Seismotectonic and seismological aspects of the Mostaganem (Western Algeria) May 22, 2014 (Mw 4.9) seismic event

  • M. Abbouda
  • Y. Bouhadad
  • A. Benfedda
  • A. Slimani
Original Paper


On Thursday, 22 of May 2014, at 6 h 22 min 0.3.3 s (GMT + 1) a moderate-sized earthquake struck the Mostaganem, Western Algeria, region. The main shock, recorded by many international and national seismological stations, was preceded by a foreshock, 3 hours before, on May 22, 2014 (Ml = 4.1) at 3 h 57 min 41.4 s and followed by four well-felt aftershocks (M > 3.0) that lasted about 1 year. The main shock did not cause loss of lives but serious panic among the population was reported. The main shock, however, caused cracks in walls and roofs, sometimes destroyed, the old non-engineered and precarious adobe dweller corresponding to I0 = VI–VII (Msk scale). We used accelerograph records to (i) determine the epicenter location (longitude = 0.3537 E, latitude = 35.8598 N, (ii) perform waveforms inversion to calculate the earthquake parameters. The obtained results are, respectively, the seismic moment (M0) = 2.71 E + 16, the Mw = 4.9 and the focal depth = 6 km. The obtained focal mechanism solution shows reverse faulting with small right lateral component with the following nodal plans: NP1, strike = 193.5, dip = 49.5, slip = 57.6 and NP2, strike = 57.8, dip = 50, slip = 122.1. On the other hand, the seismotectonic framework of the Dahra area exhibits a serie of NE-SW trending “en echelon” faulted folds that may be active as suggested by this study.


Earthquake Faulted folds Accelerograph records Waveforms inversion Western Algeria 



This work is a part of the research activities in the National Center of Applied Research in earthquake engineering (CGS). We would like also to thank the engineering seismology team in charge of maintaining the accelerograph network.


