Seismic tomography of the North Anatolian Fault: New insights into structural heterogeneity along a continental strike-slip fault

Elvira Papaleo* (Corresponding Author), David G Cornwell, Nicholas Rawlinson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Knowledge of the structure of continental strike-slip faults within the lithosphere is essential to understand where the deformation occurs and how strain localizes with depth. With the aim to improve the constraints on the lower crust and upper mantle structure of a major continental strike-slip fault, we present a high-resolution teleseismic tomography of the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) in Turkey. Our results highlight the presence of a relatively high velocity body between the two branches of the fault and significant along-strike variations in the NAFZ velocity structure over distances of ∼20 km. We interpret these findings as evidence of laterally variable strain focussing caused by preexisting heterogeneity. Low velocities observed in the crust and upper mantle beneath the NAFZ support the presence of a narrow shear zone widening in the upper mantle, where we constrain its width to be ∼50 km.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2186-2193
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

DANA (Dense Array for Northern Anatolia) is part of the Faultlab project, a collaborative effort by the University of Leeds, Boğaziçi University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (BU-KOERI), and Sakarya University. Major funding was provided by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under grant NE/I028017/1. Equipment was provided and supported by the NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility (SEIS-UK). This project is also supported by Boğaziçi University Scientific Research Projects (BAP) under grant 6922 and Turkish State Planning Organization (DPT) under the TAM project, number 2007K120610. We are indebted to the Faultlab seismological fieldwork team members Sebastian Rost, Greg Houseman, David Thompson, Sandra Karl, Luke Jackson, Hannah Bentham, Ekbal Hussain, Selda Altuncu Poyraz, Uğur Teoman, Niyazi Türkelli, Metin Kahraman, Murat Utkucu, and Levent Gülen. Victoria Lane (SEIS-UK) provided invaluable technical and practical seismological assistance. The seismic data set can be found in the references.


  • teleseismic tomography
  • North Anatolian Fault
  • NAFZ
  • crust
  • upper mantle
  • Heterogeneity


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