Temple of the High Places in Petra Temple of the High Places in Petra

Note vertical Fractures causing a slight displacement of the steps. This may have been caused by an undated seismic event.

Subsequent precipitation in the joints and erosion indicates that the displacement is not recent and dateable via OSL or chemical means.

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photo by Jefferson Williams

Undated potential Earthquake evidence

Ben-Menahem (1979:259) and Ben-Menahem (1991:20198) report that three structures in the Araba were fortified to withstand earthquakes between the years 9 BCE and 50 CE. This could reflect indirect evidence of a recent earthquake; primarily due to a Nabatean pattern of quickly repairing structures after earthquakes during this prosperous period. He locates these structures in Petra, Tel el Haliefe, and Wadi Ramm. His references were Avi-Yonah (1975) Vol III and IV and Gleuck (1943).

Unfortunately, Ben-Menahem (1979:259) and Ben-Menahem (1991:20198) did not specify which structure at Petra was fortified. He may have been referring to the “Temple of the High Places” but absent specific information, it is not possible to assess this claim. Although there is potential archeoseismic evidence at the site (i.e. fractures in the steps and platform), the potential evidence is undated.

Notes and Further Reading