Active tectonics of the Caucasus: Earthquake source mechanisms and rupture histories obtained from inversion of teleseismic body waveforms

TAN O., Taymaz T.

4th International Symposium on Eastern Mediterranean Geology, Thessaloniki, Greece, 01 April 2004, vol.409, pp.531-578 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 409
  • Doi Number: 10.1130/2006.2409(25)
  • City: Thessaloniki
  • Country: Greece
  • Page Numbers: pp.531-578
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The Eurasia-Arabia continental collision region, including surrounding areas of eastern Turkey, the Caucasus, and the Iranian plateau, is one of Earth's most seismically active and rapidly deforming continental regions. The wide range of deformation processes occurring in this relatively confined region makes the eastern Mediterranean region a unique place in which to improve our understanding of the complexities of continental collision, including strike-slip faulting and crustal extension, as well as the associated seismicity and volcanism. The Arabia-Eurasia continental collision mainly forms fold belts along major thrust faults in southeastern Anatolia and in the Caucasus, while originating major strike-slip faults in eastern Anatolia and northwestern Iran capable of generating major destructive earthquakes. The Arabia plate is moving northerly at a rate of similar to 18 mm/yr, whereas there is a shortening of 6-10 mm/yr along the Caucasus. However, it is not certain how much of this shortening by seismic activity is due to the insufficient time of observations and the lack of reliable data. In addition, the continental collision in eastern Anatolia and the northward subduction of the Africa plate beneath western Turkey and the Aegean region are causing extension of the continental crust in the overlying Aegean extensional province. Eastern Turkey is experiencing crustal shortening and thickening due to northward motion of the Arabia plate relative to Eurasia. Although the interplay between dynamic effects of the relative motions of adjoining plates controls large-scale crustal deformation and the associated earthquake activity on the major fault zones in the region, a few large earthquakes have occurred since the 1960s, and many great earthquakes have been reported in historical records.