A 3000-year record of surface-rupturing earthquakes at Günalan: variable fault-rupture lengths along the 1939 Erzincan earthquake-rupture segment of the North Anatolian Fault, Turkey

Jeffrey George Fraser, Aurelia Hubert-Ferrari, Koen Verbeeck, David Garcia-Moreno, Ulas Avsar, Nathalie Maricq, Alexander Coudijzer, Nele Vlamynck, Kris Vanneste


The North Anatolian Fault is a ca. 1200-km-long, right-lateral, strike-slip fault that forms the northern boundary of the Anatolian plate. A damaging sequence of earthquakes ruptured almost the entire fault in the twentieth century. This study adds to the growing number of paleoseismic investigations of the 350-km-long 1939 Erzincan earthquake-rupture segment, which is towards the eastern end of the North Anatolian Fault in Turkey. Using three paleoseismic trenches located along ca. 2 km of the principal fault strand, this study determines the timing of five earthquakes prior to the 1939 earthquake. The first three of these earthquakes are correlated to historical earthquakes in A.D. 1668, 1254 and 499, and two further events were identified as occurring from 881-673 B.C. and from 1406-1291 B.C. (2v age ranges). By comparing the earthquake timing determined in this study to results from other paleoseismic investigations of the 1939 rupture segment, it becomes clear that this historical rupture segment does not always rupture in unison. This analysis indicates that the A.D. 499 earthquake was the last time the 1939 rupture segment ruptured in unison; partial ruptures of the 1939 rupture segment occur more frequently, and can also produce large magnitude earthquakes (MW >7).


paleoseismology, North Anatolian Fault, fault segment

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-4884


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