Talk:Galilee earthquake of 1837

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I put up this page because it would be useful to be able to link to a broad description of the scope and impact of this earthquake on the many pages that reference the consequences of the quake:towns depopulated or rebuilt, antiquities leveled, etc.

I encountered this earthquake in editing pages about the Galilee, but it affected a broad area. I am willing to consider a broader anme.
I would welcome editing form an earthquake maven.Historicist (talk) 14:00, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

W.M. Thompson D.D.[edit]

W.M. Thomson, "thirty years missionary in Syria and Palestine", gives this account of the earthquake in his "The Land and the Book", published in 1880, pages 277 - 280: "It was just before sunset on a quiet Sabbath evening - January 1, 1837 - when the shock occured. A pale, smoky haze obscured the sun, and threw an air of sadness over the closing day, and a lifeless and oppressive calm had settled down upon the face of nature. These phenomena are, however, not very uncommon in this country, and may have had no connection with the earthquake. Our native church at Beirut were gathered round the communion-table, when suddenly the house began to shake fearfully, and the stone floor to heave and roll like a ship in a storm. "Hezzy! Hezzy!" (Earthquake! Earthquake!) burst from every trembling lip as all rushed out into the yard. The house was cracked from top to bottom, but no further injury was sustained. The shock was comparitavely slight in Beirut, but still many houses were seriously shattered, and some of the river entirely thrown down. During the week succeeding this Sabbath, there came flying reports from various quarters of towns and villages destroyed, and lives lost; but so slow does information travel in this country, especially in winter, that it was not until eight days had elapsed that any reliable accounts were received. Then letters arrived from Safed with the startling intelligence that the whole town had been utterly overthrown, and that Tiberias, and many other places in this region, had shared the same fate. Some of the letters stated that not more than one in a hundred of the inhabitants had escaped.
As soon as these awful facts had been ascertained, collections were made at Beirut to relieve the survivors, and Mr C- and myself selected to visit this region, and distribute to the needy and the wounded. Passing by Sidon, we associated with ourselves Mr. A- and two of his sons to act as physicians. In Sidon the work of destruction became very noticable, and in Tyre still more so. We rode into the latter at midnight over her prostrate walls, and found some of the streets so choked up with fallen houses that we could not pass through them. I shall retain a vivid recollection of that dismal night while life lasts. The wind had risen to a cold, cross gale, which howled through shattered walls and broken windows its doleful wail over ruined Tyre. The people were sleeping in boats drawn up on the shore, and in tents beside them, while half-suspended doors unhinged were creaking and banging in dreadful concert. On the 17th we reached Rumaish, were we met the first real confirmation of the letters from Safed. The village seemed quite destroyed. Thirty people had been crushed to death under their falling houses, and many more would have shared the same fate if they had not been at evening prayers in church. The building was low and compact, so that it was not seriously injured. After distributing medicine to the wounded and charity to the destitute, we went to Jish. Of this village not one house remained; all had been thrown down, and the church also, burying the entire congregation of one hundred and thirty-five persons under the ruins. Not one escaped except the priest, who was saved by a projection of the arch over the altar. The entire vaulted roof, with its enormous mass of superincumbent stone and earth fell inward in a moment, and of course escape was impossible. Fourteen dead bodies lay there still unburied.
On the morning of the 18th we reached Safed, and I then understood, for the first time, what desolation God can work when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth... We came first to the Jewish half of the town, which contained about four thousand inhabitants two years before when I was there, and seemed like a busy hive of Israelites; - now not a house remained standing. The town was built, as its successor is, upon the side of the mountain, which is so steep that the roofs of the houses below formed the street of those above; when, therefore, the shock dashed all to the ground, the highest fell on the next below, that upon the third, and so on to the bottom, burying each successive row of houses deeper and deeper under the accumulated rubbish...(account of suffering - estimates four-fifths of the population were buried under the ruins)...
The destruction of life in Tiberias had not been so great as at Safed, but the houses and walls of the city were fearfully shattered. About six hundred perished under the ruins, and there were scenes of individual suffering not exceeded by any in Safed. Many of the wounded had been carried down to the hot baths, where we visited them. They informed me that at the time of the earthquake the quantity of water at these springs was immensley increased, and that it was so hot that people could not pass along the road across which it flowed. This, I suppose was fact; but the reports that smoke and boiling water were seen to issue from many places, and flames of fire from others, I believe were either fabrications or at least exaggerations. I could find no one who had actually seen these phenomena, though all had heard of them.
On the 22nd we left Tiberias, and reached Nazareth in the night, having distributed medicines and clothes at Lubieh, Sejers, Kefr Kenna, and Reineh. In all these villages, except Kefr Kenna, the earthquake had been very destructive, while in others on either side of us no injury had been sustained."

