Distributed transpressive continental deformation: The Varto Fault Zone, eastern Turkey

Sancar T., ZABCI C., Akyüz H. S., SUNAL G., Villa I. M.

TECTONOPHYSICS, vol.661, pp.99-111, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 661
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.08.018
  • Journal Name: TECTONOPHYSICS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.99-111
  • Keywords: Varto Fault Zone, Eastern Turkish high plateau, Transpression, Oblique convergence, Karliova Triple Junction, NORTH ANATOLIAN FAULT, EVOLUTION, EARTHQUAKE, KINEMATICS, TECTONICS, STRAIN
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The convergence between the Eurasian and Arabian plates has created a complicated structural setting in the Eastern Turkish high plateau (ETHP), particularly around the Karliova Triple Junction (KTJ) where the Eurasian, Arabian, and Anatolian plates intersect. This region of interest includes the junction of the North Anatolian Shear Zone (NASZ) and the East Anatolian Shear Zone (EASZ), which forms the northern border of the westwardly extruding Anatolian Scholle and the western boundary of the ETHP, respectively. In this study, we focused on a poorly studied component of the KTJ, the Varto Fault Zone (VFZ), and the adjacent secondary structures, which have complex structural settings. Through integrated analyses of remote sensing and field observations, we identified a widely distributed transpressional zone where the Varto segment of the VFZ forms the most northern boundary. The other segments, namely, the Leylekdag and Caycati segments, are oblique-reverse faults that are significantly defined by uplifted topography along their strikes. The measured 515 and 265 m of cumulative uplifts for Mt. Leylek and Mt. Dodan, respectively, yield a minimum uplift rate of 0.35 mm/a for the last 2.2 Ma. The multi-oriented secondary structures were mostly correlated with "the distributed strike-slip" and "the distributed transpressional" in analogue experiments. The misfits in strike of some of secondary faults between our observations and the experimental results were justified by about 20 degrees to 25 degrees clockwise restoration of all relevant structures that were palaeomagnetically measured to have happened since similar to 2.8 Ma ago. Our detected fault patterns and their true nature are well aligned as being part of a transpressional tectonic setting that supports previously suggested stationary triple junction models. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.