Central and eastern Anatolian crustal deformation rate and velocity fields derived from GPS and earthquake data

Nuno Simao, Suleyman S Nalbant, Fatih Sunbul, A Komec Mutlu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    We present a new strain-rate and associated kinematic model for the eastern and central parts of Turkey. In the east, a quasi N-S compressional tectonic regime dominates the deformation field and is partitioned through the two major structural elements of the region, which are the conjugate dextral strike-slip North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) and the sinistral strike slip East Anatolian Fault Zone (EAFZ). The observed surface deformation is similar to that inferred by anisotropy studies which sampled the region of the mantle closer to the crust (i.e. the lithospheric mantle and the Moho), and is dependent on the presence or absence of a lithospheric mantle, and of the level of coupling between it and the overlaying crust. The areas of the central and eastern parts of Turkey which are deforming at elevated rates are situated above areas with strong gradients in crustal thickness. This seems to indicate that these transition zones, situated between thinner and thicker crusts, promote more deformation at the surface. The regions that reveal elevated strain-rate values are 1) the Elazig–Bingol segment of the EAFZ, 2) the region around the Karlıova triple-junction including the Yedisu segment and the Varto fault, 3) the section of the NAFZ that extends from the Erzincan province up to the NAFZ-Ezinepazarı fault junction, and 4)sections of the Tuz Gölü Fault Zone. Other regions like the Adana basin, a significant part of the Central Anatolian Fault Zone (CAFZ), the Aksaray and the Ankara provinces, are deforming at smaller but still considerable rates and therefore should be considered as areas well capable of producing damaging earthquakes (between M6 and 7). This study also reveals that the central part of Turkey is moving at a faster rate towards the west than the eastern part Turkey, and that the wedge region between the NAFZ and the EAFZ accounts for the majority of the counter clockwise rotation between the eastern and the central parts of Turkey. This change in movement rate and direction could be the cause of the extensional deformation and respective crustal thinning, with the resulting upwelling of warmer upper mantle observed in tomographic studies for the region between the Iskenderun bay and the CAFZ. The partitioning of deformation into an extensional regime could be the cause of the relatively low levels of strain-rate in the south-west part of the EAFZ and the northern part of the Dead Sea Fault Zone. Finally, using this new compilation of GPS data for the central-eastern part of Turkey, we obtained a new Anatolia–Eurasia rotation pole situated at 2.01◦W and 31.94◦N with a rotation rate of 1.053 ±0.015◦/Ma.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-98
    JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jan 2016


    • strain accumulation
    • seismic hazard
    • east Anatolian fault
    • north Anatolian fault


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