Active seismotectonics of the East Anatolian Fault


GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, vol.230, no.1, pp.50-69, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 230 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/gji/ggac045
  • Page Numbers: pp.50-69
  • Keywords: Creep and deformation, Seismic cycle, Earthquake hazards, Earthquake source observations, Seismicity and tectonics, MIDDLE-EAST, SOURCE PARAMETERS, TENSOR INVERSION, MOMENT TENSORS, TURKEY, ZONE, STRESS, KINEMATICS, EVOLUTION, SEISMICITY


The East Anatolian Fault (EAF) is a 700-km-long left-lateral transform fault located between the Anatolian and Arabian plates. The proximity of the Euler Pole to the Arabia-Anatolia Plate boundary leads to rapid changes in plate velocity along the boundary, which is manifested by the decreasing slip rates from east (10 mm yr(-1)) to west (similar to 1-4 mm yr(-1)). The EAF displays heterogeneous seismicity patterns with seismic gaps, localized clusters and broad diffuse zones. In this study, in order to understand the origin of these complexities and quantify the seismic hazard along the EAF, we present an improved seismicity catalogue with more than 26 000 earthquakes and 160 focal mechanisms from regional moment tensor inversion between 2007 and 2020. The focal mechanisms and seismicity show that the EAF dips towards north and forms a well-defined plate boundary in the east between Palu and celikhan with almost pure left-lateral motion. Further west, the boundary becomes broader with activity along subparallel faults. Focal mechanisms show heterogeneous stress orientations in consistence with geodetically determined strain rate field. The stress orientations show a transition from strike-slip to extension towards the west of celikhan. Amongst all segments of EAF, the Puturge segment, which holds the near-repeating earthquakes in the vicinity of the nucleation of the 2020 M-w 6.8 earthquake, is distinguished with its steady and high rate of seismicity. Further east, the neighbouring Palu segment is characterized by several distinct moderate earthquakes. We do not observe any change in the seismicity rate on these segments of the EAF following large earthquakes. In order to quantify the seismic hazard along the EAF, we calculate the recurrence time and maximum magnitude for each segment by using an extended seismicity catalogue of 150 yr including the large historical earthquakes and the geodetic strain rate. The results show similar to 150 yr recurrence time with M-max similar to 6.7-7.0 along the seismically active Palu and Puturge segments on the east, while relatively silent western segments yield longer recurrence times; 237-772 for Pazarcik and 414-917 for Amanos segments with slightly larger magnitudes (M-max similar to 7-7.4). We infer that the seismicity patterns and strain-rate field along the EAF are shaped by several factors such as strong geometrical irregularities, heterogeneous coupling and complex plate motion leading to rapid change of fault slip rate.