Active fault segments along the North Anatolian Fault system in the Sea of Marmara: implication for seismic hazard

Luca Gasperini*, Massimiliano Stucchi, Vincenzo Cedro, Mustapha Meghraoui, Gulsen Ucarkus, Alina Polonia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A new analysis of high-resolution multibeam and seismic reflection data, collected during several oceanographic expeditions starting from 1999, allowed us to compile an updated morphotectonic map of the North Anatolian Fault below the Sea of Marmara. We reconstructed kinematics and geometries of individual fault segments, active at the time scale of 10 ka, an interval which includes several earthquake cycles, taking as stratigraphic marker the base of the latest marine transgression. Given the high deformation rates relative to sediment supply, most active tectonic structures have a morphological expression at the seafloor, even in presence of composite fault geometries and/or overprinting due to mass-wasting or turbidite deposits. In the frame of the right-lateral strike-slip domain characterizing the North Anatolian fault system, three types of deformation are observed: almost pure strike-slip faults, oriented mainly E–W; NE/SW-aligned axes of transpressive structures; NW/SE-oriented trans-tensional depressions. Fault segmentation occurs at different scales, but main segments develop along three major right-lateral oversteps, which delimit main fault branches, from east to west: (i) the transtensive Cinarcik segment; (ii) the Central (East and West) segments; and (iii) the westernmost Tekirdag segment. A quantitative morphometric analysis of the shallow deformation patterns observed by seafloor morphology maps and high-resolution seismic reflection profiles along the entire basin allowed to determine nature and cumulative lengths of individual fault segments. These data were used as inputs for empirical relationships, to estimate maximum expected Moment Magnitudes, obtaining values in the range of 6.8–7.4 for the Central, and 6.9–7.1 for the Cinarcik and Tekirdag segments, respectively. We discuss these findings considering analyses of historical catalogues and available paleoseismological studies for the Sea of Marmara region to formulate reliable seismic hazard scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalMediterranean Geoscience Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • Active fault segments
  • Earthquakes
  • Marine geophysics
  • North Anatolian fault
  • Sea of Marmara
  • Seismic hazard


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