The Tectonical and material effects caused by some of major earthquakes.

Through the earthquake history in Djibouti and its surrounding area many earthquakes are recorded so that one fails to mention it here.

However briefly the damages and effects of four events can be mentioned as examples.


1) The earthquake of 1969: (March-April) of magnitude 6-6.3

The epicenter of this event was less than 100 km from the Djibouti-Ethiopian border at the west of Djibouti. This event has destroyed completely the Sardo village that is supposed to be epicenter of the event.

More than 100 people were the victims of this event and 1,000th homeless, that were transferred to the Logia village 25-30 km to the west of Sardo village, the loss on the materials very high.

On the ground fissures, landslides subsidences were observed in different sites. The effects on the highway linking Addis-Abeba to its main port Assab at that time were completely out services [15].


2) The earthquake of 1989 in Dobi depression of magnitude > 6.

It occurred after 20 years of the mentioned 1969 event being located on the same axial tren of the active zone. The earthquake of 1989 that was located in Djibouti-Ethiopian border with the magnitudes > in Dobi depression. It has also caused important damages on the materials, three persons were victims on Djibouti side, and Galafi military camp was completely destroyed, the rocks from Yeger Mountain were rolled, landslides and subsidences were observed on the ground.

While from the Ethiopian side it was reported that it was seen the rocks grumbling from the mountains and thunder-like noises were hearted by seconds before the major shook. The effect on the highway linking port of Assab to Addis - Abeba was so heavy, so that one of the bridges was destroyed, the landslides, fractures, subsidences and fissures on the ground were reported from Ethiopian side (personal communication), as well the trucks were deviated from the main road

It can be compared to the earthquake of March 1969 that had destroyed completely Serdo village.


3) The event of 1973 in March-April NW of Djibouti in the submerged zone of Golf of Tadjoura. 

It was the first major event to be recorded by our newborn seismic monitoring network. It was located at 15-20km NW of the capital Djibouti. In tadjoura by seconds before the main shock occurred rising of a normal dust, tremendous thunder like noises and grumbling of rocks from surrounding mountains was noted by the citizens.

After the main shock for more than 5 weeks the population was frightened by the minor aftershocks. Fissures on the walls of the public buildings and some of the private houses were highly damaged. Also subsidences, fissures, landslides were recognized on the ground.

In Djibouti the effects were observed in most of public buildings, the quay of the port was highly damaged so that the commercial activities in Djbouti were totally paralyzed, for more than a week. Some of the population in the Heron was evacuated to the Humbli in the south of Djibouti. Even so no life loss reported, (Preliminary seismic report).


4) The event of 1994 (April and March being located almost on the same place of that of 1973 with ma 5.2-5.5)

The effects on the materials were relatively less than that of 1973. Even so there were some important fissures on the quay in the Djibouti port, in addition to that some fissures were noted on some of the public buildings, (Omar).



 La sismicite de la Republique de Djibouti de 1899 a 1994 Le donnees de 1899 a 1978 d'apres P. Guin et J. C. Lepine Du 1983 au 1994 Obs. Geophy. Arta (ahmed OMAR)


Distance de
Djibouti en Km   

Magnitud e Richer Intensite Mercalli
a Djibouti ville
Fev.1899 50 5.6 Z
Nov.1899 40 3.7 W
Janv.1899 40 4.3 X
Oct.1907 50 5 Y
Fev.1907 50 3.7 W
Fev.1909 50 3.7 W
Aout.1910 50 3.7 W
Mai.1912 50 5.6 Z
Aout.1912 40 5.6 Z
Oct.1026 90 5.5 Z
Jan.1929 60 6 Z
Oct.1026 80 5 W
Mar.1938 80 4.5 W
Mar.1841 130 5.5 X
Oct.1945 40 5.6 Z
Jun.1949 80 5.5 Y
Nov.1953 70 4.4 X
Avr.1957 60 5 X
Mai.1958 120 5.5 X
Jan.1960 80 5 X
Mar.1961 60 6 Z
Oct.1963 80 5.3 Y
Jull.1965 130 4.5 V
Mar.1969 220 6.4 X
Avr.1973 35 5.5 Z
Nov.1978 80 5.3 Y
Sep.1983 20 4.5 Y
Sep.1983 20 4.2 Y
Avr.1985 40 4.3 Y
Aout.1998 175 6.3 Y
Mar.1992 35 5 Y
Avr.1994 20 5.5 Z



Data source (Country report)

1.      Name: Ahmed Omar Ahmed

2.      Organization: Geophysical Researcher, Department of Hydrology and Hydrogeology, Institut Superieur d' Etudes et des Recherches Scientifiques et Techniques (ISERST) 

3.      Course: 1998-99 S

4.      Title: