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Forensic seismic evidence for precursory mobilization in Gaza leading to the October 7 terrorist attack
  • Asaf Inbal
Asaf Inbal
Department of Geophysics, Tel Aviv University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Seismic waves excited by human activity frequently mask signals due to tectonic processes, and are therefore discarded as nuisance. Seismic noise-field analysis is, however, a powerful tool for characterizing anthropogenic activities. Here, I apply this analysis to examine seismic precursors to the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The precursory activity in Gaza included massive mobilization which took place in the hours leading to the attack, and was documented on multiple media outlets. Favorable conditions, which arise due to a temporary lack of anthropogenic activity in Israel, allow remote seismic stations to record signals due to Gaza vehicle traffic. I use these seismograms to identify anomalous ground-motions, associate them with pre-attack mobilization, and precisely determine their location. By applying array analysis to three seismic stations located tens-of-kilometers from the Gaza Strip, I was able to obtain valuable information on the Hamas attack plans. This suggests that embedding seismic noise-field analysis into decision-making protocols could enhance preparedness, thus providing an opportunity to blunt terrorist attacks and reduce the number of casualties.