~3 m of (additional ?) sloshing water above the sediment-water interface. Stone displacements observed on the northern part of the dam along with the spatial distribution and the zigzaged nature of the flame structures (indicating shearing) led them to favor the tsunamogenic interpretation. If correct, a tsunamogenic interpretation suggests an offshore slope failure during the causitive earthquake as active faults are not known to be present in this part of the coast.

The flame structures would have formed below the sediment water interface making this event difficult to date. Dating was approximate and was based on stratigraphy, archaeology, and textual accounts. The permeable lacustrine unit was assumed to have been deposited within an artificial lake that formed behind a dam that was originally constructed around 400 CE. Based on an estimated deposition rate, Marco et al (2014) surmised that it was deposited between ~400 CE and ~1400-1700 CE. Only one organic sample taken about 0.3 m above the flame structures produced a radiocarbon date. It dated to 250 yrs BP. Error bars were not presented but can be assumed to be between ±20 and ±75 years. Marco et al (2014:1451-1453) argued that a fresh brackish water lake behind the dam was present in some form during the late Ottoman period, possibly until the 18th century CE, due to the presence of flour mills on the west side of the dam which would have been powered by water from the dam. However, this may be contradicted by the presence of a pedogenic soil which formed above the permeable lacustrine unit presumably after the lake dried out. The pedogenic soil, however, contained freshwater fossils suggesting that the lake may have dried out, formed a soil horizon, and then filled intermittently again.

It also has to be noted that some dates discussed in their paper (e.g. dating the the sharp lithological boundary between the permeable lacustrine unit and the overlying clayey unit to circa 18th century) disagree with the Century track in the stratigraphic column they presented in Figure 3.

Historical evidence was based on Ambraseys and Barzanagi (1989) who, according to Marco et al (2014:1457), described "boats that were swept ashore from the Akko harbor (50 km north of the studied site), and a large wave that was reported from as far south as the Nile Delta", presumably due to the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Although Marco et al (2014) suggested that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake was the most likely candidate for the flame structures, the date is, unfortunately, not well constrained.

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Taninim Creek Dam

Marco et al (2014) observed zigzaged flame structures atop a permeable lacustrine unit wedged between two impermeable units. They interpreted the flame structures to be a result of overpressures or liquefaction. They surmised that the liquefaction was either induced directly by seismic shaking or by loading from a tsunami that breached the dam and placed a load of ~3 m of (additional ?) sloshing water above the sediment-water interface. Stone displacements observed on the northern part of the dam along with the spatial distribution and the zigzaged nature of the flame structures (indicating shearing) led them to favor the tsunamogenic interpretation. If correct, a tsunamogenic interpretation suggests an offshore slope failure during the causitive earthquake as active faults are not known to be present in this part of the coast.

The flame structures would have formed below the sediment water interface making this event difficult to date. Dating was approximate and was based on stratigraphy, archaeology, and textual accounts. The permeable lacustrine unit was assumed to have been deposited within an artificial lake that formed behind a dam that was originally constructed around 400 CE. Based on an estimated deposition rate, Marco et al (2014) surmised that it was deposited between ~400 CE and ~1400-1700 CE. Only one organic sample taken about 0.3 m above the flame structures produced a radiocarbon date. It dated to 250 yrs BP. Error bars were not presented but can be assumed to be between ±20 and ±75 years. Marco et al (2014:1451-1453) argued that a fresh brackish water lake behind the dam was present in some form during the late Ottoman period, possibly until the 18th century CE, due to the presence of flour mills on the west side of the dam which would have been powered by water from the dam. However, this may be contradicted by the presence of a pedogenic soil which formed above the permeable lacustrine unit presumably after the lake dried out. The pedogenic soil, however, contained freshwater fossils suggesting that the lake may have dried out, formed a soil horizon, and then filled intermittently again.

It also has to be noted that some dates discussed in their paper (e.g. dating the the sharp lithological boundary between the permeable lacustrine unit and the overlying clayey unit to circa 18th century) disagree with the Century track in the stratigraphic column they presented in Figure 3.

Historical evidence was based on Ambraseys and Barzanagi (1989) who, according to Marco et al (2014:1457), described "boats that were swept ashore from the Akko harbor (50 km north of the studied site), and a large wave that was reported from as far south as the Nile Delta", presumably due to the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Although Marco et al (2014) suggested that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake was the most likely candidate for the flame structures, the date is, unfortunately, not well constrained.



Paleoseismic Evidence

Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tekieh Trenches probable ≥ 7
Event A

Gomez et. al. (2003:15) dated Event A to between 1650 CE and the present and suggested that it was caused by the 1705 or 1759 CE earthquakes. Daëron et al (2005:531) proposed that the 30 October 1759 earthquake was caused by slip on the shorter (50 km) Rachaya fault, and the larger magnitude 25 November event was caused by slip on the longer (130 km) Serghaya fault, in keeping with the evidence of recent movement on both (Tapponnier et al., 2001), and the French consul’s letter from Saida. This, in turn, they said resolved the ambiguity of Event A in the Tekieh Trench. It was, according to Daëron et al (2005:531), caused by the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Daëron et al (2005:531) discussed the triggered earthquakes of 1759 CE as follows:

We interpret the occurrence of two events in 1759 and the month long delay between them as a classic earthquake triggering example. Such triggered delayed rupture may be due to the presence of the Mount Hermon asymmetric push-up jog, a geometric irregularity that prevented immediate rupture propagation along the entire Rachaıya Serghaya fault system. Though not unique, this scenario is in keeping with scaling laws (Wells and Coppersmith, 1994; Ambraseys and Jackson, 1998) that predict (2-sigma) magnitudes of 6.4–7.3 and 7.0–8.0 respectively, compatible with those derived from historical accounts (6.6 and 7.4; Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989) and from the ~2 m stream channel offset attributed to the last event on the Serghaya fault at Zebadani [i.e., Tekieh trenches] (7.0–7.2 for the November 1759 event; Gomez et al., 2003).
Event A is estimated to have created 2 - 2.5 meters of left lateral strike slip displacement which translates to an estimated Magnitude between 7.0 and 7.4.

Jarmaq Trench possible ≥ 7 Nemer and Meghraoui (2006) date Event Z to after 84-239 CE. They suggested the Safed Earthquake of 1837 CE as the most likely candidate.
Faqaa Trench and Deir El-Achayer Excavation probable ≥ 7 Nemer et al (2008) dated the most recent event (aka the Last Event) in the Faqaa Trench to between 1686 and 1924 CE and suggested it was most likely caused by the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek earthquake. They also noted that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek earthquake may have been responsible for a seismic event observed in the Deir El-Achayer Excavation although the dating for this event is fraught with uncertainty.
Bet Zayda probable ≥ 7 Marco et al (2005) dated Event E.H. 2 to after 1415 CE and suggested that it was was caused by the 1759 CE Safed Quake but considered other possibilities such as the 1546 CE and 1837 CE earthquakes. Marco et al (2005) estimated a Magnitude between 6.6. and 6.9 for Event E.H. 2 based on 0.5 m of offset.
Taninim Creek Dam possible
Flame structures - possibly formed in 1759 CE

Marco et al (2014) observed zigzaged flame structures atop a permeable lacustrine unit wedged between two impermeable units. They interpreted the flame structures to be a result of overpressures or liquefaction. They surmised that the liquefaction was either induced directly by seismic shaking or by loading from a tsunami that breached the dam and placed a load of ~3 m of (additional ?) sloshing water above the sediment-water interface. Stone displacements observed on the northern part of the dam along with the spatial distribution and the zigzaged nature of the flame structures (indicating shearing) led them to favor the tsunamogenic interpretation. If correct, a tsunamogenic interpretation suggests an offshore slope failure during the causitive earthquake as active faults are not known to be present in this part of the coast.

The flame structures would have formed below the sediment water interface making this event difficult to date. Dating was approximate and was based on stratigraphy, archaeology, and textual accounts. The permeable lacustrine unit was assumed to have been deposited within an artificial lake that formed behind a dam that was originally constructed around 400 CE. Based on an estimated deposition rate, Marco et al (2014) surmised that it was deposited between ~400 CE and ~1400-1700 CE. Only one organic sample taken about 0.3 m above the flame structures produced a radiocarbon date. It dated to 250 yrs BP. Error bars were not presented but can be assumed to be between ±20 and ±75 years. Marco et al (2014:1451-1453) argued that a fresh brackish water lake behind the dam was present in some form during the late Ottoman period, possibly until the 18th century CE, due to the presence of flour mills on the west side of the dam which would have been powered by water from the dam. However, this may be contradicted by the presence of a pedogenic soil which formed above the permeable lacustrine unit presumably after the lake dried out. The pedogenic soil, however, contained freshwater fossils suggesting that the lake may have dried out, formed a soil horizon, and then filled intermittently again.

It also has to be noted that some dates discussed in their paper (e.g. dating the the sharp lithological boundary between the permeable lacustrine unit and the overlying clayey unit to circa 18th century) disagree with the Century track in the stratigraphic column they presented in Figure 3.

Historical evidence was based on Ambraseys and Barzanagi (1989) who, according to Marco et al (2014:1457), described "boats that were swept ashore from the Akko harbor (50 km north of the studied site), and a large wave that was reported from as far south as the Nile Delta", presumably due to the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Although Marco et al (2014) suggested that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake was the most likely candidate for the flame structures, the date is, unfortunately, not well constrained.

Jordan Valley - Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed Trenches possible ≥ 7 Ferry et al (2011) detected 12 surface rupturing seismic events in 4 trenches (T1-T4) in Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed; 10 of which were prehistoric. The tightest chronology came from the Ghor Kabed trenches (T1 and T2) where Events Y and Z were constrained to between 560 and 1800 CE.
Dead Sea - Seismite Types n/a n/a n/a
Dead Sea - En Gedi possible see table
Potential Seismites in En Gedi

Migowski et. al. (2004) identified several seismites from around this time.

Depth (cm.) Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Min. Intensity Max. Intensity Quake Assignment (Migowski) Quake Assignment (Williams)
-13 10 4 8.2 9.0 1927 CE not assigned
3 3 4 8.0 8.8 1837 CE 1834 CE
8 3 4 8.0 8.8 1822 CE not assigned - 1822 CE Quake unlikely - too far away
22 2 4 8.0 8.8 1759 CE not assigned
27 12 4 8.2 9.0 1712 CE not assigned
41 4.8 4 8.1 8.9 1656 CE not assigned
52 1 1 5.6 7.0 1588 CE not assigned

Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim possible n/a
Potential Seismites at site ZA-1

At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) identified two seismites from around this time. Event H was higher up in the section.

