Journal of Seismology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 267–276 | Cite as

Present-day seismicity, stress field and crustal deformation of Egypt

  • Ahmed Badawy


In this study we investigate present-day seismicity and crustal deformation of Egypt based on a comprehensive earthquake catalog from 1900 to 2004 by focal mechanism stress inversion and by recent GPS observations. Spatial distribution of earthquake epicenters indicates that Egypt has been suffered from both interplate and intraplate earthquakes. Most earthquake activity (more than 70%) has been concentrated in northern Egypt along the geologically documented borders of Sinai subplate (northern Red Sea and its two branches Suez rift and Aqaba–Dead Sea transform). The majority of inland earthquake focal mechanisms in Egypt are normal with strike-slip component or strike-slip faulting events. Only a small minority, namely four events, exhibits reverse faulting. The inversion method of Gephart and Forsyth (1984) was applied to calculate the orientation of the principle stress axes and the shape of the stress tensor. The best fitting tensor in Egypt shows homogeneity stress field. The tension stress regime is dominant in northern Egypt. The stress directions are well resolved by the 95% confidence limits, the relative stress magnitude has a value of about 0.3. However, along southern Egypt the strike-slip regime is dominant. The shape factor (R-value) is 0.5, which means that the deviatoric components of σ1 and σ3 are of the same magnitude, but of opposite signs. The average horizontal velocity of GPS stations in Egypt is 5.15± 1.1 mm/year in mostly NNW direction. The results of deformation analysis indicate that the northern Egypt is deformed more than the southern part. Only the Egyptian-Mediterranean coastal–Nile Delta zone dominates as a compression deformation area. However, an extensional deformation has been observed throughout the rest of country. This means that the relative motion of African plate with respect to both Eurasian and Arabian has highly controlled the deformation processes in Egypt.


seismicity focal mechanisms stress inversion GPS crustal deformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG)CairoEgypt

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