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Seismicity of Yemen


The Arabian Peninsula often appears totally aseismic on maps of world seismicity, reflecting the apparent absence of earthquakes during the twentieth century and particularly since the improvement of the worldwide seismological network after the 1960s. Events in south-west Arabia have seldom attracted attention outside the area and this has hindered reporting of earthquakes in regional catalogues. We show here that by contrast, historical sources of local information describe a fairly continuous occurrence of medium magnitude, damaging shocks over the past 12 centuries, including a destructive event in 1941 that in many respects resembles the recent earthquake of December 1982. The common presumption that the Arabian Peninsula has a very low seismicity is incorrect.

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Ambraseys, N., Melville, C. Seismicity of Yemen. Nature 303, 321–323 (1983).

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