The oldest sections of transform faults, such as the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) and the San Andreas Fault, produce the largest earthquakes, putting important limits on the potential seismic hazard for less mature parts of fault zones, according to a new study to be presented today at the Seismological Society of America (SSA) 2014 Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. The finding suggests that maximum earthquake magnitude scales with the maturity of the fault.
Identifying the likely maximum magnitude for the NAFZ is critical for seismic hazard assessments, particularly given its proximity to Istanbul.
"It has been argued for decades that fault systems evolving over geological time may unify smaller fault segments, forming mature rupture zones with a potential for larger earthquake," said Marco Bohnhoff, professor of geophysics at the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, who sought to clarify the seismic hazard potential from the NAFZ. "With the outcome of this study it would in principal be possible to improve the seismic hazard estimates for any transform fault near a population center, once its maturity can be quantified," said Bohnhoff.
Bohnhoff and colleagues investigated the maximum magnitude of historic earthquakes along the NAFZ, which poses significant seismic hazard to northwest Turkey and, specifically, Istanbul.
Relying on the region's extensive literary sources that date back more than 2000 years, Bohnhoff and colleagues used catalogues of historical earthquakes in the region, analyzing the earthquake magnitude in relation to the fault-zone age and cumulative offset across the fault, including recent findings on fault-zone segmentation along the NAFZ.
"What we know of the fault zone is that it originated approximately 12 million years ago in the east and migrated to the west," said Bohnhoff. "In the eastern portion of the fault zone, individual fault segments are longer and the offsets are larger."
The largest earthquakes of approximately M 8.0 are exclusively observed along the older eastern section of the fault zone, says Bohnhoff. The younger western sections, in contrast, have historically produced earthquakes of magnitude no larger than 7.4.
"While a 7.4 earthquake is significant, this study puts a limit on the current seismic hazard to northwest Turkey and its largest regional population and economical center Istanbul," said Bohnhoff.
Bohnhoff compared the study of the NAFZ to the San Andreas and the Dead Sea Transform Fault systems. While the earlier is well studied instrumentally with few historic records, the latter has an extensive record of historical earthquakes but few available modern fault-zone investigations. Both of these major transform fault systems support the findings for the NAFZ that were derived based on a unique combination of long historical earthquake records and in-depth fault-zone studies.
Bohnhoff will present his study, "Fault-Zone Maturity Defines Maximum Earthquake Magnitude," today at the SSA Annual Meeting. SSA is an international scientific society devoted to the advancement of seismology and the understanding of earthquakes for the benefit of society. Its 2014 Annual Meeting will be held Anchorage, Alaska on April 30 – May 2, 2014.
Nan Broadbent | Eurek Alert!
Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation
Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences