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Project:

Reduction of Earthquake Losses in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Leaders: U.S. Geological Survey:
Michael P. Foose, mfoose@usgs.gov
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:
Soren Malling, s.malling@unesco.org,
Overview: The Eastern Mediterranean Region has experienced many destructive earthquakes that have caused enormous losses in deaths and injuries, structural damage, and socio-economic disruption. In 1992, the USGS joined with UNESCO to develop a program dedicated to the Reduction of Earthquake Losses in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (RELEMR). The purpose of RELEMR was to assess, evaluate, and help reduce expected earthquake losses in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Since 1991, RELEMR has held more than 17 meetings and three training courses that have been attended by scientists from Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, 8 European countries, and the United States. These meetings have two primary objectives. The first is to better understand the seismicity of the eastern Mediterranean through the exchange of data and cooperative studies. The second is this increased understanding and other geological data to estimate the potential ground shaking intensities that seismic events may produce. These two goals can be subdivided into 4 activities. These are:
  1. Seismotectonic framework studies using geological, geophysical, geodetic, seismological archaeological and historical techniques to improve understanding of the cause and nature of the seismicity.
  2. Earthquake monitoring using modern seismograph networks and strong-motion instrument arrays to determine earthquake parameters and characteristics.
  3. Assessment of earthquake hazard to estimate locations, recurrence intervals and effects of future earthquakes.
  4. Assessment of risks to evaluate potential losses

Some of the most recent accomplishments of RELEMR include the:
  1. Contribution to the Global Seismic Hazard map (see illustration) that shows earthquake hazards in the eastern Mediterranean.
  2. With the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development and in conjunction with RELEMR, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority produced a detailed seismic hazard map for the area surrounding the Dead Sea rift zone (see illustration). This project was intended to develop a map that would provide the necessary seismological data for the implementation of building codes and regulations that would mitigate earthquake-related losses.
  3. RELEMR was involved in the November 1999 seismic calibration shot in the Dead Sea. This shot involved the sub surface detonation of 5,000 kg of explosives (see illustration) and produced a magnitude 4.0 seismic event that was detected over 4,000 km from the Dead Sea. The intent of this work was to better characterize the seismic velocities in the earth's crust within the Middle East Region.
The most recent RELEMR meeting was held in May 2002 in Cyprus. The next meeting is planned to be held in Turkey early in December 2002.


project locations

seismic map

buoy testing
USGS Mission
Tie In:
The USGS is committed to using its scientific skills to provide assistance to developing countries. RELEMR returns this commitment by giving the US a better understanding of the seismic hazard to seismically active parts of the US, such as western California.

Discipline: Geology
Locations: Eastern Mediterranean
Web Sites: Middle East Regional Cooperation
Reducing Earthquake Losses in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Partners:
Participants include: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.

 
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