Regional tectonic setting

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Plate setting

The map above shows how the Dead Sea trtansform relates to other plate boundaries in the region. On a large sdcale, divergence in the ReD Sea is accommodated by plate convergence in Iraq - Iran (Zagros mountains) as the Arabian plate moves north relative to Africa. Over geological time this relative motion can be described in terms of a counter clockwise rotation (Ar to Af) above a pole near Crete. However,, earlier in the plate history the pole lay further west (central Mediterranean). Moving the pole changes the arc of rotation for sites on the Arabian plate and, crucially, for displacement on the transform. Things get critical in the modern setting where the pole lies just off the Nile delta. To see this situation - scroll down to the next map.

Active tectonics mountains basins

This modern pole is derived from earthquake focal mechanisms (after van Eck & Hofstetter 1990). Instantaneous relative plate movement directions (Arabia relative to Africa) are arrowed. Note rather strong divergence in the Gulf of Aqaba (the transtensive fault segments create basins between the fault segments) while strong convergence in Lebanon enhances transpressive mountain uplift. You can CLICK on the boxes to see satellite images and seismicity for the sites.