Articles | Volume 12, issue 4
Research article
27 Apr 2012
Research article |  | 27 Apr 2012

The earthquake sedimentary record in the western part of the Sea of Marmara, Turkey

L. Drab, A. Hubert Ferrari, S. Schmidt, and P. Martinez

Abstract. The submarine part of the North Anatolian Fault (NAF) is a very significant hazard for the 12 million people living in Istanbul (Turkey). An accurate seismic risk assessment necessitates paleoseismological data, which can be retrieved in the Marmara Sea by using sedimentary cores. Here, a record of turbidites was obtained in five cores, spanning the Tekirdağ Basin, the Western High and the Central Basin linked by the Tekirdağ fault segment. The turbidites are synchronous at different sites across the two basins and through the structural high pointing to shaking by earthquakes as a triggering mechanism. In particular, the M = 7.4 1912 Mürefte earthquake left a distinctive sedimentary imprint in all the studied cores. Radiocarbon dating implies a turbidite recurrence interval of about 300 yr. The low number of seismo-turbidites documented in the Central Basin compared to the Tekirdağ Basin suggests quasi-synchronous ruptures of the Tekirdağ Segment and the adjacent Central Segment of the NAF or a partial seismic slip on the Central Segment. Both scenarios have implications regarding seismic hazard. Finally, though we obtained a paleoseismological record of the ruptures along the Tekirdağ Segment, further chronological constraints are needed to better date the events and to confirm the completeness of the obtained record.