Event Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Modeled Age (± 2σ) Intensities Quake Assignment (Ken-Tor) Quake Assignment (Williams)
G 50 Liquefied Sand 1815 CE ± 145 unavailable for now - different mechanism 1834 CE Quake not assigned
H 30 Liquefied Sand 1595 CE ± 75 unavailable for now - different mechanism 1927 CE Quake not assigned

Araba - Introduction n/a n/a n/a
Araba - Qasr Tilah possible ≥ 7 Haynes et al. (2006) dated Event I to between 1515 and 1918 CE and suggested it was most likely a result of the 1546 CE earthquake.
Araba - Taybeh Trench possible ≥ 7 LeFevre et al. (2018) dated Event E1 to 1744 CE ± 56.
Araba - Taba Sabhka Trench possible ≥ 7 Allison (2013) dated Event EQ1 to after the 16th-17th century CE.
Location (with hotlink) Status Intensity Notes
Tekieh Trenches

Gomez et. al. (2003:15) dated Event A to between 1650 CE and the present and suggested that it was caused by the 1705 or 1759 CE earthquakes. Daëron et al (2005:531) proposed that the 30 October 1759 earthquake was caused by slip on the shorter (50 km) Rachaya fault, and the larger magnitude 25 November event was caused by slip on the longer (130 km) Serghaya fault, in keeping with the evidence of recent movement on both (Tapponnier et al., 2001), and the French consul’s letter from Saida. This, in turn, they said resolved the ambiguity of Event A in the Tekieh Trench. It was, according to Daëron et al (2005:531), caused by the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Daëron et al (2005:531) discussed the triggered earthquakes of 1759 CE as follows:

We interpret the occurrence of two events in 1759 and the month long delay between them as a classic earthquake triggering example. Such triggered delayed rupture may be due to the presence of the Mount Hermon asymmetric push-up jog, a geometric irregularity that prevented immediate rupture propagation along the entire Rachaıya Serghaya fault system. Though not unique, this scenario is in keeping with scaling laws (Wells and Coppersmith, 1994; Ambraseys and Jackson, 1998) that predict (2-sigma) magnitudes of 6.4–7.3 and 7.0–8.0 respectively, compatible with those derived from historical accounts (6.6 and 7.4; Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989) and from the ~2 m stream channel offset attributed to the last event on the Serghaya fault at Zebadani [i.e., Tekieh trenches] (7.0–7.2 for the November 1759 event; Gomez et al., 2003).
Event A is estimated to have created 2 - 2.5 meters of left lateral strike slip displacement which translates to an estimated Magnitude between 7.0 and 7.4.



Jarmaq Trench

Nemer and Meghraoui (2006) date Event Z to after 84-239 CE. They suggested the Safed Earthquake of 1837 CE as the most likely candidate.



Faqaa Trench and Deir El-Achayer Excavation

Nemer et al (2008) dated the most recent event (aka the Last Event) in the Faqaa Trench to between 1686 and 1924 CE and suggested it was most likely caused by the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek earthquake. They also noted that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek earthquake may have been responsible for a seismic event observed in the Deir El-Achayer Excavation although the dating for this event is fraught with uncertainty.



Bet Zayda (aka Beteiha)

Marco et al (2005) dated Event E.H. 2 to after 1415 CE and suggested that it was was caused by the 1759 CE Safed Quake but considered other possibilities such as the 1546 CE and 1837 CE earthquakes. Marco et al (2005) estimated a Magnitude between 6.6. and 6.9 for Event E.H. 2 based on 0.5 m of offset.



Taninim Creek Dam

Marco et al (2014) observed zigzaged flame structures atop a permeable lacustrine unit wedged between two impermeable units. They interpreted the flame structures to be a result of overpressures or liquefaction. They surmised that the liquefaction was either induced directly by seismic shaking or by loading from a tsunami that breached the dam and placed a load of ~3 m of (additional ?) sloshing water above the sediment-water interface. Stone displacements observed on the northern part of the dam along with the spatial distribution and the zigzaged nature of the flame structures (indicating shearing) led them to favor the tsunamogenic interpretation. If correct, a tsunamogenic interpretation suggests an offshore slope failure during the causitive earthquake as active faults are not known to be present in this part of the coast.

The flame structures would have formed below the sediment water interface making this event difficult to date. Dating was approximate and was based on stratigraphy, archaeology, and textual accounts. The permeable lacustrine unit was assumed to have been deposited within an artificial lake that formed behind a dam that was originally constructed around 400 CE. Based on an estimated deposition rate, Marco et al (2014) surmised that it was deposited between ~400 CE and ~1400-1700 CE. Only one organic sample taken about 0.3 m above the flame structures produced a radiocarbon date. It dated to 250 yrs BP. Error bars were not presented but can be assumed to be between ±20 and ±75 years. Marco et al (2014:1451-1453) argued that a fresh brackish water lake behind the dam was present in some form during the late Ottoman period, possibly until the 18th century CE, due to the presence of flour mills on the west side of the dam which would have been powered by water from the dam. However, this may be contradicted by the presence of a pedogenic soil which formed above the permeable lacustrine unit presumably after the lake dried out. The pedogenic soil, however, contained freshwater fossils suggesting that the lake may have dried out, formed a soil horizon, and then filled intermittently again.

It also has to be noted that some dates discussed in their paper (e.g. dating the the sharp lithological boundary between the permeable lacustrine unit and the overlying clayey unit to circa 18th century) disagree with the Century track in the stratigraphic column they presented in Figure 3.

Historical evidence was based on Ambraseys and Barzanagi (1989) who, according to Marco et al (2014:1457), described "boats that were swept ashore from the Akko harbor (50 km north of the studied site), and a large wave that was reported from as far south as the Nile Delta", presumably due to the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake. Although Marco et al (2014) suggested that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake was the most likely candidate for the flame structures, the date is, unfortunately, not well constrained.



Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed Trenches

Ferry et al (2011) detected 12 surface rupturing seismic events in 4 trenches (T1-T4) in Tell Saidiyeh and Ghor Kabed; 10 of which were prehistoric. The tightest chronology came from the Ghor Kabed trenches (T1 and T2) where Events Y and Z were constrained to between 560 and 1800 CE.

Note: Although Ferry et al (2011) combined archaeoseismic interpretations, their paleoseismic evidence, and entries from earthquake catalogs to produce earthquake dates and some overly optimistic probabilities, only the paleoseismic data is presented here. Ferry et al (2011)'s archaeoseismic data was researched and is treated separately.



Dead Sea - Seismite Types



Dead Sea - En Gedi

Migowski et. al. (2004) identified several seismites from around this time.

Depth (cm.) Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Min. Intensity Max. Intensity Quake Assignment (Migowski) Quake Assignment (Williams)
-13 10 4 8.2 9.0 1927 CE not assigned
3 3 4 8.0 8.8 1837 CE 1834 CE
8 3 4 8.0 8.8 1822 CE not assigned - 1822 CE Quake unlikely - too far away
22 2 4 8.0 8.8 1759 CE not assigned
27 12 4 8.2 9.0 1712 CE not assigned
41 4.8 4 8.1 8.9 1656 CE not assigned
52 1 1 5.6 7.0 1588 CE not assigned


Dead Sea - Nahal Ze 'elim

At site ZA-1, Ken-Tor et al (2001a) identified two seismites from around this time. Event H was higher up in the section.

Event Thickness (cm.) Seismite Type Modeled Age (± 2σ) Intensities Quake Assignment (Ken-Tor) Quake Assignment (Williams)
G 50 Liquefied Sand 1815 CE ± 145 unavailable for now - different mechanism 1834 CE Quake not assigned
H 30 Liquefied Sand 1595 CE ± 75 unavailable for now - different mechanism 1927 CE Quake not assigned


Araba - Introduction



Araba - Qasr Tilah

Haynes et al. (2006) dated Event I to between 1515 and 1918 CE and suggested it was most likely a result of the 1546 CE earthquake.



Araba - Taybeh Trench

LeFevre et al. (2018) dated Event E1 to 1744 CE ± 56.



Taba Sabhka Trench

Allison (2013) dated Event EQ1 to after the 16th-17th century CE.



Notes

Ambraseys (2009)

AD 1759 Oct 30 Safad

The first shock occurred at dawn on Tuesday 30 October 1759 (N.S.), some time between 03 h 45 m and 04 h local time. Arabic sources give different dates, between 6 and 8 Rabi I, but they all agree that the earthquake happened on a Tuesday during the last quarter of the night or just before dawn, so there can be no doubt that the correct date is 30 October 1759.

The maximum effects of the earthquake were experienced in the region of Safed and to the northeast of the town. Safed was almost totally destroyed, together with its six synagogues, with the loss of 120 Jews and an unknown number of other inhabitants. It is said that Metawali villages in the mountains north of Safed about 2000 Ismailis and Amriyyas were killed.

The region demarcated by Safed, Khirbet Qasiun, Jisr Banat Yaqub and Nuaran as far as Qunaitra was almost totally destroyed and the caravanserai of Qunaitra collapsed with the loss of many lives and animals.

Damage extended to Saida, where a few houses collapsed and many suffered minor damage; no one was killed but the town was abandoned by its inhabitants, who camped at some distance from the town.

Acre, Hamat and Sassaa also suffered some damage and at the latter place the caravanserai was shattered, without casualties.

In Nazaret the shock was particularly severe and caused considerable damage locally. Damage in Nablus and Hamat was probably due to ground failures rather than to severe shaking. Also in Tiberias many houses sank into their foundations, and, with the exception of the church, which is located to the west of the town, near the lake, all buildings were damaged.

In Damascus one or two houses collapsed completely, a few were damaged and many were badly cracked. Arab writers give a long list of public buildings that after the earthquake were in need of restoration, particularly minarets, the top parts of which were dislodged or shattered by the shock. As a result of the earthquake a rock fall blocked the Qanawat water channel, leaving the city with a much reduced water supply for almost two weeks. In the densely inhabited plain of Ghutah around Damascus the shock ruined a few houses but otherwise caused little, if any, damage.

In Tripoli the shock caused some concern but apparently no damage; the earthquake was of rather long duration, causing water to slosh out of basins and ponds.

In Beiruth, some of the monasteries in the Kesrawan, in the district of Hisn al Akrad, Homs and Caesaraea, experienced similar effects. The shock was widely felt in Jerusalem, Hama, Antioch and Ladhkiya, in the latter causing some panic but no damage. In Aleppo ground movements persisted for almost one minute, causing little alarm. The shock was felt in Gaza, but not in Cairo or Cyprus.

The earthquake was felt very violently on board a sailing ship a day's sailing from Beiruth. A seismic sea wave flooded Acre to a height of about 2.5 m above normal sea level, as well as the docks of Tripoli, without causing any damage.


Fig. 2. Intensity distribution of the main shock of November 25, 1759.
Intensities in the MSK scale. The shock was felt as far as Alexandria
and the Nile Delta in the southwest, Karamania in Turkey in the northwest,
and Nakhichevan in the Caucasus in the northeast.
(from Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989)

AD 1759 Nov 25 Litani

The main shock occurred early on Sunday night on 25 November 1759. All occidental sources give the same date for the earthquake, which occurred at 19 h 23 m local time, and give in detail the dates of all foreshocks and aftershocks. Arabic sources agree that the shock occurred during the first quarter of the night of Monday, reckoning from Sunday at sunset, but differ with respect to the date, which they place, either vaguely at the end of Rabi I, or on 4, 6 or 16 Rabi II a.H. 1173. It is significant that European sources do not mention any shocks that correspond to the alternative dates mentioned in Arabic documents, which must be misprints of the correct date 5 Rabi II a.H. 1173.

