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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Sep 2018

Research article | 24 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Evaluating earthquake-induced rockfall hazard by investigating past rockfall events: the case of Qiryat-Shemona adjacent to the Dead Sea Transform, northern Israel

Mor Kanari1, Oded Katz2, Ram Weinberger2, Naomi Porat2, and Shmuel Marco3 Mor Kanari et al.
  • 1Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa 31080, Israel
  • 2Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Israel St. Jerusalem 95501, Israel
  • 3Department of Geophysics, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel

Abstract. We evaluate rockfall hazard for the town of Qiryat-Shemona, northern Israel, situated alongside the Dead Sea Transform, at the foot of the Ramim escarpment. Boulders of 1m3 to 125m3 are scattered on the slope above town, while historical aerial photos reveal that before town establishment, numerous boulders had reached the town premises. For the hazard analysis we first mapped the rockfalls, their source and their downslope final stop-sites, and compiled the boulder size distribution. We then simulated the probable future rockfall trajectories using the field observed data to calibrate the simulation software by comparing simulated vs mapped boulders stop-sites along selected slopes while adjusting model input parameters for best fit. The analysis identified areas of high rockfall hazard at the south-western quarters of the town and also indicates that in the studied slopes, falling blocks would stop after several tens of meters where the slope angle is below 10°.

OSL age determination of several past rockfall events in the study area suggests that these rockfalls were triggered by large (M>6) historical earthquakes. Nevertheless, not all large historical earthquakes triggered rockfalls. Simulations show that downslope reach of the blocks is not significantly affected by the magnitude of seismic acceleration. Considering the size distribution of the past rockfalls in the study area and the reoccurrence time of large earthquakes in the region, the probability to be affected by a destructive rockfall within a 50 year time-window is of less than 5%.

Mor Kanari et al.
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Mor Kanari et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We study rockfall hazard to a town below a cliff in an earthquake prone area. Large trailer-truck size boulders are scattered down slope above town. Mapping boulder locations and sizes (in the field and in past aerial photos) and calculating their predicted trajectories down slope using computer simulation yielded a hazard map for rockfall impact. hazard is reduced where slope angle is below 10°. Dating rockfalls coincides with past earthquakes and predicts probability for future rockfalls.
We study rockfall hazard to a town below a cliff in an earthquake prone area. Large...