Are U-Th dates correlated with historical records of earthquakes? Constraints from co-seismic carbonate veins within the North Anatolian Fault Zone

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Volkan Karabacak, I. Tonguç Uysal, Halim Mutlu, Ezgi Ünal-İmer, R. Kadir Dirik, Yue-xing Feng, Sinan Akıska, İsmail Aydoğdu, Jian-xin Zhao


U-Th dating of carbonate veins in connection with active tectonics has recently been used as an attractive tool for constraining the absolute timing of late Quaternary crustal deformations. In this study, for the first time we correlate U-Th ages of travertine deposits in co-seismic fissures along the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) with records of Paleoseismological studies supported by Historical Earthquake catalogued data. U-Th ages are assed in relation to the recurrence interval and the size and epicentre distance of major Holocene earthquakes. Our statistical evaluations on age correlations indicate that the carbonate vein precipitation is concentrated in eight different periods along the NAFZ. The periods are well correlated with historical earthquake records and with previous dating results of the nearby trench studies. At least six of the periods correspond to the earthquakes reported in the historical catalogues. The age correlations of carbonate precipitation intervals for the last millennium show a recurrence along the eastern NAFZ with a mode at 130–330 years that is consistent with a previously proposed paleoseismic recurrence interval of the fault. Recorded events in carbonate veins indicate a close-epicentre (<200 km) and high-intensity (>VI) paleo earthquakes. Our results suggest that co-seismic carbonate veins could be used to determine paleoseismic records as a supplementary tool to augment paleoseismological techniques. This tool has advantages over traditional paleoseismological methods for the understanding of long-term earthquake behaviour, particularly for prehistoric late Pleistocene events which cannot be dated easily by traditional paleoseismological methods.



Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tectonics and Structure


North Anatolian Fault, paleoseismology, coseismic carbonate, historical earthquake, travertine


Published: 2019-01-22 09:50

Last Updated: 2019-04-10 03:40

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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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