List of earthquakes in the Levant

This is a list of earthquakes in the Levant, including earthquakes that either had their epicenter in the Levant or caused significant damage in the region. As it is now, the list is focused on events which affected the territories of modern-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria and to some degree the adjacent areas of South Anatolia, Cyprus island and the Sinai Peninsula (modern Turkey, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus and Egypt).

Seismic hazard for the Eastern Mediterranean from the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP) in terms of peak ground acceleration with a 10% chance of being exceeded (or a 90% chance of not being exceeded) within the next 50 years

Seismic hazardEdit

The Jordan Rift Valley is the result of tectonic movements within the Dead Sea Transform (DSF) fault system. The DSF forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. The Golan Heights and all of Transjordan are part of the Arabian Plate, while the Galilee, The Palestinian Territories, Coastal Plain and Negev along with the Sinai Peninsula are on the African Plate. This tectonic disposition leads to relatively high seismic activity in the region.


The region has experienced many earthquakes, the most destructive ones being those of 31 BCE, 363 CE, 749 CE, and 1033 CE.[citation needed] The 1759 events, along with the earlier 1202 Syria earthquake, are likely the strongest historical earthquakes in the region.[1] Some of the earthquakes were also followed by a tsunami - notably in 92 BCE, 115, 306, 502, 551, 881, 1202.

Historic quakes in Bronze and Iron AgesEdit

  • c.1700 BCE - the Canaanite palace of Tel Kabri destroyed in a major seismic event[2]
  • c.1500/1400 BCE - the city of Jericho destroyed and abandoned upon a major seismic event[3]
  • c.1365 BCE - A supposed violent earthquake that is claimed to have hit Ugarit in the Bronze Era is based on misinterpreting the evidence, especially Amarna letter 151 which actually only says that half of the royal palaced was destroyed by fire. The layer of destruction of Ugarit supposed to represent archaeological evidence for the catastrophe[4] is now redated to ca. 1250 BCE.[5]
  • c.8th century BCE - a major earthquake described in the book of Amos, affecting ancient Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah[6]

Major earthquakesEdit

Minor earthquakes (below 6.0)Edit

  • 1898 – Haifa damaged by earthquake[9]
  • 1956 – Chim earthquake: In the south of Lebanon in the Chouf District; 6,000 homes destroyed, and another 17,000 damaged; 136 persons killed. Magnitude - 5.3-5.5 Mw .
  • 2008 – A 5.1 Mw  earthquake shook South Lebanon, causing ten injuries, power outages and some building damage on February 15. Of several hundred responses to the USGS' "Did you feel it?" system, three reports from northern coastal Israel indicated that a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong) was observed there. The oblique-slip shock was also felt lightly in Jerusalem, Nicosia, and Amman.[31]
  • 2020 – A series of 4.7 Mw  earthquakes occurred at a depth of 20 kilometers in the eastern Mediterranean near Burj Islam, Syria.[32][33]
  • 2022 – An earthquake registering slightly more than 4.1 Mw  just over a mile below the surface, centered northeast of Beit She'an, south of the Sea of Galilee, is felt throughout Israel; no injuries or damage are reported.[34]