The epicentral region of the earthquake extended the region of the foreshock to the north, comprising a narrow zone that ran in a northeasterly direction for 120 km along the Litani and Bekaa valleys to the upper reaches of the Orontes River.

Much of the heavy damage and loss of life caused to the mountainous Metwali settlements in the southern part of the region was cumulative and includes the effects of the foreshock of 30 October, which was serious in this region.

Villages in the northern part of al-Hulah were totally destroyed and the citadel of Shakif Arnun was shattered. The large villages of Marjuyun, Kaukaba and Zebdin and the caravanserai of Nabatiya collapsed. Hasbaiya was almost totally destroyed, together with its caravanserai, where many people were killed. The churches of Birteh were ruined and Kafr Hatta was totally destroyed with the loss of 55 Metwalis. The Greek village of Qeitule was ruined and three people were killed. Also Joun was destroyed, its churches were damaged, and part of the nearby monastery of the Sisters of Mary collapsed.

Many small Christian villages, including Mukhtara, and the residence of the local ruler collapsed, with casualties. The large village of Dair Qamar, its churches, serais and many small settlements up the Fereida were almost totally ruined, with heavy loss of life.

Heavy damage extended to the district of Kesrawan, where many churches and houses belonging to the Christian community were also destroyed as far as Tannurin, Akura and Afka. The staging posts of Shaad and Labweh were shattered and Ras Baalbek was totally destroyed with loss of life. Baalbek and its castle were ruined and in part collapsed, with the loss of the whole population, except the sheikh and another person. Some of its ancient ruins were also affected: of the remaining standing columns of the peristyle of the Great Temple, three fell in the earthquake.

Sergaya, Zebedani, Hasaya and other smaller villages in the hills on either side of the Barada valley were either damaged beyond repair or destroyed, and 500 people and many animals were killed. Maithalun and its caravanserai were heavily damaged, and Saasaa and Qatana, including a number of substantial structures, were completely destroyed. In Beit Jann the earthquake and the fire that followed totally destroyed the village, in which many people perished. In the district of Sahra some villages between Daraiya and Dair al-Ashair were ruined and thereafter abandoned by their inhabitants.

Within this area of maximum damage the earthquake triggered many slides and rock falls, and caused changes in the stream and spring water. The stream that supplied water to Baalbek was dammed up by slides, and dried up for several days, while the source of the Maaser ash-Shuf dried up permanently.

Massive rock falls from cliffs and rockslides into ravines were reported from many places in the Lebanon, and landslides were abundant in the Anti-Lebanon and the Hermon. The largest rockslides were triggered from the Jabal Niha near Fareida and from above Mukhtara, where in large cracks running some distance opened up on the mountainside. The largest landslides occurred near Beit Jann and in the Barada valley above Hasaya.

As a result of the earthquake a series of ground ruptures many metres wide formed, running continuously along the southwestern side of the Bekaa Valley from northwest of Baalbek to as far as opposite Tripoli in the north, and from southwest of Baalbek to the plain of Satern(?), a total distance of about 100 km. These observations suggest that the earthquake was associated with a surface fault break at least 100 km long along the Bekaa valley, the exact location and attitude of which it is not possible to ascertain today. Field evidence, however, suggests surface faulting perhaps associated with this and the earthquake of 1759.

Further away from the epicentral region, damage was less serious but varied erratically from place to place and depended not only on the degree of shaking but also on the vulnerability of houses, which had been increased by the foreshock of 30 October and local soil conditions. Thus Safed, which had just been repaired after the first shock, whereafter most of its inhabitants had moved to Acre, was almost totally destroyed and about 70 Jews were killed. In contrast, neighbouring al-Rama and Deir Hanna suffered little, if any, damage. In Acre scarcely a house escaped without cracks in its walls and only a few dwellings, including part of the fortification towers, fell into the sea, without casualties. On the land side the rampart slid into the fosse. The town was evacuated for some time.

Villages along the coast suffered some damage, and in Saida many dwellings, including the quarter of the Europeans, storehouses and the citadel, were damaged and a few collapsed, killing about 20 people. As a result of the earthquake the harbour became unserviceable and the town was abandoned for many months, its inhabitants taking refuge in the plain behind the town.

The monastery of Dair al-Mukhalles and its dependencies suffered some reparable damage, and in Beirut, although many houses were badly damaged, none collapsed. The storehouse of the European merchants sustained some losses, as did their khan and residences. The effects of the shock on the coastal area of the Kesrawan district were not very serious, but in Tripoli a few dwellings and three minarets collapsed without casualties. However, many houses were cracked and the town was evacuated for some time. East of Tripoli, at Qusair, a few dwellings collapsed without loss of life, but the post houses of Zeraa, al-Gaa and Hermel were ruined.

In the densely populated district of Damascus damage was extremely non-uniform. At Saidnaya a few walls fell over and some houses were shattered without loss of life. However, the nearby villages of Maara and Tell, which had been damaged by the foreshock, were totally destroyed and the mosques and water mills damaged, with the loss of 425 lives. In contrast, damage was far less serious at nearby Darij. In Halboun and Mnin no one was killed but many houses were ruined, mosques damaged and bath houses destroyed. At Dimas the caravanserai and at Barzeh a few houses, including the mosque, suffered some damage. Mazza also was damaged but not as much as Dummar, which was ruined. At Arbin the baths collapsed and the walls of the mosque was badly cracked. Most of the houses in Harasta, together with the mosque and watermills, were damaged. The shock caused the collapse of the bath house at Douma and much of Khan al-Qusair. At Adhra and Maydas the walls of houses were fissured, and at Abadeh and Nashbiyeh a few houses, the mosque and the olive press were damaged.

A noticeable effect of the earthquake in the plain of Ghutah was the collapse of well shafts and slumping of the ground. In Damascus the shock caused great. panic, several casualties and considerable but reparable damage to houses that had already been affected by the foreshock. Of the 15 000, chiefly adobe, houses in the city, very few collapsed completely but many were badly cracked. The exception was in the large suburb of Salihiye, which is situated to the northwest of the city on high ground, where damage was exceptionally severe, particularly to houses that had been weakened by the earthquake of 30 October.

In Damascus a considerable number of public buildings, such as the Umayyad Mosque, other mosques and medrasas, gates, baths and walls, suffered various degrees of damage, some of it serious enough to lead to later collapse. A few minarets collapsed, causing additional damage to adjacent buildings, and many others were badly cracked. Part of the citadel crumbled into the Banas canal, damming its flow, and narrow streets were blocked by the collapse of high adobe fencing walls.

Further to the southwest, Quneitra, which had been damaged already by the foreshock and partly evacuated, was totally destroyed. In Nablus and Nazaret many houses that had been damaged by the foreshock collapsed, in Nablus killing a few people. In contrast, in Hamat, Dair Hanna, Caesarea and Haifa there were no casualties and relatively few houses needed repairs.

A part of the citadel of Tiberias, already in a parlous state, was ruined. In the region of Homs, Hama and Shaizar, with the exception of Qalat al-Burayj and Kara, where walls of houses were cracked, the earthquake caused considerable concern but no other damage. Further away the earthquake was felt strongly, at al-Arish, Gaza, Jerusalem and Jafa. In Ladikiya ground motions lasted for a long time, causing panic and generating cracks in a few walls. Near there the shock triggered a massive landslide that destroyed the old village of Shilfatiya.

In Antioch one or two old houses, a khan and part of the bazaar collapsed, killing a few people, but elsewhere there was no damage to speak of. In the densely settled region of Aleppo the shock was of long duration. In the city, except for a few old houses, none of the buildings and of the oldest minarets were actually thrown down, but the walls of a few dwellings were fissured.

Similar effects were reported from the southwest, from Jaba Druz and Tarba, where only a few hans were damaged.

The earthquake was widely felt in Alexandria for about two minutes, with slow oscillation of the ground. The following day the sea was discoloured over a large area.

References

There are many published and unpublished documents about this earthquake, the most important of which are given below.

[1] ACCM Archives de la Chambre de Commerce de Marseilles; ACCM AA:340 (Seyde) 17.12.59; 28.12.59; 22.01.60.

[2] AGS Archivo General de Simancas: Seccion Estado, leg. 5875, piez. 14:7.2.1760.

[3] ANF AE Archives Nationales: Arch. Affaires Etrangeres Paris; Bi/99 (Alexandrette) 24.12.59; Bi/1032.223-230 (Seyde) 22.12.59; Bi/1032. 246-247(Seyde) 28.12.59; Bi/1032. 248 (Seyde) 04.01.60; Bi/1032.285-290 (Seyde) 27.03.60; Bi/1120.14-26 (Tripoli) 04.02.60;Bi/1120. 46- 47 (Tripoli) 12.08.60; Bi/88.132-134 (Alep) 11.12.59; Bi/88.157-158 (Alep) 24.12.59; Bi/88.136-137 (Alep) 14.01.60; Bi/436.345-347 (Istanbul) 29.12.59; Bi/5 (Larnaka) 1759.

[4] ANR Annual Register, London 1760, 86; 1761, 96-98; 1764, 102-106.

[5]AMAE CADN: Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 21.11.1759; 07.12.1759; 12.12.1759; 24.12.1759; 28.01.1760; 19.04.1760; Turquie (Seyde) 07.12.1759; 17.12.1759; Turquie (Tripoli) 18.12.1759, 18.01.1760; Turquie (Jerusalem) 25.02.1760; 31.03.1760; 22.03.1760.

[6] ARG Allgemein. Rijksarch. 'S Gravenhage Legatie Turkije 393 (Aleppo) 11.12.59.

[7]BBA Basbakanlik Arivi Istanbul; BBA Ahkam D Sam-i serif 195; BBA D B5 M; BNE Bab-i Defteri, Bina Emini 15914; BBA CD Cevdet Dahiliye 1181 (20.05.1173); BBA CE Cevdet Evkaf Tasnifi 1823 (11.1173); 1596 (n.d.); 1823 (03.12.1173); 2219 (08.12.1773); BBA CM Cevdet Maliye 28549, 29081; BBA CN Cevdet Nafia 1038 (05.01.1172); BBA MD Miihimme Defteri 162:77-78 (04.1174); BBA MMD Maliyeden Miidevver Defterler 19198 6-8; 3160.2, 4-6, 7-9, 11-19, 29 30, 218, 282, 300-302, 542, 906 9999.272 (10.03.1184).

[8]BN Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris BN NAF 20236:115.

[9]PRO FO Public Records Office, Foreign Office Special Papers, London; SP.110/36, 42, 47 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 39 (Aleppo) 04.12.1759; SP 110/36, 41 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 42 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 44 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 45 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759.

[10] WIL WMS Ar. 274, fol. 166ab.

