3D modeling of seismic waves propagation in the Israeli continental shelf: soft sediments, buried canyons and their effects.

Michael Tsesarsky, O. Volk, S. Shani-Kadmiel, Z. Gvirtzman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Sedimentary wedges underlay many coastal areas, specifically along passive continental margins. Although a large portion of the world`s population is concentrated along coastal areas, relatively few studies investigated the seismic hazard related to internal structure of these wedges. This is particularly important, when the passive margin is located in proximity to active plate boundaries. Sedimentry wedges have low angles compared to fault bounded basins, hence commonly treated using 1D methods. In various locations the sedimentary wedges are transected by deep buried canyons typically filled with sediments softer than their surrounding bedrock. Such structures are found is the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Here, a sedimentary wedge and buried canyons underlay some of the country's most densely populated regions. Seismic sources can be found both at sea and on land at epicentral distances ranging from 50 to 200 km. Although this region has a proven seismic record, it has, like many other parts of the world, limited instrumental coverage and long return periods. This makes assessment of ground motions in a future earthquake difficult and highlights the importance of non-instrumental methods. We employ numerical modeling (SW4 FD code) to study seismic ground motions and their amplification atop the sedimentary wedge and canyons. This goal is a part of a larger objective aiming at developing a systematic approach for distinction between individual contributions of basin structures to the highly complex overall basin response. We show that the sedimentary wedge and buried canyon both exhibit a unique response and modeling them as one-dimensional structures could significantly underestimate seismic hazard. The sedimentary wedge exhibit amplification ratios, relative to a horizontally layered model, up to a factor of 2. This is mainly due to the amplification of Rayleigh waves traveling into the wedge from its thin side. The buried canyon structure shows a simple, "easy to use" response with considerably high PGV values and amplification ratios of up to 3 along its axis. This response is due to a geometrical focusing effect caused by the convex shape of the canyon's floor. The canyon's response is significant even where the canyon is buried deep under the surface.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2016
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • 7212 Earthquake ground motions and engineering seismology


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