Offshore Seismic Observation in the Western Marmara Sea, Turkey
Abstract:The North Anatolian Fault (NAF) extends 1600 km westward from a junction with the East Anatolian Fault at the Karliova Triple Junction in eastern Turkey, across northern Turkey and into the Aegean Sea, accommodating about 25 mm/yr of right-lateral motion between Anatolia and the Eurasian plate. Since 1939, devastating earthquakes with magnitude greater than seven ruptured NAF westward, starting from 1939 Erzincan at the eastern Turkey and including the latest 1999 Izmit-Golcuk and the Duzce earthquakes in the Marmara region. Considering the fault segments ruptured by the May 24th, 2014 Northern Aegean earthquake, the only un-ruptured segments left behind NAF locate beneath the Marmara Sea and those segments keep their mystery due to their underwater location. To clarify the detailed fault geometry beneath the western Marmara Sea, we started to operate a series of ocean bottom seismographic (OBS) observations. As a first step, we deployed 3 pop-up type OBSs on 20th of March 2014 as a trial observation, and recovered them on 18thof June 2014. Although one of the OBSs worked only 6 days from the start of the observation, other two OBSs functioned properly during the whole 3-month observation period.
Only 8 earthquakes were reported near the OBS network in 3 months periods according to the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute catalogue. Thus, we first searched for the microearthquakes missing by the land seismic network and estimated their precious location by using the initial 6 days data. We could identify about 50 earthquakes with more than 5 picking data of P and S first arrivals, and half of them located near the NAF. We also tested the hypocenter relocation by combining the land and OBS seismic data for the 8 earthquakes, and found that these earthquakes are located in between 12-24 km depths.
Next, we are planning to deploy 10 OBSs from September 2014 to June 2015 as a second step for our observation. At the AGU fall meeting, we will be able to introduce the OBS location of this new observation. These OBS observations are conducted as a part of the “Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Mitigation in the Marmara Region and Disaster Education in Turkey” project, financially supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and the Ministry of Development in Turkey.