Tectonophysics, vol.536-537, pp.61-100, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
We studied source mechanism parameters and slip distributions of earthquakes with M w≥5.0 occurred during 2000-2008 along the Hellenic subduction zone by using teleseismic P- and SH-waveform inversion methods. In addition, the major and well-known earthquake-induced Eastern Mediterranean tsunamis (e.g., 365, 1222, 1303, 1481, 1494, 1822 and 1948) were numerically simulated and several hypothetical tsunami scenarios were proposed to demonstrate the characteristics of tsunami waves, propagations and effects of coastal topography. The analogy of current plate boundaries, earthquake source mechanisms, various earthquake moment tensor catalogues and several empirical self-similarity equations, valid for global or local scales, were used to assume conceivable source parameters which constitute the initial and boundary conditions in simulations. Teleseismic inversion results showed that earthquakes along the Hellenic subduction zone can be classified into three major categories:  focal mechanisms of the earthquakes exhibiting E-W extension within the overriding Aegean plate;  earthquakes related to the African-Aegean convergence; and  focal mechanisms of earthquakes lying within the subducting African plate. Normal faulting mechanisms with left-lateral strike slip components were observed at the eastern part of the Hellenic subduction zone, and we suggest that they were probably concerned with the overriding Aegean plate. However, earthquakes involved in the convergence between the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean lithospheres indicated thrust faulting mechanisms with strike slip components, and they had shallow focal depths (h<45km). Deeper earthquakes mainly occurred in the subducting African plate, and they presented dominantly strike slip faulting mechanisms. Slip distributions on fault planes showed both complex and simple rupture propagations with respect to the variation of source mechanism and faulting geometry. We calculated low stress drop values (δσ<30bars) for all earthquakes implying typically interplate seismic activity in the region. Further, results of numerical simulations verified that damaging historical tsunamis along the Hellenic subduction zone are able to threaten especially the coastal plains of Crete and Rhodes islands, SW Turkey, Cyprus, Levantine, and Nile Delta-Egypt regions. Thus, we tentatively recommend that special care should be considered in the evaluation of the tsunami risk assessment of the Eastern Mediterranean region for future studies. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.