Evidence for late Holocene activity along the seismogenic fault of the 1999 Izmit earthquake, NW Turkey

Pavlides S. B., Chatzipetros A., Tutkun Z. S., Oezaksoy V., DOĞAN B.

TECTONIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN REGION, vol.260, pp.635-647, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


During the strong 1999 Izmit (Kocaeli) earthquake, 100 km long east-west-striking (N80 degrees-100 degrees) right-lateral, fault traces were formed. In the epicentral area the seismic ruptures did not follow any known or mapped fault traces, but morphology and tectonostratigraphic evidence from trenches reveal pre-existing earthquake-related features, e. g. elongated valleys, shutter ridges, high-angle slopes, scarplets and stream offsets. In the Golcuk Peninsula a characteristic NW-SE-trending extensional fault segment emerged at the surface with a 1.5-2 m maximum vertical displacement and a 0.30 m right-lateral component. The resulting coseismic fault scarp was mapped in detail, and two trenches were excavated at the Deniz Evler site. The 1999 displacement at this site was 1.50 m, whereas the penultimate event displaced the same sediments by 0.70 m, and a previous event by 0.20 m. Displacement is not characteristic, as fault-associated soft (recent) deltaic deposits, and the fault itself, are typically not coseismic, but rather a secondary accommodation structure in geometric consistency with the right-lateral main displacement zone. The data were compared with similar results from the Asagi Yuvacik, Kular Yaylacik and Acisu sites between Izmit and Sapanca Lake. The same fault segment seems to have been activated and produced surface ruptures including during the earthquakes of AD 1509, AD 989 and AD 554, plus two prehistoric events. The palaeoseismological results provide clear evidence for repeated reactivation of the same fault or fault segments during historical seismic events.