[11] Press reports: PAN 1760, 86-87; 1761, 96-98, 1764, 102- 106; PES 1760, 358-360; PGF 1760, 105-106; PHB 1760, 13; PLC 1760, 249, 550; PMDF 1760, 3:210-211; PMHP 1760, 2:141, 3:240-242; Nederlandsch Post-Ryder 1760, 229-232, 349-350; PNP 1760, 229-232, 349-350.

[12] Papers: Albini and Stucchi (1992), Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989), Anonymous (1760a, b, c), Anonymous (1787), Anonymous (1956), Bachiene (1766), al- Bidiri, in Taher (1974), Bramsen (1818), Braik (1982), al-Budayiri (1959), Burton and Drake (1872, i. 37, 96), Charles-Roux (1928), Clouzot (1914), Cousinery (1760), Daeron et al. (2005), Dahmaan (1948, 1982), Dienner (1886), Donati (1759), F.CH.R. (1927), Findikli (1978), Golubovich (1922), Guys (1822), Hakobyan (1956), Ibn al-Ghazzi (1948), Kitto (1844, i. 89-90), Lemmens (1898, 1304-307, 337-342), Maas (1775, iv. 134), Mariti (1792, i. 352-354), al-Muradi 83), Paulian (1761, iii. 341), Rabbi Simha (1946, 382-423), Rabbi Yosef (1971, 286- 301), Rafeq (1966, 227), Rivkind (1928, 124-125), Russell (1769, 529-531), Skaf (1975, 286-287), Squire (1820, 304-307), Taher (1974/5, 52-108), Thiollet (1977, 176), al'Umari (f. 242v), Vasif (Tarih, i. 177-178), Volney (1787, i. 304, ii. 187, 212, 238-47, 269-271) and Yaari (1946, 382- 423; 1951, 28, 349-363).

References

Ambraseys, N. N. (2009). Earthquakes in the Mediterranean and Middle East: a multidisciplinary study of seismicity up to 1900.

Salamon et. al. (2011)

1759 10 30 03:45 LT: Sea wave flooded Acre and docks at Tripoli

According to Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) and Ambraseys (2009), this earthquake was felt onboard ships a days sailing from Beirut and caused a seismic sea wave that flooded Acre to a height of 2.5 m above normal sea level and the docks at Tripoli, but there was no apparent damage. The tsunami is also mentioned by Shalem (1956), Ambraseys (1962), and Amiran et al. (1994), who located it along the coasts of Israel and Lebanon and note that in Acre The water rose to 8' ... (~2.5 m). This is the only case where the inundation height (height of the flooding water above sea level) is documented in historical sources. Unfortunately, this cannot be simply interpreted as the actual inundation depth (height of the tsunami above the ground) because the location and height of the flooded area above sea level are not mentioned.

The cause of the tsunami was attributed to an MS ~6.6 earthquake in southern Lebanon and northern Israel (Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989; Amiran et al., 1994). Ben-Menahem (1991) mentions a seiche in the Sea of Galilee. A paleoseismic study by Gomez et al. (2001, 2003), later interpreted by Daeron et al. (2005), relates the earthquake to the Rachaiya fault, Syria, and paleo- and archaeoseismic investigations by Marco et al. (1997, 2005) and Ellenblum et al. (1998), suggest the surface rupture extended southwards to the Jordan gorge segment.

Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) describe a tsunami for each of the two earthquakes in this sequence (October 30 and November 25), while Amiran et al. (1994) and Soloviev et al. (2000) determine that a tsunami followed the first earthquake only.

1759 11 25 19:23 LT: Sea wave in Acre and as far as the Nile Delta

For the second earthquake in this sequence, Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) mention a seismic sea wave that was noted as far south as the Nile Delta, where the sea was discolored for many days, but no damage occurred. In Acre, ships were thrown onto the shore, and there were some casualties. Ambraseys (2009), however, notes that the sea in Alexandria was discolored over a large area the day after the earthquake, without mentioning the tsunami and other effects. Amiran et al. (1994) and Soloviev et al. (2000) do not list a tsunami for the November event.

A destructive earthquake in southern Lebanon and northern Israel likely caused this tsunami. This is described by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989):

A series of ground ruptures many yards wide were formed¦ along the Bekaa Valley, from Baalbek to opposite Tripoli to the plain of Satern... a total distance of about 100 km. Most probably however, the displacement occurred along the Yammouneh fault.
Gomez et al. (2001) and Daeron et al. (2005), however, suspect the rupture was along the Serghaya fault, based on paleoseismic evidence. The magnitude estimate given by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) was MS = 7.4, Ambraseys and Jackson (1998), assumed this was a large event, and Ambraseys (2006) estimated MS = 7.5.

References

Salamon, A., et al. (2011). "A critical evaluation of tsunami records reported for the Levant Coast from the second millennium bce to the present." Isr. J. Earth Sci. 58: 327-354.

Sbeinati et al (2005)

〈143〉 1759 October 30, 03:45 (local time)

Parametric catalogues Seismological compilations Monographs

Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)

1759 October 30, 33.1N-35.6E, MS = 6.6. This earthquake is considered as a foreshock of the main event of November 25. It was affected the region of Safad and a mountain area to the NE where many villages were destroyed with the loss of about 2000 lives. Safad and Qunaitra were almost totally ruined, and many of the inhabitants were killed. In Sidon, Saasaa, Nazareth and Acre, few houses collapsed without casualties. In and around Damascus, this earthquake caused considerable concern and widespread minor damage, one or two houses collapsed, a few were damaged, many were cracked, many public buildings such as minarets and tall buildings were damaged, the water supply of Damascus was affected by rock falls. In Tiberias, a landslide took place but without loss of life. Antioch, Aleppo, Jerusalem and Gaza were felt, and it was reported by sailing boats between Cyprus and Beirut. In Acre and Tripoli, there was a seismic sea wave that flooded them without damage. This earthquake was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, some of which were felt as far as Aleppo, that added to the damage (Al-Budayri; ANF; Archives British Legations; Archives Historiques Ch. Comm. Marseille; Ben Zvi; Dahman; Findikli; Vitaliano; Yaari).


Fig. 20. Map of intensity distribution for November 25, 1759 earthquake
(Ambraseys and Barazangi, 1989). (from Sbeinati et al, 2005)

〈144〉 1759 November 25, 19:23 (local time) Parametric catalogues Seismological compilations Monographs

– Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989): 1759 November 25, 33.7N-35.9E, MS= 7.4, tsunami and faulting. It is the main shock of the 1759 earthquakes, lasted about 50 s. It destroyed totally all villages in a narrow zone extending to the NE for about 120 km along the Litani and the Bekaa Valleys into the upper reaches of the Orontes River in NW Syria. Safad was almost totally destroyed with loss of life. The Metwali settlements, Bshara and in the Shouf region, were razed to the ground. Near Mukhtara and Mar Djerjos, rock falls and landslides took place and added to the damage. In Serghaya and Hasbaya, there was heavy destruction. Baalbak was totally destroyed with great loss of life, a landslide was dammed the supplied water up. Heavy damage extended to Ras Baalbak. The available evidence suggests that within this area of maximum damage the earthquake was associated with extensive faulting for at least 100 km. In Damascus district, many villages in the Ghutah and Marj suffered mainly from foundation failures. The shock caused great panic in Damascus with several casualties and damage, of the 15000 mainly adobe houses, very few collapsed completely but many were badly cracked, the Umayyad mosque, other mosques, medreses, gates, baths and walls suffered different degrees of damage, a few minarets were thrown down causing additional damage to adjacent houses, part of the Damascus Citadel crumbled into the Banas canal damming its flow, in Salihiyeh (north part of Damascus), damage was more serious, European consuls estimated loss of life at a few handred lives as compared to 6000-20000 given by local sources in Damascus. It was strongly felt in Antioch and Lattakia, causing some panic and collapse of a number of old houses. In Aleppo, it lasted two minutes and a few walls were fissured. It was also felt in Tarba, Gaza and Al-Arish and a few old Khans were damaged. The shock was felt throughout Anatolia as far as Nakhichevan and in Egypt. A seismic sea wave associated with this earthquake was noted as far south as the Nile Delta without any damage. In Acre, ships were thrown onto the shore with some casualties. The total estimated killed number by various temporary writrers vary between 10000-40000. Aftershocks continued to be felt till August 1760 (Al-Budayri; Archives British Legations; Archives Historiques Ch. Comm. Marseille; ANF; Ben Zvi; Dahman; Findikli; Vitaliano; Yaari).

References

Sbeinati, M. R., R. Darawcheh, and M. Monty (2005). "The historical earthquakes of Syria: An analysis of large and moderate earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D.", Ann. Geophys. 48(3): 347-435.

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998)

Surface Faulting during the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) listed a surface fault break for the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake.

Surface Fault Break from Ambraseys and Jackson (1998)
Name Date Lat.(°N) Long.(°E) MS Azimuth (°) Mechanism Length (km.) Location Country
Baalbek Quake 25 Nov. 1759 33.7 35.9 7.4 20 Left-Lateral 100 Bekaa Lebanon
The reference for this surface faulting is Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) who state in their abstract
The MS ≈ 7+ earthquake on November 25, 1759, almost certainly produced surface faulting probably along the Yammouneh fault in the Bekaa valley
In their Magnitude estimates for this earthquake, Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) assumed a Rupture Length of 100 km. Later in their paper, Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989:4010) cite an unnamed source for the surface faulting evidence .
It is said that as a result of the earthquake, a series of ground ruptures many yards wide were formed running continuously along the Bekaa valley, to the north of Baalbek as far as opposite Tripoli and to the southwest to the plain of Satern, a total distance of about 100 km. This and other contemporary descriptions of the effects of the earthquake clearly suggest faulting, at least 100 km long, the exact location and attitude of which is not possible to ascertain today. Most probably, however, the displacement occurred along the Yammouneh fault, which runs along the total length of the Bekaa valley (see Figure lb).
Daeron et al (2005) may have solved the mystery of Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989:4010)'s mysterious source. Daeron et al (2005:530) discussed this as follows:
Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989, p. 4010) mentioned 100-km-long surface ruptures in the Beqaa in November 1759, but stated that
the exact location and attitude of (these ruptures) is [sic] not possible to ascertain today.
Nevertheless, they inferred the Yammouneh fault to be the most likely candidate. Building on this inference, Ellenblum et al. (1998) referred to Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) as quoting a description of ground breaks on the Yammouneh fault by the French ambassador in Beirut. Our own investigation of the French sources cited by Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989, p. 4010) yielded only a second-hand account by the French consul in Saida:
English from Daeron et al (2005:530)

One claims that [ . . . ] on the Baalbek side (or possibly: near Baalbek) pulling toward the plain the earth cracked open by more than [~6 m] and that this crack extends for over twenty leagues (~80 km) (Archives Nationales, Paris, B1/1032/1959-60).

French from Daeron (2005:120 n.1)

On pretend que [...] du cote de Balbec en tirans vers la plaine la terre s’est entrouverte de plus de trois toises et que cette ouverture dure plus de vingt lieues. (Archives Nationales, Paris, B1/1032/1959-60 provided by Daeron, 2005:120 n.1)

The wording suggests that this rupture took place on one side of the Beqaa, and the mention of Baalbek points to the east side, thus to the Serghaya fault.
Although this potential fault break reported by Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) may seem dubious, their assumption that the 25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake created surface faulting seems to be correct. They just assumed that it broke the wrong fault. Daeron et al (2005:529-530) presented surface faulting evidence that suggested younger less weathered fault scarplets on the Rachaıya-Serghaya faults and fresh mole-tracks on the Rachaıya fault [both closer to Baalbek] were associated with one of the 1759 CE fault breaks while older more weathered faults scarplets on the Yammouneh fault [farther from Baalbek] were associated with one of the the 1202 CE earthquakes.

Scaling Relationships (with Calculators)

Figures

  • Fig. 3 Regression Results from Ambraseys and Jackson (1998)
Estimating Magnitude from Rupture Length

For Surface Magnitude (MS) and Moment Magnitude (MW) estimates based on Rupture Length (L) in km., Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) presented the following equations:

MS = 5.13 + 1.14 log(L)        (2)

MS = 5.27 + 1.04 log(L)        (3)

MW = 4.9 + 1.33 log(L)         (11)note

while noting that Equation (3) is almost identical to that derived by Wells and Coppersmith (1994). These equations are coded into calculators below.

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998:397) noted the following

it is important, particularly for palaeoseismological investigations, to have some indication of whether the rupture length and offset estimated from historical sources are likely to be seriously under- or overestimated, given the magnitude of the event. This is a principal use of magnitude—length relationships. For an assessment of individual events or particular regions, it may be more informative to make such estimates from a combination of first principles and more closely constrained empirical relationships, along the following lines:
  1. for earthquakes that rupture the entire thickness (d) of the seismogenic upper crust, the downdip width of the fault is d/sinϴ, where ϴ is the fault dip, and the moment is then

    Mo = (μcd/sin ϴ)L2       (8)

    where

    • µ is the rigidity modulus
    • c is the ratio of average displacement (u) to fault length (L), which is observed to be close to 5 x 10-5 for intracontinental earthquakes (Scholz 1982; Scholz et al. 1986)

  2. both observationally and theoretically it is known that for such earthquakes the relationship between moment and magnitude (M, whether MS or MW ) is of the form

    log(Mo)= A + BM       (9)

    where A and B are constants, with B ≈ 1.5 (e.g. Kanamori and Anderson 1975; Ekstrom and Dziewonski 1988))

  3. combining these expressions gives a relationship between moment and fault length of the form

    M = (1/B) log(µcd/sin ϴ) — (A/B) + (2/B) (log L)       (10)

    For illustration, if we take

    • µ=3 x 1010 N m-2
    • c = 5 x 10-5
    • A = 9.0 (for Mo in units of N m, see Ekstrom and Dziewonski 1988)
    • B=1.5

    then for a seismogenic layer of thickness d=15 km and a vertical strike-slip fault (ϴ = 90°), the relationship is

    MW = 4.9+1.33L        (11)

    with L in kilometres, which is similar to the empirical relationships given above and in Wells & Coppersmith (1994) and is a reasonable fit to the earthquakes of M ≥ 6.0 in Fig. 3
The advantage of this approach over some global empirical relationship is that it is more explicit where the assumptions are: A is known to vary regionally (Ekstrom & Dziewonski 1988) and so is d. Moreover, for earthquakes in which the fault length is small compared with the seismogenic thickness, the relationships between moment and magnitude and between moment and fault length are both known to be different from those given above, such that B≈1.0 (Ekstrom and Dziewonski 1988) and Mo is proportional to L3. Thus a single relationship over the whole magnitude range of Fig. 3 (and over the magnitude ranges discussed by Wells & Coppersmith 1994) is not likely to be valid anyway. The explicit approach illustrated here is therefore more likely to be useful for detailed palaeoseismological investigation of specific events.
Calculators
Equation 2 of Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) - Estimate Surface Magnitude (MS) from Rupture Length (L)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Rupture Length
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Surface Magnitude
  

Equation 3 of Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) - Estimate Surface Magnitude (MS) from Rupture Length (L)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Rupture Length
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Surface Magnitude
  

Equation 11 of Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) - Estimate Moment Magnitude (MW) from Rupture Length (L)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Rupture Length
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Moment Magnitude
  

Equation 10 of Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) - Estimate Magnitude from lots of parameters - not yet working

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Rupture Length
km. Rupture Thickness
degrees Dip Angle
constant
constant
N m-2 Rigidity Modulus
ratio of average displacement (u) to fault length (L)
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Magnitude
  

Estimating Magnitude from an Isoseismal Map

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998) produced an equation to estimate Surface Magnitude (MS) from the average radii of isoseismals (ri) at a specific value of Intensity (Ii).

MS = −1.54+0.65(Ii)+0.0029(Ri)+2.14 log(Ri)+0.32p        (1)

where

  • Ri =(ri2+9.72)0.5
  • r, in kilometres, is the mean isoseismal radius of intensity I
  • p is zero for mean values and one for 84 percentile values (Ambraseys 1992).


Ambraseys and Jackson (1998:395-396) noted that with few exceptions, macroseismic data for the historical period are scanty and the magnitudes that can be calculated from eq. (1) are rather uncertain. They suggested in such cases to use the magnitude estimate to group earthquakes into three broad categories
  • V, very large events with M. values probably exceeding 8.0
  • L, large shocks of magnitude between 7.0 and 8.0
  • M, medium events with M. ranging between 6.0 and 7.0


Calculators
Estimate Surface Magnitude (MS) from Avg. radii of isoseismals (ri) at a specific value of Intensity (Ii)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Mean isoseismal radius for a given Intensity I
unitless The given Intensity
unitless p=0 for mean values. p=1 for 84 percentile values (Ambraseys, 1992)
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Surface Magnitude
  

References

Ambraseys, N., 1992. Soil mechanics and engineering seismology Invited Lecture, Proc. 2nd Natl. Conf. Geotechn. Eng., Thessaloniki, pp. xxi–xlii.

References

Ambraseys and Jackson (1998). "Faulting associated with historical and recent earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region." Geophysical Journal International 133(2): 390-406.

Ben-Menahem (1991)


Fig. 11. During the earthquake of November 25, 1759
(ML = 7.4), three columns of the collonade
of the Temple of "Jupiter Heliopolitanus" at Baalbeck
(Lebanon) fell or were dislodged. One of these is seen
here (from Ben-Menahem, 1991)

Estimated Seismic Parameters from Ben-Menahem (1991)
Name Date
(1759 CE)
Lat.
(°N)
Long.
(°E)
I0 ML Discussion
Safed Quake 30 Oct. 33.7 35.9 n/a 6.5 City walls [of Tiberias] overthrown. Great damage. Tsunami in the Sea of Galilee. Many casualties. This event preceded the major earthquake of November 25, 1759 which caused much less damage at Tiberias.
Baalbek Quake 25 Nov. 33.7 35.9 10-11 7.4 Great destruction at Baalbek. A part of Damascus destroyed. Damage area extends to Antioch and Jaffa. Safed. Many thousands perished in the Beka'a. A foreshock occurred on October 30. Only six columns of the colonnade of the temple of "Jupiter Heliopolitanus" at Baalbeck (the biblical Baalgad mentioned in Josh II, 17) remained standing after this earthquake. This temple was built by Emperor Antonius Pius in 150. It had originally 54 columns (h = 18.3 m, D = 2.5 m). Two fell during the local earthquake of 565 (ML = 6.7), one fell as a result of the local earthquake of 991 (ML = 6.5), 11 fell by the earthquakes of 1157 (Δ = 120 km) and 1170 (Δ = 90 km). Finally, 31 columns fell as a result of the local earthquake of 1202 (ML = 7.5), and three fell due to the 1759 event (ML = 7.4) (Figure 11).
Ben-Menahem's (1991) mysterious sources may be some combination of Ben-Menahem [1979], Avissar (1973), Amiran [1951], Ergin et al. [1967], Plassard and Kogoj [1968], Sieberg [1932a, 12], Willis [1928], and/or an unnamed source.

References

Ben-Menahem, A. (1991). "Four Thousand Years of Seismicity along the Dead Sea rift." Journal of Geophysical Research 96((no. B12), 20): 195-120, 216.

Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)

Figures

Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) analyzed macroseismic data based on original sources (rather than earthquake catalogs) and produced Magnitude Estimates for both the 30 Oct. Safed Quake and the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake. Their estimates are shown in the table below and some of their discussion are are shown in the collapsible panels below.
Name Type of Shock Date Local Time MS
Safed Quake Foreshock 30 Oct. 1759 CE 0345 ≈ 6.6
Baalbek Quake Main shock 25 Nov. 1759 CE 1923 ≈ 7.4
Original Sources

Sources of information included

  • British and French consular correspondence from Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt
  • diaries and letters written by merchants, clerics, and church officials
  • private correspondence of the Jewish communities in the region
  • reports and local histories written by contemporary observers and near-contemporary chroniclers
  • accounts left by travelers who visited the affected region shortly after the earthquake
  • press reports
    • Archives Historiques Ch. Comm. Marseille: AA/340/1759-60
    • Zalzal sanat 1173, edited by M. A. Dahman, in al-Mashriq, 42, 333-37, 1948
    • Archives Natl. Paris: B1/1032/1959-60
    • Edut bi-Jhossef, edited by Ben Zvi, Daron. 40, Jerusalem, 1933
    • Ahmad al-Budayri, Hawadith Dimashq al-yawmiyya, edited by A. I. Karim, Cairo, 1959
    • Findikli, Mur'it-tavanli, Bayazit Library MS.F.429, Istanbul
    • Dahman, M. A., Fi rihab Dimishq, published by Dar Al-Fukr in Damascus, 1982
    • Public Record Office, Archives British Legations: Levant Co. SP/110:36
    • Tarih-i Vasif, i:177, Istanbul, 1804
    • Yaari, A. Sinai: 28.349, Jerusalem, 1951
    • Vitaliano Donati, Giornale del viaggio, Bibl. Reale MS. 291, Torino

30 Oct. 1759 CE Safed Quake

It affected the region of Safad and a mountain area to the northeast where many villages were destroyed with the loss of about 2000 lives, mainly among the Metwalis and Amriyyas. Safad and Qunaitra (see Figures 1 and 2) were almost totally ruined, and many of the inhabitants were killed, while others left the towns. Damage extended to Saida, where a few houses collapsed, as well as to Saasaa, Nazareth, and Acre, where private and public buildings were ruined, but without casualties. In Damascus (one of the largest population centers in the region) and in the surrounding plain of Ghutah, the shock caused considerable concern and widespread minor damage. One or two houses collapsed, a few were damaged, and many were cracked. Many public buildings, particularly minarets (of mosques) and tall buildings, were damaged to the extent that repairs were needed after the earthquake, and the water supply of the city was affected by rock falls that blocked the Qanawat water supply channel. Farther away, damage was widespread, in Tiberias (see Figure 2) mainly because of foundation failures of houses built on soft ground and elsewhere because of landslides, but without loss of life. The shock was rather strongly felt as far as Antioch, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and Gaza (see Figure 2), and it was reported by sailing boats between Cyprus and Beirut. A seismic sea wave flooded Acre and the docks at Tripoli, but there was no apparent damage. This earthquake was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, some of which were felt as far as Aleppo, that added to the damage.