  1. Abbouda, M., 2015, Néotectonique dans le bassin du Chéliff: Cas de la structure du Djebel Meni. Thèse de Magister, USTHB, p.137Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, R. Van Vleck, 1936, Geology in the Coastal Atlas of Western Algeria. Geological Society of America. Memoir. 4 (pp. 450)Google Scholar
  3. Aoudia A, Meghraoui M (1995) Seismotectonics in the Tell Atlas of Algeria: the Cavaignac (Abou el Hassan) earthquake of August 25, 1922 (MS=5.9). Tectonophysics 248(3-4):263–276. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Argus DF, Gordon RG, De Mets C, Stein S (1989) Closure of the Africa-Eurasia-North America plate motion circuit and tectonics of the Glauria-fault. J of Geophysi Res 94(B5):5585–5602. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayadi, A., and Bezzeghoud, M. 2015, Seismicity of Algeria from 1365 to 2013: maximum observed intensity map (MOI 2014). Seismol Res Lett, 86(1),
  6. Belabbes, S., Meghraoui, M., Cakir, Z., Bohadad Y., 2009, InSAR analysis of the moderate size Ain Témouchent (Algeria) blind thrust earthquake (22/12/1999), Mw = 5.7. Journal of seismology,
  7. Beldjoudi H., 2011, Etude de la sismicité du nord de l’Algérie. PhD dissertation, University Abou Bakr Belkaid, Tlemcen, 2011. p.148Google Scholar
  8. Beldjoudi, H., Delouis, B., Djellit, H., Yelles-Chaouche, A., Gharbi, S., Abacha, I., (2016), The Beni-Ilmane (Algeria) seismic sequence of May 2010: seismic sources and stress tensor calculations,
  9. Benfedda A, Abbes k, Bouziane D, Bouhadad Y, Slimani A, Larbes S, Haddouche D, Bezzeghoud M (2017) The August 1st, 2014 (Mw 5.3) moderate earthquake: evidence for an active thrust fault in the bay of Algiers (Algeria). Pure Appl Geophys 174(3):1503–1511. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Benhammouche A, Nedjari A, Bouhadad Y, Machane D, Oubaiche EH, Sidi said, N. (2013) Field evidence of seismites in quaternary deposits of the Jijel (eastern Algeria) coastal region. J of Seismol 18(2):289–299.
  11. Benouar D, Aoudia A, Maouche S, Meghraoui M (1994) The 18 August 1994 Mascara (Algeria) earthquake—a quick-look report. Terra Nova 6(6):634–637. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bezzeghoud M, Buforn E (1999) Source parameters of the 1992 Mellila (Spain, Mw=4.8); 1994 Al Hoceima (Marocco, Mw=5.8) and the Mascara (Algeria, Mw= 5.7) earthquakes and seismotectonic implications. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99:359–372Google Scholar
  13. Bouhadad Y (2001) The Murdjadjo, western Algeria, fault-related fold: implication for seismic hazard. J Seismol 5(4):541–558. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bouhadad Y (2013) Occurrence and impact of characteristic earthquakes in Algeria. Nat Hazard J 72(3):1329–1339. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bouhadad, Y., Benhamouche, A., Maouche, S., and Belhai, D. 2009, Evidence for quaternary liquefaction-induced features in the epicentral area of the 21 May 2003 Zemmouri earthquake (Algeria, Mw = 6.8), J. Seismol. DOI
  16. Bouhadad Y, Benhammouche A, Bourenane H, Ait Ouali A, Chikh M, Guessoum N (2010) The Laalam (Algeria) damaging landslide triggered by a moderate earthquake (Mw=5.2). J Nat Hazards 54(2):261–272. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Mets C, Gordon RC, Argus DF, Stein S (1990) Current plate motion. Geophys J Int 101:425–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Derder MEM, Henry B, Maouche S, Bayou B, Amenna M, Besse J, Bessedik M, Belhai D, Ayache M (2013) Transpressive tectonics along a major E–W crustal structure on the Algerian continental margin: blocks rotations revealed by a paleomagnetic analysis. Elsevier J Tectonophys 593(2013):183–192. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lopez Marinas JM, Salord R (1989) El periodo sismico oranes de 1790 à la luz de la documentacion de los archivos espanoles. In: Monographia, 6. Instituto geografico national, MadridGoogle Scholar
  20. Louni-Hacini A, Bellon H, Maury RC, Megartsi M, Coulomb C, Semroud B, Cotten J, Coutelle A (1995) Datation 40K-40Ar de la transition du volcanisme calco-alcalin au volcanisme alcalin en Oranie au Miocène inférieur. C.R. AcadSci 321:975–982Google Scholar
  21. Maouche, S. 2010. Tectonique active et géodynamique le long de l’Atlas tellien: Etude des soulèvements côtiers. PhD dissertation, USTHB, 2010 P.315Google Scholar
  22. Maouche S, Meghraoui M, Morhange C, Belabbes S, Bouhadad Y, Haddoum H (2011) Active coastal thrusting and folding, and uplift rate of the Sahel anticline and Zemmouri earthquake area (Tell Atlas, Algeria). Tectonophysics 509(1-2):69–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Megartsi M (1985) Le volcanisme mio- plio- quartenaire de l’Oranie. In: Th7se Doct Es- science. Alger, USTHB, 296pGoogle Scholar
  24. Meghraoui M, Doumaz F (1996) Earthquake-induced flooding and paleoseismicity of the El Asnam, Algeria, fault-related fold. J Geophys Res 101(B8):17617–17644. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Meghraoui M, Pondrelli S (2012) Active faulting and transpression tectonics along the plate boundary in north Africa. Ann Geophys 55(5):2012. Google Scholar
  26. Meghraoui M, Cisternas A, Philip H (1986) Seismotectonics of the lower Cheliff basin: structural background of the El Asnam (Algeria) earthquake. Tectonics 5(6):809–836. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meghraoui M, Philip H, Albarede F, Cisternas A (1988) Trenches investigations through the trace of the 1980 El-Asnam thrust fault: evidence for paleoseismicity. Bul Seism Soc Am 78(2):979–999Google Scholar
  28. Meghraoui, M., Morel, J.L., Andrieux, J., and Dahmani, M., 1996, Tectonique plio-quaternaire de la chaine tello-rifaine et de la mer d’Alboran. Une zone complexe de convergence continent –continent, Bul.,Soc, Géol., Fr, 1,141–157Google Scholar
  29. Meghraoui M, Maouche S, Chemaa B, Cakir Z, Aoudia A, Harbi A, Alasset PJ, Bouhadad Y, Benhamouda F (2004) Coastal uplift and thrust faulting associated with the (Mw=6.8) Zemmouri (Algeria) earthquake of 21 May, 2003. Geophys Res Lett 31:l19605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mokrane, A.; Ait Messaoud, A.; Sebai, A.; Menia, N.; Ayadi, A. and Bezzeghoud, M. 1994. Les séismes en Algérie de 1365–1992, CRRAG, Alger, Supervised by Bezzeghoud, M. and Benhallou, H., pp. 227Google Scholar
  31. Nocquet JM, Calais E (2004) Geodetic measurements of crustal deformation in the western Mediterranean and Europe. Pure Appl Geophys 161(3):661–681. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ottemöller, Voss and Havskov, 2016, Seisan earthquake analysis software for Windows, Solaris, Linux and Macosx, 2016Google Scholar
  33. Ouyed M, Meghraoui M, Cisternas A, Deschamps A, Dorel J, Frechet J, Gaulon R, Hatzfeld D, Philip H (1981) Seismotectonics of the El Asnam earthquake. Nature 292(5818):26–31. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Perrodon, A., 1957. Etude géologique des bassins néogènes sublittoraux de l’Algérie occidentale. Bulletin N0 12. Service de la Carte géologique de l’Algérie. AlgérieGoogle Scholar
  35. Philip H (1987) Plioquaternary evolution of the stress field in Mediterranean zones of subduction and collision. Ann Geophys 5B:310–320Google Scholar
  36. Philip H, Meghraoui M (1983) Structural analysis and interpretation of the surface deformations of the El-Asnam earthquake of October 10, 1980. Tectonics 2(1):17–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Serpelloni E, Vannucci G, Pondrelli S, Argnani A, Casula G, Anzidei M, Baldi P, Gasperini P (2007) Kinematics of the Western Africa Eurasia plate boundary from focal mechanisms and GPS data. Geophys J 169(3):1180–1200. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thomas, G., 1985. Géodynamique d’un bassin intra-montagneux. Le bassin du Bas Chélif occidental (Algérie) durant le Moi-Plio-Quaternaire. Thèse Doctorat. Es-sciences PauGoogle Scholar
  39. Yagi Y, Nishimura N (2011) Moment tensor inversion of near source seismograms. Bull Int Inst Seismolo Earthquake Eng 45:133–138Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Abbouda
    • 1
  • Y. Bouhadad
    • 1
  • A. Benfedda
    • 1
  • A. Slimani
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center of Applied Research in Earthquake engineering (CGS)AlgiersAlgeria

Personalised recommendations