Seismic Hazard Evaluation in Western Turkey as Revealed by Stress Transfer and Time-dependent Probability Calculations

Paradisopoulou P. M. , Papadimitriou E. E. , Karakostas V. G. , Taymaz T. , Kilias A., YOLSAL S.

PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, vol.167, pp.1013-1048, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 167
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00024-010-0085-1
  • Page Numbers: pp.1013-1048


Western Turkey has a long history of destructive earthquakes that are responsible for the death of thousands of people and which caused devastating damage to the existing infrastructures, and cultural and historical monuments. The recent earthquakes of Izmit (Kocaeli) on 17 August, 1999 (M (w) = 7.4) and Duzce (M (w) = 7.2) on 12 November, 1999, which occurred in the neighboring fault segments along the North Anatolian Fault (NAF), were catastrophic ones for the Marmara region and surroundings in NW Turkey. Stress transfer between the two adjacent fault segments successfully explained the temporal proximity of these events. Similar evidence is also provided from recent studies dealing with successive strong events occurrence along the NAF and parts of the Aegean Sea; in that changes in the stress field due to the coseismic displacement of the stronger events influence the occurrence of the next events of comparable size by advancing their occurrence time and delimiting their occurrence place. In the present study the evolution of the stress field since the beginning of the twentieth century in the territory of the eastern Aegean Sea and western Turkey is examined, in an attempt to test whether the history of cumulative changes in stress can explain the spatial and temporal occurrence patterns of large earthquakes in this area. Coulomb stress changes are calculated assuming that earthquakes can be modeled as static dislocations in elastic half space, taking into account both the coseismic slip in large (M a parts per thousand yen 6.5) earthquakes and the slow tectonic stress buildup along the major fault segments. The stress change calculations were performed for strike-slip and normal faults. In each stage of the evolutionary model the stress field is calculated according to the strike, dip, and rake angles of the next large event, whose triggering is inspected, and the possible sites for future strong earthquakes can be assessed. A new insight on the evaluation of future seismic hazards is given by translating the calculated stress changes into earthquake probability using an earthquake nucleation constitutive relation, which includes permanent and transient effects of the sudden stress changes.