Revealing 60 years of Earthquake Swarms in the Southern Red Sea, Afar and the Gulf of Aden

Joel Ruch, Derek Keir, Luigi Passarelli, Domenico Di Giacomo, Ghebrebrhan Ogubazghi, Sigurjon Jonsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Earthquake swarms occur sporadically at divergent plate boundaries but their recurrence over multiple decades and relation to magmatic spreading activity remain poorly understood. Here we study more than 100 earthquake swarms over a 60-year period in the southern Red Sea, Afar, and Gulf of Aden region. We first compiled an earthquake-swarm catalogue by integrating reexamined global and local earthquake catalogues from 1960 to 2017. This yielded 134 earthquake swarms that mainly cluster in 19 different areas in the study region, showing that in most cases swarms recur every few decades in the same area. The swarms exhibit a range of earthquake magnitudes and often include multiple M3 to M5 events with some swarms having occasional larger earthquakes over M6, primarily in southern Afar. Many of the earthquake swarms were clearly associated with rifting events, consisting of magmatic intrusions, surface faulting, and in some cases volcanic eruptions. Together, the swarms suggest that extension at these divergent plate boundaries occurs episodically along
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - Aug 16 2021


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