Historical Earthquake Scenarios for the Middle Strand of the North Anatolian Fault Deduced from Archeo-Damage Inventory and Building Deformation Modeling

Benjelloun Y., de Sigoyer J., Dessales H., Baillet L., Gueguen P., ŞAHİN M.

SEISMOLOGICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, vol.92, no.1, pp.583-598, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 92 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1785/0220200278
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Geobase, Metadex, DIALNET, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.583-598
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The city of znik (ancient Nicaea), located on the middle strand of the North Anatolian fault zone (MNAF), presents outstanding archeological monuments preserved from the Roman and Ottoman periods (first to fifteenth centuries A.D.), bearing deformations that can be linked to past seismic shaking. To constrain the date and intensity of these historical earthquakes, a systematic survey of earthquake archeological effects (EAEs) is carried out on the city's damaged buildings. Each of the 235 EAEs found is given a quality ranking, and the corresponding damage is classified according to the European Macroseismic Scale 1998 (EMS-98). We show that the walls oriented north-south were preferentially damaged, and that most deformations are perpendicular to the walls' axes. The date of postseismic repairs is constrained with available archeological data and new C-14 dating of mortar charcoals. Three damage episodes are evidenced: (1) between the sixth and late eighth centuries, (2) between the nineth and late eleventh centuries A.D., and (3) after the late fourteenth century A.D. The repartition of damage as a function of building vulnerability points toward a global intensity VIII on the EMS-98. The 3D modeling of a deformed Roman obelisk shows that only earthquakes rupturing the MNAF can account for this deformation. Their magnitude can be bracketed between M-w 6 and 7. Our archeoseismological study complements the historical seismicity catalog and confirms paleoseismological data, suggesting several destructive earthquakes along the MNAF, since the first century A.D. We suggest the fault might still have accumulated enough stress to generate an M-w 7+ rupture.