Meeting's Objective

Seismic Hazard and Risk in Africa

28 November 2019
09:00 – 18:00

The technical and scientific IGCP-659 meeting addresses the topic on the seismic risk assessment in Africa. Presentations and discussion sessions are programmed on some targeted capital cities for the hazard and risk assessment. This year 2019, the IGCP-659 working group will meet in Sousse, Tunisia alongside the 2nd CAJG in order to establish plans for practical activities related with seismic risk reduction in selected major cities in Africa.

The meeting will focus on the following topics:

1. The regional seismotectonic, seismic zonig and hazards in Africa.
2. The perspectives for the seismic hazard assessment and risk mitigation of selected African capital cities located in seismically active zones.
3. Test sites for a warning seismic system in Africa.
4. The Challenge of a Seismological Center in Africa: Virtual or Continental-based Scientific Infrastructure.

The program of the IGCP-659 meeting includes a field trip to sites with earthquake damage in the cities of Sousse and Kairouan. The field trip is planned on 29 November 2019 and will be open to IGCP-659 working group only. The field trip is sponsored by the National Office of Mines in Tunisia.


The contribution of GPS results to the seismic hazard assessment in East Africa

28 November 2019
09:30 - 10:00

  • Contact

    Sarah Stamps

    Associate Editor
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    National Geographic Explorer, Virginia Tech, USA

The contribution of GPS results to the seismic hazard assessment in East Africa

This IGCP-659 meeting in Tunisia is supported by:




This IGCP-659 meeting in Tunisia is organized by:

  • Contact

    Mustapha Meghraoui

    Associate Editor
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    IPG Strasbourg, France

  • Contact

    Najla Bouden-Romdhane

    Guest of Editorial Board
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    ENIT, Tunis, Tunisia

  • Contact

    Paulina Amponsah

    Guest of Editorial Board
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Ghana

  • Contact

    Nejib Bahrouni

    Guest of Editorial Board
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    ONM, Tunisia

  • Contact

    Vunganai Midzi

    Guest of Editorial Board
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    CGS Pretoria, South Africa

  • Contact

    Ahmed Ksentini

    Guest of Editorial Board
    Arabian Journal of Geosciences
    Sfax University, Tunisia


Field Trip

Neotectonics, archeoseismology and surface effects of historical earthquakes in Kairouan area

29 November 2019

Participation Fee:

  • 20 Euros (student)
  • 50 Euros (academic)
  • 80 Euros (professional)


  • Néjib Bahrouni, The National Office of Mines, Tunis, Tunisia
  • Mustapha Meghraoui, Institut de Physique du Globe Strasbourg, France
  • Klaus Hinzen, Cologne University, Germany
  • Ridha Maamri, The National Office of Mines, Tunis, Tunisia
  • Faouzi Mahfoudh, The National Institute of Heritage, Tunis, Tunisia

Kairouan city was built in AD 675 at the location of the Roman town Vicus Augusti, on the Roman “via” (road) that connects Hadrametum (now Sousse) to Amaedra (now Haïdra) passing by Aquae Regia (now Haffouz). The city is limited to the east by the small lake and swamp areas of Sebkhet Sidi El Hani and Sebkhet El Kelbia. Numerous villages can be found to the west built on alluvial fan deposits of the Wadi Zeroud and Wadi Merguellil rivers. Before the Arab conquest, this alluvial plain was the site of large fields with dense olive trees and gardens to the point that the Arab leader Okba Ibn Nafaa had to order deforestation to build Kairouan (Al-Bakri, XIth century, in. Mahfoud et al., 2004). The city became a large urban area during the Aghlabids dynasty (AD 800 – 909).

The region has a low level of seismicity with shallow instrumental earthquakes that hardly reach Mw 5.5 (in INM Catalogue). However, historical documents describe the occurrence of earthquakes with significant casualties and damage. This was the case for the Kairouan AD 859 earthquake that was responsible of numerous victims, homeless people, affected the great mosque and destroyed 13 villages in the region (Al Baghdadi, Al Tabari, Ibn Al Jawzi, Ibn Al-Athir, Ibn Adhari, Ibn Taghribirdi, Al Suyuti). This seismic event reported in historical manuscripts was however considered as dubious by other historians.

Recent field investigations conducted by the National Office of Mines in Tunisia in collaboration with the Institute of Earth Physics of Strasbourg (IPGS), and The National Institute of Heritage in Tunis “unearthed” historical documents that report the earthquake damage in Kairouan and Sousse areas during the 9th century (Bahrouni et al., 2019).

During the AD 859 earthquake the great mosque of Kairouan, the houses, fortifications and bridges suffered severe damage. The historical documents report that during the rule of the local governor Ibrahim Ahmed, important reconstructions and restorations were conducted in the city, the great Mosque in particular, bridges and battlements until Sousse city. Indeed, a poster exposed into the mosque courtyard shows the Mosque construction sketches before and after AD 859. The historians also report that the city (which reached about 100 000 inhabitants) suffered of severe water shortage due to the damage that affected the Cherichira aqueduct. Initially built at the Roman time and then retrofitted during the Aghlabids period, the aqueduct used to bring fresh water from the Oueslat Jebel (mountain) to Kairouan. Following the earthquake in AD 860, the Emir Ibrahim Ahmed decided the building of the large circular cistern called Feskiya Bab Tunis (literally the cistern of Tunis door).

This one-day field trip on 29 November 2019 will present the main features, damage and neotectonic observations associated with the AD 859 earthquake in Kairouan and Sousse. The itinerary will include the following stops:

  • 08:00 Departure from the conference hotel in Sousse
  • 10:00 Visit to the aqueduct damaged bridge at the Cherichira site
  • 11:30 Departure to Kairouan
  • 12:00 Visit of open air cistern also called Feskiya of Bab Tunis in Kairouan
  • 12:30 Visit of the Great Mosque: damage disorder and reconstruction work of the year AD 860.
  • 13:15 Lunch in the old city of Kairouan
  • 14:30 Departure to Sousse
  • 15:30 Visit of the still visible stone engraving (in Arabic Koufi writing style) that commemorates the reconstruction of the southern wall of the battlements of Sousse and related fortifications in AD 859-860.
  • 16:00 Visit of the old city Kasba
  • 17:00 Departure to the conference hotel in Sousse
  • 19:00 Dinner at the hotel


How to mitigate the seismic risk in Africa: A multidisciplinary approach

25 November 2019
08:30 – 12:30 and 16:00 – 19:00

Participation Fee:

0 Euros (student)
50 Euros (academic)
100 Euros (professional)

The IGCP-659 working group also organizes a training course dedicated to PhD students and young researchers in active tectonics, seismology, geology and geophysics. This course will cover:

  • Updated techniques for seismic source characterization from tectonic-remote sensing, seismology and geodesy (GPS).
  • The hazard and risk evaluation from multi-disciplinary approaches and most recent experiences.

The objective is to give the necessary basics on how multidisciplanary but closely related interdependent topics in solid earth geophysics address the issue of seismic hazard and risk assessment, in either interplate and/or intraplate domains in Africa.

The Course material will be sent to all participants on November 1st, 2019. There will be 5 modules in this course:

  • 08:00 – 9:00
    M1: Plate Tectonics and Rock Mechanics, The behaviour of the African lithosphere
    Instructor: Moctar Doucouré (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa)
  • 9:00 – 10:00
    M2: Seismotectonics and Earthquake Geology
    Instructor: Mustapha Meghraoui (IPG Strasbourg, France)
  • 10:00 – 10:30
    Coffee break
  • 10:30 – 11:30
    M3: Geodynamics and Space Geodesy (GPS): Implications for the seismic hazard assessment in Africa
    Instructor: Sarah Stamps (Virginia Tech, VA, USA)
  • 11:30 – 12:30
    M4: Earthquake Mechanisms and Source Time Function
    Instructor: Silvia Pondrelli (INGV-Bologna, Italy)
  • 12:30 – 14:00
  • 14:00 – 15:00
    Official opening ceremony of 2nd CAJG
  • 15:00 – 16:00
    Icebreaker of 2nd CAJG / Group photo
  • 16:00 – 19:00
    M5: Integration of seismic, tectonic and geodetic data into the Seismic Hazard assessment and Risk Mitigation
    Instructors: Vunganai Midzi (Council for Geoscience, Pretoria, South Africa) and Ahmed Ksentini (Sfax University, Tunisia)