We use about 800 km of multichannel exploration seismic reflection profiles of the seventies as well as the results of three drill holes that penetrated the sedimentary cover down to the Upper Cretaceous basement to describe a continuous gently curvilinear, south-concave zone of deformation about 10 km wide that extended over the whole southern shelf of the Sea of Marmara from the Gulf of Gemlik to the Dardanelles Straits in Lower Pliocene time, about 4 Ma. We call this zone of deformation the South Marmara Fault (SMF) system and propose that the SMF was then a branch of the dextral North Anatolian Fault. This branch passed to the north of the Marmara Island Eocene block and thus had a south-facing concavity. This curvature resulted in a significant component of shortening in the western part of the fault. The SMF was deactivated at the end of Lower Pliocene, about 3.5 Ma, except for its easternmost branch between the Gulf of Gemlik and A degrees mralA +/- Island where about 5 mm/year of dextral motion is still occurring today.