Active tectonics of the Eastern Mediterranean region: deduced from GPS, neotectonic and seismicity data

A. Barka, R. Reilinger

Abstract


This paper reviews the main tectonic features of the Eastern Mediterranean region combining the recent information obtained from GPS measurements, seismicity and neotectonic studies. GPS measurements reveal that the Arabian plate moves northward with respect to Eurasia at a rate of 23 ± 1 mm/yr, 10 mm/yr of this rate is taken up by shortening in the Caucasus. The internal deformation in Eastern Anatolia by conjugate strike-slip faulting and E-W trending thrusts, including the Bitlis frontal thrust, accommodates approximately a 15 mm/yr slip rate. The Northeast Anatolian fault, which extends from the Erzincan basin to Caucasus accommodates about 8 ± 5 mm/yr of left-lateral motion. The neotectonic fault pattern in Eastern Anatolia suggests that the NE Anatolian block moves in an E-ENE direction towards the South Caspian Sea. According to the same data, the Anatolian-Aegean block is undergoing a counter-clockwise rotation. However, from the residuals it appears that this solution can only be taken as a preliminary approximation. The Eulerian rotation pole indicates that slip rate along the North Anatolian fault is about 26 ± 3 mm/yr. This value is 10 mm/yr higher than slip rates obtained from geological data and historical earthquake records and it includes westward drift of the Pontides of a few millimetres/year or more. GPS measurements reveal that the East Anatolian fault accommodates an 11 ± 1 mm/yr relative motion. GPS data suggest that Central Anatolia behaves as a rigid block, but from neotectonic studies, it clearly appears that it is sliced by a number of conjugate strike-slip faults. The Isparta Angle area might be considered a major obstacle for the westward motion of the Anatolian block (Central and Eastern Anatolia). The western flank of this geological structure, the Fethiye-Burdur fault zone appears to be a major boundary with a slip rate of 15-20 mm/yr. The Western Anatolian grabens take up a total of 15 mm/yr NE-SW extension. The fact that motions in Central Anatolia relative to Eurasia, are 15-20 mm/yr while in Western Anatolia and Aegean Sea they are 30-40 mm/yr could suggest that Western Anatolia decouples from Central Anatolia and the Isparta Angle by the Fethiye-Burdur fault zone and Eski?ehir fault. It is also hypothesized that the differentiation of tectonic styles and velocities in the Anatolian-Aegean block are related to differences between the slabs lying under the Cyprus and Hellenic arcs.

Keywords


Global Positioning System (GPS);neotectonics;seismicity

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3892

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X