Paleoearthquakes and slip rates of the North Tabriz Fault, NW Iran: preliminary results

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K. Hessami
D. Pantosti
H. Tabassi
E. Shabanian
M. R. Abbassi
K. Feghhi
S. Solaymani


The North Tabriz Fault is a major seismogenic fault in NW Iran. The last damaging earthquakes on this fault occurred in 1721, rupturing the southeastern fault segment, and in 1780, rupturing the northwestern one. The understanding of the seismic behavior of this fault is critical for assessing the hazard in Tabriz, one of the major cities of Iran; the city suffered major damage in both the 1721 and 1780 events. Our study area is located on the northwestern fault segment, west of the city of Tabriz. We performed geomorphic and trenching investigations, which allowed us to recognize evidence for repeated faulting events since the Late Pleistocene. From the trenches, we found evidence for at least four events during the past 3.6 ka, the most recent one being the 1780 earthquake. On the basis of different approaches, horizontal slip per event and slip rates are found in the ranges of 4 ± 0.5 m and 3.1-6.4 mm/yr, respectively. We also attempted an estimate of the average recurrence intervals which appears to be in the range 350-1430 years, with a mean recurrence interval of 821 ± 176 years. On the basis of these results, the northwestern segment of the North Tabriz Fault does not appear to present a major seismic potential for the near future, however, not enough is known about the southeastern segment of the fault to make a comparable conclusion.

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How to Cite
Hessami, K., Pantosti, D., Tabassi, H., Shabanian, E., Abbassi, M. R., Feghhi, K. and Solaymani, S. (2003) “Paleoearthquakes and slip rates of the North Tabriz Fault, NW Iran: preliminary results”, Annals of Geophysics, 46(5). doi: 10.4401/ag-3461.

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