Thank you for opening this article. I don't know how (or if) to incorporate this material but I put it forward for your consideration. Best wishes. Padres Hana (talk) 23:07, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Somebody ought to incorporate this info into the article. If no one adds I'll put it in sometime soon, but I suggest that another editor does it ASAP. --Al Ameer son (talk) 04:17, 20 June 2009 (UTC)


Been working on this the last few weeks and just posted it today. Still more to add since there are references included in the bibliography section that have yet to be used (Ellingson, Wachs). I've chosen the section title of "Preface" to introduce William McClure Thomson to the reader, but there may be a better choice of wording for that. His book, The Land and the Book, is used as a source several times in the damage section and the article needed to include a snippet on who he was & why he was there in the region. The Ellingson reference is a senior thesis and hasn't been used in the article yet. I'm debating on whether it should be used or not, so haven't put much thought into it yet, but it is a well-researched paper. Also, the bibliography section lists references in their complete form that are used in the article multiple times when the {{harvnb}} template is used to list each citation's page number. For references that are only used once I have just used them inline because I didn't see a need to list the whole entry under bibliography and use the harvnb system to link to it for just one instance. Thanks, Dawnseeker2000 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

DYK nomination[edit]

Wave damage[edit]

Two sources and all we have is one short sentence? Can the editor please expand on that some? Dawnseeker2000 01:56, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

I can't find much more about it. At the time, the area was very provincial and with the mess of the earthquake, I doubt there are accurate details anywhere. Settleman (talk) 08:38, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I found very little beyond brief mentions. The paper of Ambraseys cited in the article has two separate mentions:
  • p929: "Also it was said that as a result of the earthquake the (west ?) coast of Lake Tiberias sank and that the lake water rose and swept away many people (M1; Macgregor, 1904). This observation on its own does not imply that this change of level of the coast was necessarily of tectonic origin. It may well have been a rather exaggerated observation relating to the rapid fluctuation of the level of the Lake noticed by Lynch (1852)." M1 is some reports from British consuls in Beirut and Aleppo, only available in archives as far as I know (easily obtained but expensive). Macgregor is "The Rob Roy on the Jordan, pp. 361-374, London." (The Rob Roy was a canoe and this was a crazy guy who paddled it down the Jordan River in the 1860s.) I looked in the book several times but didn't find the reference. Shkelov is a letter from a contemporary visitor published in Hebrew translation in Letters from Eretz-lsrael, edited by A. YARI, 357-363, 1971. I didn't try to find this. Lynch is LYNCH, W.F. (1852): Official report of the U.S. expedition to explore the Dead Sea and River Jordan, Baltimore. If that's the same as Lynch's Narrative then I don't see anything relevant in it.
  • p935: "It is said that waves flooded the coast of Lake Tiberias but it is not clear whether this happened before, during or after the earthquake (Shkelov, 1837; Kerhardene, 1859)." Kerhardene is "KERHARDENE, G. DE (1859): Voyage en orient, France Litter. and Artist., 3, 667-690." I didn't try to find it. Zerotalk 11:14, 9 October 2015 (UTC)