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The Varzaghan-Ahar, Iran, Earthquake Doublet (M-w 6.4, 6.2): implications for the geodynamics of northwest Iran

  • On 2012 August 11, a pair of large, damaging earthquakes struck the Varzaghan-Ahar region in northwest Iran, in a region where there was no major mapped fault or any well-documented historical seismicity. To investigate the active tectonics of the source region we applied a combination of seismological methods (local aftershock network, calibrated multiple event relocation and focal mechanism studies), field observations (structural geology and geomorphological) and inversions for the regional stress field. The epicentral region is north of the North Tabriz Fault. The first main shock is characterized by right-lateral strike-slip motion on an almost E-W fault plane of about 23 km length extending from the surface to a depth of about 14 km. The second main shock occurred on an ENE-striking fault that dips at 60-70A degrees to the NW. Independent inversions of focal mechanisms and geologically determined fault kinematic data for the active stress state yield a transpressional tectonic regime with sigma(1) oriented N132E. For the regionOn 2012 August 11, a pair of large, damaging earthquakes struck the Varzaghan-Ahar region in northwest Iran, in a region where there was no major mapped fault or any well-documented historical seismicity. To investigate the active tectonics of the source region we applied a combination of seismological methods (local aftershock network, calibrated multiple event relocation and focal mechanism studies), field observations (structural geology and geomorphological) and inversions for the regional stress field. The epicentral region is north of the North Tabriz Fault. The first main shock is characterized by right-lateral strike-slip motion on an almost E-W fault plane of about 23 km length extending from the surface to a depth of about 14 km. The second main shock occurred on an ENE-striking fault that dips at 60-70A degrees to the NW. Independent inversions of focal mechanisms and geologically determined fault kinematic data for the active stress state yield a transpressional tectonic regime with sigma(1) oriented N132E. For the region northeast of the North Tabriz Fault, the presence of rigid lithosphere of the South Caspian Basin implies the kinematic adjustment by northward transferring of the contracted masses through both distributed deformation and structural deflections. Our results suggest that the kinematic adjustment inside a contracting wedge may occur along interacting crosswise or conjugate faults to accommodate low rates of internal deformation. At a global scale, our results indicate that despite the basic assumption of 'rigid blocks' in geodetic plate modelling, internal deformation of block-like regions could control the kinematics of deformation and the level of seismic hazard within and around such regions of low deformation rate.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Abdolreza Ghods, Esmaeil Shabanian, Eric Bergman, Mohammad Faridi, Stefanie Donner, Gholamreza Mortezanejad, Asiyeh Aziz-Zanjani
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggv306
ISSN:0956-540X
ISSN:1365-246X
Parent Title (English):Geophysical journal international
Publisher:Oxford Univ. Press
Place of publication:Oxford
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Asia; Continental neotectonics; Continental tectonics: compressional; Dynamics: seismotectonics; Earthquake source observations; Seismicity and tectonics
Volume:203
Issue:1
Pagenumber:19
First Page:522
Last Page:540
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert