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Migowski Quake II

~175 AD

by Jefferson Williams

Introduction & Summary

Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned a 0.66 cm. thick seismite from the 1997 GFZ/GSI En Gedi core to a date of ~175 AD. A seismic event was also observed in trenches near Bet Zayda whose modeled ages also suggest an earthquake around 175 AD. Although there is no known historically reported earthquake in Judea around 175 AD, this was a time period in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt which led to the Jewish diaspora and well before the Roman Empire patronized Christianity and various authors paid attention to this part of the world. Hence, it should not be surprising that the sources are silent. Thus, despite a lack of textual information, paleoseismic evidence suggests an earthquake struck around this time.

Textual Evidence

Although the historical sources are silent about this possible earthquake, it should be noted that the historical sources are generally silent about all earthquakes in the southern Levant in the 2nd century AD. We do not have a source like Josephus for this time frame. It was not until Emperor Constantine (306 - 337 AD) patronized Christianity that we begin to have extant historical sources paying attention to this part of the world.

Archeoseismic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence

Paleoseismic Evidence is summarized below:

Location Status Intensity Notes
Bet Zayda possible
En Gedi possible 8 0.66 cm. thick seismite

Each site will now be discussed separately.

Bet Zayda

Wechsler at al. (2014) report modeled ages of 137 - 206 CE for event CH4-E5. Although they suggested the Eusebius Mystery Quake as a possible historical report for Event CH4-E5, there are doubts whether the Eusebius Mystery Quake was recorded accurately in time and/or space. A ~175 AD earthquake fits well within the modeled ages for Event CH4-E5 and suggests an earthquake struck Judea around this time.

Bet Zeyda Earthquakes
Figure 9

Probability density functions for all paleoseismic events, based on the OxCal modeling. Historically known earthquakes are marked by gray lines. The age extent of each channel is marked by rectangles. There is an age uncertainty as to the age of the oldest units in channel 4 (units 490-499) marked by a dashed rectangle. Channel 1 refers to the channel complex studied by Marco et al. (2005).

Wechsler at al. (2014)

En Gedi (DSEn)

Migowski et. al. (2004) assigned a 0.66 cm. thick seismite at a depth of 255 cm. (2.55 m) to a date of ~175 AD.


Paleoclimate - Droughts


Migowski and C. (2004). "Recurrence pattern of Holocene earthquakes along the Dead Sea transform revealed by varve-counting and radiocarbon dating of lacustrine sediments." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 222(1): 301-314.

Migowski, C. (2001). Untersuchungen laminierter holozaner Sedimente aus dem Toten Meer: Rekonstruktionen von Palaoklima und -seismizit. Scientific Technical Report STR02/06. Potsdam, Germany, GeoForschungsZentrum: 99.

Wechsler, N., et al. (2014). "A Paleoseismic Record of Earthquakes for the Dead Sea Transform Fault between the First and Seventh Centuries C.E.: Nonperiodic Behavior of a Plate Boundary Fault." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.