Onset and Mechanisms of Surface Creep on Strike Slip Faults: Clues from the North Anatolian Fault and Comparisons with the San Andreas Fault

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Ziyadin Cakir1, Semih Ergintav2, Ahmet M Akoglu3, Esra Cetin1, Mustapha Meghraoui4 and Robert E Reilinger5, (1)Istanbul Technical University, Geology, Istanbul, Turkey, (2)Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, (3)King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Earth Science and Engineering, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, (4)EOST École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, Strasbourg Cedex, France, (5)MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States
Aseismic fault slip was first reported over forty years ago along some major strike slip faults including the San Andreas (SAF) and North Anatolian faults (NAF). Yet both their origin and timing on active faults and underlying physical processes remain subjects of debate. The presence of weak minerals and/or trapped fluid overpressures within fault zones have been proposed as mechanics for aseismic fault creep. Our InSAR observations together with GPS measurements and geology along the NAF provide new evidence for the mechanism, characteristics, and initiation of fault surface creep. We have used the persistent scatterer InSAR (PS-InSAR) technique to investigate both the creeping section of the NAF at Ismetpaşa that had ruptured during the 1944 and 1951 earthquakes, and the postseismic era of the 1999 İzmit Earthquake. The results reveal that the central segment of the 1999 Izmit Earthquake rupture has been creeping for over for the past 15 years since the event, becoming the longest lasting afterslip ever recorded. The slip pattern of ongoing surface creep on the İzmit rupture supports the idea that stable fault creep can be initiated as postseismic afterslip, a mechanism we proposed previously but could not have confirmed due to the lack of pre- and post-earthquake observations on creeping faults such as the Ismetpaşa segment of the NAF and the segments of the SAF in the San Francisco Bay area. Geological maps along the Ismetpaşa and Izmit creeping segments show that both fault zones run through ophiolitic and calcareous rocks with phyllosilicates that probably result in fault weakening. Earthquake rupture maps and PS-InSAR velocity fields for these regions also reveal that the creeping faults have simple geometry being fairly rectilinear and continuous along their strike. These common features suggest that following a large earthquake, a stable surface creep can be triggered on a section of a mature fault if it has evolved in to simple geometry and is located within weak rocks.