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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

History of earthquakes in Palestine

Just trying to stay topical while the East Coast recovers from a minute of swaying...


64 BC Strong earthquake in Jerusalem; damage to temple and city walls

31 BC Severe earthquake in Galilee and Judea. Josephus reports "30,000 people and many animals killed in Judea"—serious damage at Jericho, Qumran and Masada.

30 AD, 33 AD Slight damage in Jerusalem

115 AD Destructive earthquake in Syria; possible tidal wave damage at Caesarea.

306 AD Destructive earthquake in Palestine; tsunami at Caesarea, destruction at Jerusalem.

363 AD Severe earthquake affecting most of Palestine and Jordan; Severe damage at Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Tiberias, Gadara, Sepphoris, Scythopolis, Sebaste, Gophnia, Jerusalem, Caesarea, Ptolmais, and Petra of the Nabataeans.

419 AD Moderate to severe earthquake in Palestine; Many towns and villages destroyed; Antipatris destroyed; severe damage in Jerusalem.

447 AD Thermal baths at Gadara destroyed; many people killed.

631 or 632 AD Earthquake in Palestine with aftershocks continuing for 30 days; widespread destruction.

749 AD Severe earthquake in Palestine; tens of thousands of deaths. Capernaum destroyed. Susita destroyed. Great destruction in Tiberias. Gadara thermal baths completely destroyed. Severe damage at Pella, Scythopolis and Jerusalem. Many of the greatest buildings in Jerash destroyed. Great destruction at Philadelphia. Tsunami on Mediterranean coast. Seiche in the Dead Sea.

1033 AD Swarm of severe earthquakes centered in the Jordan Valley which continued for some 40 days. Felt from Syria to Egypt and in the Negev. Much damage and loss of life in Ptolmais -- port reported to have gone dry for an hour before onset of destructive tsunami. Much destruction in Judea; damage to walls of Jerusalem; Much destruction at Tiberias. Jericho destroyed. Much damage at Hebron.

1182 AD Galilee and Judea; moderate to severe.

1202 AD Severe earthquake felt from Syria to Egypt. Severe damage in Caesarea Philippi, Scythopolis, Jerusalem, 'Sechem completely ruined', severe tsunami on Levant coast apparently causing serious damage at Ptolmais.

1546 AD Severe earthquake in Palestine; hundreds killed; flow of Jordan river stopped for two days by a landslide; tsunami on Mediterranean coast from Ptolmais south to Gaza. The Mediterranean receded "a long day's walk"; seiche in the Dead Sea.

1759 AD Severe earthquake affecting most of Palestine and Syria; between 10,000 and 40,000 people killed; severe damage at Nazareth; walls of Tiberias collapsed; seiche on the Sea of Galilee; tsunami at Ptolmais flooding city streets to a depth of 2 meters and throwing ships onto the shore.

1837 AD Severe earthquake with epicenter near Safed. Many thousands of deaths with entire towns destroyed. Rockfalls at Caesarea Philippi; 28% of the population of Tiberias killed -- city walls destroyed; seiche swept shores of Sea of Galilee killing many people. Moderate damage at Nazareth, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jerusalem.

1927 AD Destructive earthquake with 250-500 casualties; flow of Jordan river stopped for 21 1/2 hours by landslides; seiches in northern basin of Dead Sea.

1943 AD Strong earthquake throughout Palestine -- 1943 and 1927 earthquakes strongest in region during 20th century.

(from here)

A scholarly paper that looks at evidence of earthquakes using ancient Jewish sources can be seen here. There was one in 92 BCE as well.