US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, B09302, doi:10.1029/2008JB006244, 2009


The North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) below the Sea of Marmara forms a ‘‘seismic gap’’ where a major earthquake is expected to occur in the near future. This segment of the fault lies between the 1912 Ganos and 1999 İzmit ruptures and is the only NAFZ segment that has not ruptured since 1766. To monitor the microseismic activity at the main fault branch offshore of Istanbul below the Çınarcık Basin, a permanent seismic array (PIRES) was installed on the two outermost Prince Islands, Yassiada and Sivriada, at a few kilometers distance to the fault. In addition, a temporary network of ocean bottom seismometers was deployed throughout the Çınarcık Basin. Slowness vectors are determined combining waveform cross correlation and P wave polarization. We jointly invert azimuth and traveltime observations for hypocenter determination and apply a bootstrap resampling technique to quantify the location precision. We observe seismicity rates of 20 events per month for M < 2.5 along the basin. The spatial distribution of hypocenters suggests that the two major fault branches bounding the depocenter below the Çınarcık Basin merge to one single master fault below ~17 km depth. On the basis of a cross-correlation technique we group closely spaced earthquakes and determine composite focal mechanisms implementing recordings of surrounding permanent land stations. Fault plane solutions have a predominant right-lateral strike-slip mechanism, indicating that normal faulting along this part of the NAFZ plays a minor role. Toward the west we observe increasing components of thrust faulting. This supports the model of NW trending, dextral strike-slip motion along the northern and main branch of the NAFZ below the eastern Sea of Marmara.