Fault locking near Istanbul: Indication of earthquake potential from InSAR and GPS observations

Faqi Diao*, Thomas R. Walter, Giuseppe Solaro, Rongjiang Wang, Manuela Bonano, Mariarosaria Manzo, Semih Ergintav, Yong Zheng, Xiong Xiong, Riccardo Lanari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A sequence of large earthquakes occurred along the North Anatolian fault in the 20th century. These earthquakes, including the 1999 I˙zmit/Düzce earthquakes, generally propagated westward towards the Marmara Sea, defining the Main Marmara fault as a potential seismic gap. It is important to conduct a detailed assessment of the seismic hazards along the main Marmara fault because the megacity Istanbul lies only approximately 10 kmnorth of the eastern segment of the Main Marmara fault, which is referred to as the Princes' Islands Fault segment (PIF). Here, we study the locking status of this fault segment to evaluate the seismic hazard potential. For the first time, combined ascending and descending Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar and Global Positioning System observations were used to investigate the crustal deformation associated with the PIF. After careful corrections of the estimated ground velocity, a deformation pattern relating to fault locking near the Princes' Islands was identified. The modeling results revealed that the slip rate and locking depth of the fault segment show a clear trade-off, which were estimated as 18.9 ± 7.2 mmyr-1 and 12.1 ± 7.0 km, respectively. With a moment accumulation rate of 1.7 ± 0.4 × 1017 Nmyr-1 (proportional to the product of slip rate and locking depth), our results imply a build-up of a geodetic moment on the PIF and therefore a potential for earthquake hazards in the vicinity of the Istanbul megacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-498
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Continental tectonics: Strike-slip and transform
  • Satellite geodesy
  • Seismic cycle


Dive into the research topics of 'Fault locking near Istanbul: Indication of earthquake potential from InSAR and GPS observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this