Gas seepage and seismogenic structures along the North Anatolian Fault in the eastern Sea of Marmara

Gasperini L., Polonia A., Del Bianco F., Etiope G., Marinaro G., Favali P., ...More

GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, vol.13, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1029/2012gc004190


We carried out a combined geophysical and gas-geochemical survey on an active fault strand along the North Anatolian Fault (NAF) system in the Gulf of Izmit (eastern Sea of Marmara), providing for the first time in this area data on the distribution of methane (CH4) and other gases dissolved in the bottom seawater, as well as the CH4 isotopic composition. Based on high-resolution morphobathymetric data and chirp-sonar seismic reflection profiles we selected three areas with different tectonic features associated to the NAF system, where we performed visual and instrumental seafloor inspections, including in situ measurements of dissolved CH4, and sampling of the bottom water. Starting from background values of 2-10 nM, methane concentration in the bottom seawater increases abruptly up to 20 nM over the main NAF trace. CH4 concentration peaks up to similar to 120 nM were detected above mounds related probably to gas and fluids expulsion. Methane is microbial (delta C-13(CH4): -67.3 and -76 parts per thousand versus VPDB), and was found mainly associated with pre-Holocene deposits topped by a 10-20 m thick draping of marine mud. The correlation between tectonic structures and gas-seepages at the seafloor suggests that the NAF in the Gulf of Izmit could represent a key site for long-term combined monitoring of fluid exhalations and seismicity to assess their potential as earthquake precursors.