Earthquakes have been reported in the Middle East since biblical times. Seismological studies demonstrate that many damaging earthquakes occurred along the Dead Sea Transform (DST), a long shear zone that extends from the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat through the Dead Sea into the Sea of Galilee. To better understand the behavior and dynamics of the Dead Sea Transform, the Dead Sea Integrated Research (DESIRE) interdisciplinary and international project was initiated in 2006.
The DST, which forms one of the world's largest pul-apart basins (120 kilometers long, 20 kilometers wide, and about 10 kilometers deep), is a system of left-lateral strike-slip faults that accommodates about 105 kilometers of relative motion between the African and Arabian plates. To study the DST in places where it is easily accessible, the DESIRE project area focused on the Dead Sea basin (Figure 1).