Possible earthquake trigger for 6th century mass wasting deposit at Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania)

Wagner, B.; Francke, A.; Sulpizio, R.; Zanchetta, G.; Lindhorst, K.; Krastel, S.; Vogel, Hendrik; Rethemeyer, J.; Daut, G.; Grazhdani, A.; Lushaj, B.; Trajanovski, S. (2012). Possible earthquake trigger for 6th century mass wasting deposit at Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania). Climate of the past, 8(6), pp. 2069-2078. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-8-2069-2012

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Abstract. Lake Ohrid shared by the Republics of Albania and Macedonia is formed by a tectonically active graben within the south Balkans and suggested to be the oldest lake in Europe. Several studies have shown that the lake provides a valuable record of climatic and environmental changes and a distal tephrostratigraphic record of volcanic eruptions from Italy. Fault structures identified in seismic data demonstrate that sediments have also the potential to record tectonic activity in the region. Here, we provide an example of linking seismic and sedimentological information with tectonic activity and historical documents. Historical documents indicate that a major earthquake destroyed the city of Lychnidus (today: city of Ohrid) in the early 6th century AD. Multichannel seismic profiles, parametric sediment echosounder profiles, and a 10.08m long sediment record from the western part of the lake indicate a 2m thick mass wasting deposit, which is tentatively correlated with this earthquake. The mass wasting deposit is chronologically well constrained, as it directly overlays the AD472/AD 512 tephra. Moreover, radiocarbon dates and cross correlation with other sediment sequences with similar geochemical characteristics of the Holocene indicate that the mass wasting event took place prior to the onset of the Medieval Warm Period, and is attributed it to one of the known earthquakes in the region in the early 6th century AD.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Vogel, Hendrik


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Hendrik Vogel

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2014 10:58

Last Modified:

25 Dec 2014 07:05

Publisher DOI:






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