  1. ^ a b Daeron et al. 2005, p. 529
  2. ^ "Ancient earthquake may have caused destruction of Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri -- ScienceDaily".
  3. ^ "Seismic Solution for Jericho's Collapsing Walls | David Nabhan | The Blogs". 2019-02-12. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  4. ^ "(PDF) The Historical Earthquakes of Syria: An Analysis of Large and Moderate Earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D". Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  5. ^ . Wyatt, National Memory, Seismic Activity at Ras Shamra and the Composition of the Ugaritic Baal Cycle, Ugarit-Forschungen 48 (2017), p. 551-591, there p. 555-557.
  6. ^ "Fact-checking the Book of Amos: There was a huge quake in eighth century B.C.E. - Archaeology". Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i John L. McKenzie S. J. (1995). Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-684-81913-6.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Walter Hays (2013). "2013 Review of notable earthquakes in the Mediterranean region". University of Pittsburgh.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Avner Rabban; Kenneth G. Holum, eds. (1996). Caesarea Maritima: A retrospective after two millennia. Documenta et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui, V. 21 (Book 21). Brill. p. 23. ISBN 9789004103788.
  10. ^ Josephus Flavius (2009). "Chapter 19-4" (PDF). The wars of the Jews or history of the destruction of Jerusalem.
  11. ^ Williams, Jefferson; Schwab, Markus; Brauer, A. (2011). "An early first-century earthquake in the Dead Sea". International Geology Review. 54 (10): 1219. Bibcode:2012IGRv...54.1219W. doi:10.1080/00206814.2011.639996. S2CID 129604597.
  12. ^ "late Roman period -".
  13. ^ Sharon, 1997, p. 79
  14. ^ "Joshua the Stylite, Chronicle composed in Syriac in AD 507". 1882. pp. 1–76.
  15. ^ a b Mohamed Reda Sbeinati; Ryad Darawcheh; Mikhail Mouty (2005). "The historical earthquakes of Syria: an analysis of large and moderate earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D." Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 48, N. 3, June 2005. pp. 381, 389–391, 410.
  16. ^ Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. p. 518. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
  17. ^ Negev, Avraham; Gibson, Shimon (2001). Abila. Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land. New York and London: Continuum. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0-8264-1316-1.
  18. ^ Gülru Neci̇poğlu, Julia Bailey, ed. (2009). Frontiers of Islamic Art and Architecture: Essays in Celebration of Oleg Grabar's Eightieth Birthday. Muqarnas, Volume XXV. Brill. p. 82, note 14. ISBN 9789004173279.
  19. ^ a b Amiran, D.H.K.; Arieh, E.; Turcotte, T. (1994). "Earthquakes in Israel and adjacent areas: macroseismic observations since 100 B.C.E.". Israel Exploration Journal. 44 (3/4): 260–305 [267]. JSTOR 27926357.
  20. ^ St. Laurent, Beatrice; Riedlmayer, András (1993). "Restorations of Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock and their political significance, 1537–1928" (PDF). In Necipoğlu, Gülru (ed.). Muqarnas. Vol. 10: Essays in Honor of Oleg Grabar. Leiden: Brill. pp. 76–84 [31]. doi:10.2307/1523174. JSTOR 1523174.
  21. ^ "The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project".
  22. ^ National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS): NCEI/WDS Global Significant Earthquake Database. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. "Significant Earthquake Information". doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  23. ^ History Archived 2015-11-21 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Altshuler, M. The Messianic secret. Chapter 8: The beginning of redemption in Galilee.Hebrew: ספר – הסוד המשיחי [1]
  25. ^ Ambraseys, Nicolas N. (1997), "The earthquake of 1 January 1837 in Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel" (PDF), Annals of Geophysics, Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, XL (4): 929, doi:10.4401/ag-3887
  26. ^ Kallner-Amiran, D. H. "A Revised Earthquake Catalog of Palestine". Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  27. ^ a b Wachs, Daniel; Levitte, Dov (June 1978), Damage Caused By Landslides During the Earthquakes of 1837 and 1927 in the Galilee Region, Geological Survey of Israel
  28. ^ Palestine Square (11 July 2016). "And the Land Lurched Forth: Remembering the 1927 Jericho Earthquake". Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS). Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  29. ^ Duff, Douglas V. (1934) Sword for Hire. The Saga of a Modern Free-Companion. John Murray, London. 1st Edition. pp.219–227
  30. ^ "Strong quake knocks down buildings in Turkey and Syria; shaking felt across Israel". The Times of Israel. 6 February 2023. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  31. ^ USGS. "M 5.1 – Lebanon – Syria region". United States Geological Survey (USGS).
  32. ^ "Earthquake shakes Lebanon and Syria". Arab News. 3 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Another Level 4 Earthquake Was Felt in Lebanon Today". 15 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Israel: Earthquake Felt Throughout The Country". I24news. 2022-01-23.