Constant strain accumulation rate between major earthquakes on the North Anatolian Fault

Ekbal Hussain*, Tim Wright, Richard J. Walters, David P.S. Bekaert, Ryan Lloyd, Andrew Hooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
290 Downloads (Pure)


Earthquakes are caused by the release of tectonic strain accumulated between events. Recent advances in satellite geodesy mean we can now measure this interseismic strain accumulation with a high degree of accuracy. But it remains unclear how to interpret short-term geodetic observations, measured over decades, when estimating the seismic hazard of faults accumulating strain over centuries. Here, we show that strain accumulation rates calculated from geodetic measurements around a major transform fault are constant for its entire 250-year interseismic period, except in the ∼10 years following an earthquake. The shear strain rate history requires a weak fault zone embedded within a strong lower crust with viscosity greater than ∼1020 Pa s. The results support the notion that short-term geodetic observations can directly contribute to long-term seismic hazard assessment and suggest that lower-crustal viscosities derived from postseismic studies are not representative of the lower crust at all spatial and temporal scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1392
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2018

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