Geological slip rates along the North Anatolian Fault in the Marmara region

TitleGeological slip rates along the North Anatolian Fault in the Marmara region
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGasperini, L, Polonia, A, M. Çağatay, N, Bortoluzzi, G, Ferrante, V

Reliable piercing points on both sides of the Sea of Marmara enabled us to obtain an estimate of the slip-rate over time scales of 10-15 ka on different fault strands of the North Anatolian Fault (NAF) system. We analyzed geomorphic features in the gulfs of Izmit, Gemlik (Sea of Marmara) and Saros (NE Aegean Sea), which were passively displaced by the NAF strands after their abandonment related to the post-glacial sea level rise. Results for the main northern strand, consistently similar on both sides of the Marmara pull-apart, are in the order of 10 mm/yr, about one half of that expected from geodetic measurements and accepted plate-tectonic models. In the southern branch of the NAF, the estimated rate of similar to 4 mm/yr is only slightly higher than that given by geodetic models. Our findings have implications for both neo-tectonic reconstructions of the submerged portion of the NAF system, and fault interactions and seismic hazard estimates in the Marmara region. They suggest that, either the total Anatolia/Eurasia plate motion is more diffuse than previously reported, or geodetic data are not representative of the geological time-scale deformations. Moreover, they suggest that a significant amount of stress is accommodated along the southern strand of the NAF system, on which the last large (M approximate to 7) earthquakes dates back to 1419, 1855 and 1863 AD.