25 Nov. 1759 CE Baalbek Quake

It was of long duration, about 50 s, and almost totally destroyed all villages in a narrow zone extending to the northeast for about 120 km along the Litani and the Bekaa valleys into the upper reaches of the Orontes river in northwest Syria. The epicentral region of this earthquake comprised the meizoseismal area of the foreshock of October 30, where the destruction was cumulative. Contemporary sources mention over 100 places for which an assessment of damage can be made, on which basis Figure 2 was drawn. Safed, rebuilt after the first shock but with a much reduced population, was almost totally destroyed with loss of life. The Metwali settlements to the north were razed to the ground, and those in Bshara and in the Shouf region suffered likewise. Here many monasteries and cloisters were destroyed, and near Mukhtara and Mar Djordjos rock falls and landslides added to the damage. Destruction was equally heavy in the upper reaches of the Barada river at Serghaya and Hasbaya, and Baalbek was totally destroyed with great loss of life (see Figure 2). The stream that supplied water to Baalbek was dammed up, presumably by slides, and dried up for several days. Heavy damage extended to Ras Baalbek. The available evidence suggests that within this area of maximum damage the earthquake was associated with extensive faulting. It is said that as a result of the earthquake, a series of ground ruptures many yards wide were formed running continuously along the Bekaa valley, to the north of Baalbek as far as opposite Tripoli and to the southwest to the plain of Satern, a total distance of about 100 km. This and other contemporary descriptions of the effects of the earthquake clearly suggest faulting, at least 100 km long, the exact location and attitude of which is not possible to ascertain today. Most probably, however, the displacement occurred along the Yammouneh fault, which runs along the total length of the Bekaa valley (see Figure lb).

Farther away, damage was serious but nonuniform. Some of the places that had been damaged by the earthquake of October 30 were ruined, and others suffered varying degrees of damage, particularly the densely populated district of Damascus. Here, villages in the Ghutah and Marj around Damascus suffered mainly from foundation failures, a noticeable effect of the earthquake being the collapse of well shafts in the plains. In Damascus the shock caused great panic, several casualties, and considerable, but generally reparable, damage. Of the approximately 15,000 mainly adobe houses in the city, very few collapsed completely, but many were badly cracked. A large number of public buildings, the Umayyad mosque, other mosques and medreses (i.e., schools), gates, baths, and walls suffered different degrees of damage, some of them serious and leading to partial collapse. A few minarets were thrown down causing additional damage to adjacent houses, and many others were badly cracked. Part of the citadel in the center of the city crumbled into the Banas canal damming its flow, and narrow streets were blocked by the collapse of high adobe fencing walls. Many of the buildings that suffered most had already been damaged by the foreshock, particularly minarets and large domes of mosques. On higher ground, in the district of Salihiyeh (a suburb of Damascus), damage was more serious. However, overall damage and loss of life in the city seems to have been far less serious than some of the local reports imply. More sober accounts written by European consuls estimate the loss of life in Damascus at a few hundred lives, as compared to 6000-20,000 given by local sources, and internal evidence in these sources suggests that the shock was not in fact all that destructive. For example, the day after the earthquake the people were ordered to gather in mosques for prayers, and many camped on the roofs of their houses, an indication that most buildings remained intact.

The earthquake was strongly felt in Antioch and Ladhikiya (see Figure 2), causing some panic and the collapse of a number of old houses. In Aleppo, where the shock lasted almost 2 min, a few walls were fissured. Similar effects were reported from Tarba, Gaza, and Al Arish (Figure 2), and a few old khans (caravan stations) were damaged.

The shock was felt throughout Anatolia as far as Nakhichevan, 1100 km away, and in Egypt. A seismic sea wave associated with the earthquake was noted as far south as the Nile Delta, where the sea was discolored for many days, but it caused no damage there. In Acre, ships were thrown onto the shore, and there were some casualties.

The number of people killed in this earthquake is difficult to assess. Estimates made by various contemporary writers vary between 10,000 and 40,000. It is said that in the Bekaa valley alone 20,000 people were killed and as many in the Ghutah region of Damascus. Some of these figures refer only to losses of men, excluding women and children, and others refer generally to more than one district. It is reasonable to assume that the total loss of life was very considerable.

Aftershocks continued to be felt till August 1760. Of these, the shocks of November 26 and December 5, 12, and 30 caused additional damage and loss of life, mainly in the region of Baalbek, Tripoli, and Homs, and slight damage as far as Aleppo.

Figure 2 shows the generalized isoseismal map of the earthquake of November 25, 1759. Its epicentral region and probable fault break coincide with the stepover of the north-south trending Dead Sea fault system and also with the epicentral region of the earlier earthquake of May 20, 1202 (see Figure la).

Magnitude Assessment

JW: Sample numbers from Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989) below are for the 25 Nov. Baalbek Quake. Calculators are seeded with values to reproduce their assessment but input values can be adjusted allowing for experimentation. Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)'s Magnitude assessment now follows:

No earthquake of comparable magnitude has occurred in this part of the Middle East during the present century that can be used to calibrate the magnitude of the 1759 event. However, if we assume that this earthquake was associated with a 100-km-long, strike-slip fault break, we may assess the surface wave magnitude of the event from

MS = 4.63 + 1.43 log(L) (1)

where L is the observed or inferred length of faulting in km derived for earthquakes in the Middle East [Ambraseys, 1988]. In the present case, equation (1) predicts MS = 7.5. Alternatively, we may use the calibration formula based on the average radii of isoseismals Ri (in km) of intensity Ii (MSK) derived for Turkey, i.e.,

MF = —0.53 + 0.58(Ii) + 1.96x10-3(Ri) + 1.831 log(Ri) (2)

where MF is the equivalent felt magnitude to MS [Ambraseys and Finkel, 1987]. From the isoseismals in Figure 2 and using equation (2) we find the average magnitude to be MS = 7.2. Noticing that the isoseismals in Figure 2 are likely to be underestimated in an east-west direction because of the lack of data, an average value of MS = 7.4 seems reasonable. Equations (1) and (2) have also been used to assess magnitudes for the earthquakes shown in Table 1. We must add a word of warning. In deriving equation (2) the data from earthquakes in southeastern Turkey are very limited, so that this equation may not so accurately predict the attenuation of intensity in the northern part of the Dead Sea fault system. The indication from limited macro-seismic data for MS LT 6.5 in the southern part of the Dead Sea fault system is that attenuation there is slower than that given by equation (2) and that this equation may overestimate magnitudes by perhaps as much as 0.3 on average.

Calculators
Equation 1 - Estimate Surface Magnitude (MS) from Rupture Length (L)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Rupture Length
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Surface Magnitude
  

Equation 2 - Estimate Felt Magnitude (MF) from Average radii of isoseismals (Ri) at a specific value of Intensity (Ii)

Variable Input Units Variable Name
km. Average radii of isoseismals
unitless for a given Intensity
Variable Output Units Notes
unitless Felt Magnitude
  

References

Ambraseys, N. N. and M. Barazangi (1989). "The 1759 Earthquake in the Bekaa Valley: Implications for earthquake hazard assessment in the Eastern Mediterranean Region." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 94(B4): 4007-4013.

Abou Karaki (1987)

**G = 30 OCT. 1759, and 25 NOV 1759

A well documented crisis ...

- TAHA (pp 233-265), descriptions shock by shock...
In October, when no drop of rain had fallen so far..., a slight tremor was felt in Damascus followed by a second, then the earth shook violently,... The upper parts of almost all minarets of the mosques of Damascus fell,..., there was a lot of destruction and victims in Damascus and in the surrounding villages. The tremors followed one another... few trees remained standing. An epidemic broke out, the upper parts of the east and west minarets of the Umayyad Mosque fell. The tremors continued which caused the collapse of the eastern and northern walls of the eastern minaret the Umayyad mosque... around fifteen mosques are mentioned by name; the eastern wall of the Mosque "Al-MAZBOUR" cracked,..., last night, the earth shook in Safad, most of its inhabitants have perished ; a large part of Nablus was destroyed, and there were many casualties; a part of the tower of Acre fell into the Sea, Tiberias, Deir Hanna, the citadel of Al-Jandal, the country of Chouf and all the coastal cities, Sidon, Beirut, Tripoli, Latakia, Jaffa, Haifa, were affected, no villages in the Jabal-Druze were spared from the damage, the inhabitants of the coastal cities and the western zone took refuge in Damascus,..., then, on the evening of Monday, the 6th of the month Rabi II (Nov 25, 1759), the earthquake occurred. supreme, never known in the past,..., the eastern minaret we mentioned fell, on the side of the mosque, by destroying part of the 3 "Mihrabs", the majestic dome of the eagle fell as well as the entire northern part of the mosque, despite its well-built columns,...; there were a lot of victims this night in Damascus as well as in the villages of the surroundings in Tell there were victims; people have left Damascus and stayed 3 months in tents,..., the Umayyad mosque contains 3 minarets including the eastern called minaret of Isa (Jesus) son of Mary, peace be upon him..., the tremor of 30 OCT lasted 2 to 3 minutes,... that of 25 NOV lasted 4 minutes..., (TAHA)
numerous testimonies in TAHA, including that of an Archbishop... letter published in a newspaper etc..., also clarifications thanks to similar testimonies in the annals of Ksara (1956)..., 2,000 dead in Safad but the surrounding countryside is unscathed, several hundred dead in Damascus; in Baalbek, victims and damaged monuments... all the villages listed were also those more affected by the earthquake of March 16, 1956 (we will come back to this)...

Various phenomena that accompanied earthquakes...
  • a haze of dust emanated from the land which had suffered an abnormal drought this year
  • the spring of Maaser-Ech-Chouf has dried up
  • in the Jebal Miha above Mukhatara, the rocks have cracked
  • the fire would have "fallen" on the village of Beit Jinn (..., a village located 1 km from a volcano crater quaternary)..." (Ann. KSARA 1956)
  • ..., a large number of less strong tremors followed one another until JANUARY 1760 with probable displacement of the epicenter north to the country of Antioch. (Ann. KSARA 1956).


Estimated Seismic Parameters from Ben-Menahem (1979)
Date Lat. Long. I0 ML Source
30 OCT. 1759 33°N 35.5° E XI 6.5 BMl (Ben-Menahem, 1979)
25 NOV. 1759 33.8° N 36.2° E X-XI 6.8 BMl (Ben-Menahem, 1979)


- 7 shocks are mentioned in PTAH between OCT. 1759 and APR. 1760, Damascus (X - XI), then Quneitra, Homs, Antioch and 3 times Damascus without mention of intensity. We emphasize that this set of earthquakes was preceded by an abnormal drought (we will come back to this). Jackson et al. (1984), citing a personal communication from Ambraseys, mentions this event which would be associated with 100 km of surface rupture; the date given by these authors (1756) is incorrect.
French

** G = 30 OCT. 1759, et 25 NOV 1759

Une crise sur laquelle nous sommes particulièrement bien documentés...

- TAHA (pp 233-265), descriptions choc par choc...

En octobre, alors qu'aucune goutte de pluie n'était tombée jusque là..., une secousse légère a été ressentie à Damas suivie d'une deuxième, puis la terre a tremblé violemment,... Les parties supérieures de la quasi-totalité des minarets des mosquées de Damas sont tombées,..., il y a eu beaucoup de destructions et de victimes à Damas et dans les villages alentour. Les secousses se sont succédées... peu d'arbres sont restés debout. Une épidémie s'est déclarée, les parties supérieures des minarets Est et Ouest de la mosquée Ommeyade sont tombés. Les secousses se sont poursuivies ce qui a causé l'effondrement des murs Est et Nord du minaret oriental de la mosquée Ommeyade... une quinzaine de Mosquées sont nommément citées ; le mur oriental de la Mosquée "Al-MAZBOUR" s'est fissurée,..., cette nuit, la terre a tremblé à Safad, la majeure partie de ses habitants ont péri ; une grande partie de Naplouse a été détruite, et il y a eu beaucoup de victimes ; une partie de la tour d'Acre est tombée en Mer, Tiberias, Deir Hanna, la citadelle de Al-Jandal, le pays du Chouf et toutes les villes côtières, Sidon, Beyrouth, Tripoli, Lattaquié, Jaffa, Haifa, ont été touchés, aucun village du Jabal-Ed-Druz n'a été épargné par les dégâts, les habitants des villes côtières et de la zone occidentale se sont réfugiés à Damas,..., puis, le soir du lundi 6 du mois Rabi II (25 Nov 1759), survint la secousse s uprême, jamais connue dans le passé,..., le minaret oriental que nous avons mentionné est tombé, du côté de la mosquée, en détruisant une partie des 3 "Mihrabs", la majestueuse coupole de l'aigle est tombée ainsi que toute la partie Nord de la mosquée, malgré ses colonnes bien construites,... ; il y a eu beaucoup de victimes cette nuit à Damas ainsi que dans les villages des environs à Tell il y a eu des victimes ; les gens ont quitté Damas et sont restés 3 mois dans les tentes,..., la mosquée ommeyade contient 3 minarets dont l'oriental appelé minaret de Isa (Jésus) fils de Marie, que la paix soit avec lui l..., la secousse du 30 OCT a duré de 2 à 3 minutes,... celle du 25 NOV a duré 4 minutes..., (TAHA)
témoignages très nombreux dans TAHA, y compris celui d'un Archevêque... lettre publiée dans un journal etc..., également des précisions grâce à des témoignages similaires dans les annales de Ksara (1956)..., 2000 morts à Safad mais la campagne environnante est indemne, plusieurs centaine de morts à Damas ; à Baalbek, victimes et monuments endommagés... tous les villages énumérés ont été également les plus atteints par le séisme du 16 Mars 1956 (nous y reviendrons)...

Phénomènes divers ayant accompagné les séismes...
  • une brume de poussière s'est dégagée de la terre qui avait subi cette année' une sècheresse anormale
  • la source de Maaser-Ech-Chouf s'est tarie
  • dans le Jebal Miha au dessus de Mukhatara, les roches se sont crevassées
  • le feu serait "tombé" sur le village de Beit Jinn (..., village situé à 1 km d'un cratère de volcan quaternaire)..." (Ann. KSARA 1956),..., un grand nombre de secousses moins fortes se sont succédées jusqu'en JANVIER 1760 avec déplacement probable de l'épicentre vers le Nord jusqu'au pays d'Antioche. (Ann. KSARA 1956).
Date Lat. Long. I0 ML Source
30 OCT. 1759 33° N 35°,5 E XI 6,5 BMl (Ben-Menahem, 1979)
25 NOV. 1759 33°,8 N 36°,2 E X-XI 6,8 BMl (Ben-Menahem, 1979)
- 7 chocs sont mentionnés dans PTAH entre OCT. 1759 et AVR. 1760, Damas (X - XI), puis Quneitra, Homs, Antioche et 3 fois Damas sans mention d'intensité. Nous soulignons que cet ensemble de séismes a été précédé par une sècheresse anormale (nous y reviendrons). Jackson et al. (1984), citant une communication personnelle d'Ambraseys, mentionne cet événement qui serait associé à 100 km de rupture de surface ; la date donnée par ces auteurs (1756) est erronée.

References

Abou-Karaki, N. (1987). Synthèse et carte sismotectonique des pays de la bordure Orientale de la Méditerranée: sismicité du système de foilles du Jourdain – Mer Morte, University of Strasbourg, France. Ph.D. Diss.

Yaari (1951)

References

Yaari, A. (1951), ‘The Safed earthquake of 1759’, Sinai, 28, 349–363.

Wikipedia



Incorporate and/or Discard

Kagan et. al. (2011)



1759 A.D., October - Affected most of the Holy Land and Syria. Heavy destruction in Safed, Tiberias, Qunaitra (Syria). Tsunami in Sea of Galilee. Followed by series of strong aftershocks

Vadum Iacob fortress offset by 0.5 m [Ellenblum et al., 1998]. Buried stream channels at Bet-Zayda (northern Sea of Galilee) have been displaced by the Jordan fault are excavated by 3-D trenching and are dated to this event [Marco et al., 2005].

AR, Amiran et al. [1994];
AM3, Ambraseys [2009];
BM, Ben-Menahem [1991];
SB, Sbeinati et al. [2005];


1759 A.D., November - Baalbek temple destroyed. Damascus, Antioch and Jaffa damaged heavily.

Tiberias, already in a parlous state was ruined. (Two events in the same year, may be confusion between reports) (Ambraseys, 2009)


AR, Amiran et al. [1994];
AM3, Ambraseys [2009];
BM, Ben-Menahem [1991];

Zohar et. al. 2016



1759 Oct 30 (03:45)

Time Uncertainty n/a
Type of Quake Foreshock (Single?)
Reliability Very High
Zone central (Israel and southern Lebanon), North (northern Lebanon and Syria)
Most Damaged or felt locations Safed

Strong shock in northern Israel-Southern Lebanon in the area confined to Safed-Tiberias-Benot Ya'akov bridge and Quneitra. Ambraseys (2009): Probably a foreshock of the Nov 25 earthquake. Daeron et al. (2005) claim that this is not a foreshock but rather separate earthquake acting on the Rachaya segment.

Reported damaged localities

Akko
Quneitra
Benot Yaaqov Bridge
Sassa
Nazareth
Safed
Tiberias
Nablus

Estimated magnitude in previous studies

Ms ~ 6.6 Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)
6.5 Ben-Menahem (1991)

Average magnitude 6.5
Size degree Str
Casualties >10

1759 Nov 25 (19:23)

Time Uncertainty n/a
Type of Quake Foreshock, Main and Aftershocj
Reliability Very High
Zone Central (Israel and southern Lebanon), North (northern Lebanon and Syria)
Most Damaged or felt locations Litany, Northern Palestine

A most destructive earthquake that (Ambraseys (2009)) generated landslides, changes in water course and ground breakage in south Lebanon and northern Galilee (Ambraseys (2009)). Many reporting sources. Migowski et al. (2004) suggest it was recorded in lacustrine sediments along the Dead Sea shores

Reported damaged localities

Hula
Deir Hanna
Safed, Nabatiya
Nablus
Sassa
Hermon Mt.
Akko
Beit-Jann
Hasbaya
Deir Hanna
Quneitra
Caesarea
Marjuyun
Tiberias
Haifa
el-Rama

Estimated magnitude in previous studies

7.4 Migowski et al. (2004)
MS ~ 7.4 Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)
Ms = 7.4 Ambraseys and Jackson (1998), Wells and Coppersmith (1994)
7 <= M <= 7.2 Gomez et al. (2003)
7.4 Ben-Menahem (1991)

Average magnitude 7.3
Size degree Maj
Casualties >10

Paleoclimate - Droughts

References

References

Ambraseys (2009)

[1] ACCM Archives de la Chambre de Commerce de Marseilles

  • ACCM AA:340 (Seyde) 17.12.59; 28.12.59; 22.01.60.
[2] AGS Archivo General de Simancas
  • Seccion Estado, leg. 5875, piez. 14:7.2.1760.
[3] ANF AE Archives Nationales:
  • Arch. Affaires Etrangeres Paris
  • Bi/99 (Alexandrette) 24.12.59
  • Bi/1032.223-230 (Seyde) 22.12.59; Bi/1032. 246-247(Seyde) 28.12.59
  • Bi/1032. 248 (Seyde) 04.01.60; Bi/1032.285-290 (Seyde) 27.03.60
  • Bi/1120.14-26 (Tripoli) 04.02.60;Bi/1120. 46- 47 (Tripoli) 12.08.60; Bi/88.132-134 (Alep) 11.12.59
  • Bi/88.157-158 (Alep) 24.12.59
  • Bi/88.136-137 (Alep) 14.01.60
  • Bi/436.345-347 (Istanbul) 29.12.59
  • Bi/5 (Larnaka) 1759.
[4] ANR Annual Register
  • ANR Annual Register, London 1760, 86; 1761, 96-98
  • ANR Annual Register, London 1764, 102-106.
[5] AMAE CADN:
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 21.11.1759
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 07.12.1759
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 12.12.1759
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 24.12.1759
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 28.01.1760
  • Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes Turquie (Alep 4). 19.04.1760
  • Turquie (Seyde) 07.12.1759
  • Turquie (Seyde) 17.12.1759
  • Turquie (Tripoli) 18.12.1759, 18.01.1760
  • Turquie (Jerusalem) 25.02.1760; 31.03.1760; 22.03.1760
[6] ARG Allgemein. Rijksarch. 'S Gravenhage
  • ARG Allgemein. Rijksarch. 'S Gravenhage Legatie Turkije 393 (Aleppo) 11.12.59.
[7] BBA Basbakanlik Arivi
  • Basbakanlik Arivi Istanbul; BBA Ahkam D Sam-i serif 195; BBA D B5 M; BNE Bab-i Defteri, Bina Emini 15914; BBA CD Cevdet Dahiliye 1181 (20.05.1173); BBA CE Cevdet Evkaf Tasnifi 1823 (11.1173); 1596 (n.d.); 1823 (03.12.1173); 2219 (08.12.1773); BBA CM Cevdet Maliye 28549, 29081; BBA CN Cevdet Nafia 1038 (05.01.1172); BBA MD Miihimme Defteri 162:77-78 (04.1174); BBA MMD Maliyeden Miidevver Defterler 19198 6-8; 3160.2, 4-6, 7-9, 11-19, 29 30, 218, 282, 300-302, 542, 906 9999.272 (10.03.1184).
[8] BN Bibliotheque Nationale
  • BN Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris BN NAF 20236:115.
[9]PRO FO Public Records Office, Foreign Office Special Papers
  • Public Records Office, Foreign Office Special Papers, London; SP.110/36, 42, 47 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759 SP 110/36, 39 (Aleppo) 04.12.1759; SP 110/36, 41 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 42 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 44 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759; SP 110/36, 45 (Aleppo) 22.12.1759.
[10] WIL WMS
  • WIL WMS Ar. 274, fol. 166ab.
[11] Press reports:
  • PAN 1760, 86-87; 1761, 96-98, 1764, 102- 106
  • PES 1760, 358-360
  • PGF 1760, 105-106
  • PHB 1760, 13
  • PLC 1760, 249, 550
  • PMDF 1760, 3:210-211
  • PMHP 1760, 2:141, 3:240-242
  • Nederlandsch Post-Ryder 1760, 229-232, 349-350
  • PNP 1760, 229-232, 349-350
[12] Papers:
  • Albini and Stucchi (1992)
  • Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)
  • Anonymous (1760a, b, c)
  • Anonymous (1787)
  • Anonymous (1956)
  • Bachiene (1766)
  • al-Bidiri, in Taher (1974)
  • Bramsen (1818)
  • Braik (1982)
  • al-Budayiri (1959)
  • Burton and Drake (1872, i. 37, 96)
  • Charles-Roux (1928)
  • Clouzot (1914)
  • Cousinery (1760)
  • Daeron et al. (2005)
  • Dahmaan (1948, 1982)
  • Dienner (1886)
  • Donati (1759)
  • F.C.H.R. (1927)
  • Findikli (1978)
  • Golubovich (1922)
  • Guys (1822)
  • Hakobyan (1956)
  • Ibn al-Ghazzi (1948)
  • Kitto (1844, i. 89-90)
  • Lemmens (1898, 1304-307, 337-342)
  • Maas (1775, iv. 134)
  • Mariti (1792, i. 352-354)
  • al-Muradi 83)
  • Paulian (1761, iii. 341)
  • Rabbi Simha (1946, 382-423)
  • Rabbi Yosef (1971, 286-301)
  • Rafeq (1966, 227)
  • Rivkind (1928, 124-125)
  • Russell (1769, 529-531)
  • Skaf (1975, 286-287)
  • Squire (1820, 304-307)
  • Taher (1974/5, 52-108)
  • Thiollet (1977, 176)
  • al'Umari (f. 242v)
  • Vasif (Tarih, i. 177-178)
  • Volney (1787, i. 304, ii. 187, 212, 238-47, 269-271)
  • Yaari (1946, 382-423; 1951, 28, 349-363)


Ambraseys and Barazangi (1989)

  • British and French consular correspondence from Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt
  • diaries and letters written by merchants, clerics, and church officials
  • private correspondence of the Jewish communities in the region
  • reports and local histories written by contemporary observers and near-contemporary chroniclers
  • accounts left by travelers who visited the affected region shortly after the earthquake
  • press reports
    • Archives Historiques Ch. Comm. Marseille: AA/340/1759-60
    • Zalzal sanat 1173, edited by M. A. Dahman, in al-Mashriq, 42, 333-37, 1948
    • Archives Natl. Paris: B1/1032/1959-60
    • Edut bi-Jhossef, edited by Ben Zvi, Daron. 40, Jerusalem, 1933
    • Ahmad al-Budayri, Hawadith Dimashq al-yawmiyya, edited by A. I. Karim, Cairo, 1959
    • Findikli, Mur'it-tavanli, Bayazit Library MS.F.429, Istanbul
    • Dahman, M. A., Fi rihab Dimishq, published by Dar Al-Fukr in Damascus, 1982
    • Public Record Office, Archives British Legations: Levant Co. SP/110:36
    • Tarih-i Vasif, i:177, Istanbul, 1804
    • Yaari, A. Sinai: 28.349, Jerusalem, 1951
    • Vitaliano Donati, Giornale del viaggio, Bibl. Reale MS. 291, Torino

References

Albini, P., Stucchi, M. (1992), ‘A document from the Archivo General de Simancas about the 1759 earthquake in Syria’, Proceedings of the Regional Workshop on Archaeoseismicity in the Mediterranean Region, Damascus, pp. 60–61.

Anonymous (1760a), ‘Lettre d’un negocient Francais’, Gazette de France, no. 9, pp. 1–4.

Anonymous (1760b), ‘Lettres de divers lieues de la Syrie’, Gazette de France, no. 10, pp. 118–120.

La Gazette de France 1759

La Gazette de France 1760

Anonymous (1760c), Correspondence, The London Chronicle, no. 501, pp. 249, 550, London.

Anonymous (1787), Viaggio da Gerusaleme per le coste della Soria 1767, vol. 1, Livorno, p. 114

Anonymous (1956), Note d’histoire seismique; les seismes de ´ 1759 au Liban, Ksara: Observatoire de Ksara

Bachiene W. A. (1766–75), Historische und geographische Beschreibung von Palastina, 7 volumes, Leipzig.

al- Bidiri, in Taher (1974)

Taher, M. A. (1974), ‘Traite de la fortification des demeures ´ contre l’horreur des seismes’, ´ Annales Islamologiques, 12, 131–159

Bramsen vid (1818), Promenades d’un voyageur prussien, vol. 1, Paris

Braik, Mikha’il (1982), Ta’rikh al-Sham 1720–1782, Damascus, pp. 78–82.

al-Budayyri, Ahmed, al-Hallaq, Hawadith Dimashq al-yawmiyah, ed. A. I. Abd al-Karim, Cairo, 1959, pp. 222–227, 233

Burton, R., Drake, C. F. (1872), Unexplored Syria, London

Burton, R., Drake, C. F. (1872), Unexplored Syria, London

Charles-Roux, C. (1928), Les echelles de Syrie et de Palestine au ´ XVIII-e siecle ` , pp. 209–211, Paris

Clouzot, E. (1914), ‘Une enquete seismologique au XVIII ´ siecle’, ` La Geographie ´ , 29, 1–22

Cousinery, M. (1760), ‘Sur un tremblement de terre en Syrie’, Hist. Acad. Royal Sci. 23, 4; also Coll. Academ., 12, 97, 1786

Dahmaan, M. A. (1948), ‘Les tremblements de terre de 1173/1759 a Damas et dans ses environs’, ` al-Mashriq, 42, 333–347.

Dahmaan, M. A. (1982), Fi rihab Dimashk, Damascus: Dar al-Fukr.

Dienner, C. (1886), Libanon, Grudlinien der physischen Geographie etc., Vienna: A. Holder, pp. 255–262

Donati, V. (1759), Giornale del viaggio fatto in Levante nell’anno 1759, MS Biblioteca Reale di Torino, varie 291, vol. 1, fols. 67–72.

F.Ch.R. (1927), ‘Le tremblement de terre de Syrie en 1759’, Revue de l'Histoire des Colonies Francaises 15, 591–594.

Findikli, Suleyman Efendi, Semdanizadeh, ¨ Mur ’it-Tevanli ¨ , BL MS f. 429a, modern Turkish text, ed. M. Aktepe, vol. 2A, p. 34, Istanbul, 1978

Golubovich, G. (1922), Biblioteca bio-bibliographica della Terra Santa e dell’Oriente Francescano, vol. 1, Florence, p. 175.

Guys, C. E. (1822), ‘Le tremblement de terre qui a bouleverse´ la Haute-Syrieen aout 1822’, ˆ Bull. Soc. Geogr ´ ., 1, 301–305.

Hakobyan, V. A. (1951, 1956), Manr zamanakagrut’yunner XIII–XVIII dar (Armenian short chronicles, thirteenth–eighteenth centuries), 2 volumes, Erevan

Ibn al-Ghazzi (n.d.), Nahr al-dhahab fi ta’rikh Halab, 3:302, Aleppo

Kitto, J. (1844), History of Palestine and the Holy Land, vol. 1, London, pp. 89–90. - lots of excerpts starting on page lxxxix

Lemmens, H. J. (1898), ‘Al-zalazal fi Suriyah’, al-Mashriq, 1, 304–307, 337–342.

Maas, G. A. (1775), Historische Beschreibung von Palastina ¨ , vol. 4, p. 13.

Mariti, G. (1792), Travels through Cyprus, Syria and Palestine, vol. 1, Dublin, pp. 352–354.

al-Muradi, U., Silk al-durr, iii.83, in Damaan, 1982

Paulian, A. H. (1761), Dictionnaire de physique, vol. 3, Avignon, p. 341.

Rabbi Simha b. Yehosjua (1946), Travels, ed. A. Yaari, pp. 382–423.

Rabbi Yosef Sofer (1971), Iqrot Eretz Israel, ed. A. Yaari, Massada: Ramat-Gan, pp. 286–301.

Rafeq (1966, 227)

Rivkind, Y. (1928), Dapim Bodedim, Jerusalem, pp. 124–125.

Russell, P. (1760), ‘An account of the late earthquake in Syria’, Phil. Trans. 51, 529–534.

Skaf, A. (1975), ‘Fi zikra al-zalzala’, al-Rissala al-Muhallisiya, 24, 286–287.

Squire Col. (1820), Travels through Part of the Ancient Syria and Syria Salutaris, London: R. Walpole

Taher, M. A. (1974), ‘Traite de la fortification des demeures ´ contre l’horreur des seismes’, ´ Annales Islamologiques, 12, 131–159

Thiollet, D. (1977), La nation francaise de Tripoli au XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles, These, Universite de Paris V.

[al-‘Umari, Muhammad Amin, Manhal al-auliya (M), ed. Sa’id Diwahchi, Mosul, 1967.]

al-‘Umari, Yasin al-Khatib, Al-athar al-jaliya fi ’l-hawadith al-ardiya, MS, Iraq Academy, Baghdad; also BL Or. 6300.

Vasif, Ahmed, Mehasin al-asar ve hakaik al-ahbar, 4 volumes, MS, Hazine 1405, Topkapi Sarayi, Istanbul and ed. M. Ilgurel, Istanbul, 1978, also MS TY 5979, UIL, ¨ Istanbul.

Volney, C. F. (1787), Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte 1783–5, vol. 1, p. 304; vol. 2, pp. 187, 212, 238–247, 269–271. - ck also p 178

[Rabbi Simha b. Yehosjua (1946), Travels, ed. A. Yaari, pp. 382–423]

Yaari, A. (1946), Masaot Eretz-Israel, Tel-Aviv: Gazit, pp. 382–423.

Yaari, A. (1951), ‘The Safed earthquake of 1759’, Sinai, 28, 349–363.





















Mercure de France

Antonopolous (1980) cites Mercure de France for a tsunami and/or earthquake report on 30 Oct. 1759 CE. His catalog entry is as follows

21. 1759 October 30. Coasts of Israel and Lebanon Acre (H = 2.50 m) (M = IV)

Ref: Mercure de France, Paris (December 1759), Gazette de France, Paris (March 1st, 8th, 1760), Mercure de France, Paris (February 1769).
The Gazette de France issues are in the textual evidence section but I could not easily find the earthquake and/or tsunami reports in the Mercure de France issues. The relevant Mercure de France issues are in the collapsible panels below as embedded scrollable documents.
December 1759

February 1769