Structure of the northwestern North Anatolian Fault Zone imaged via teleseismic scattering tomography

S. Rost* (Corresponding Author), G. A. Houseman, A.W. Frederiksen, D. G. Cornwell, M. Kahraman, S. Altuncu Poyraz, U.M. Teoman, D. A. Thompson, N. Turkelli, L. Gülen, Murat Utkucu, T.J. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Information on fault zone structure is essential for our understanding of earthquake mechanics, continental deformation and seismic hazard. We use the scattered seismic wavefield to study the subsurface structure of the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ) in the region of the 1999 İzmit and Düzce ruptures using data from an 18-month dense deployment of seismometers with a nominal station spacing of 7 km. Using the forward- and back-scattered energy that follows the direct P-wave arrival from teleseismic earthquakes, we apply a scattered wave inversion approach and are able to resolve changes in lithospheric structure on a scale of 10 km or less in an area of about 130 km by 100 km across the NAFZ. We find several crustal interfaces that are laterally incoherent beneath the surface strands of the NAFZ and evidence for contrasting crustal structures either side of the NAFZ, consistent with the presence of juxtaposed crustal blocks and ancient suture zones. Although the two strands of the NAFZ in the study region strike roughly east–west, we detect strong variations in structure both north–south, across boundaries of the major blocks, and east–west, parallel to the strike of the NAFZ. The surface expression of the two strands of the NAFZ is coincident with changes on main interfaces and interface terminations throughout the crust and into the upper mantle in the tomographic sections. We show that a dense passive network of seismometers is able to capture information from the scattered seismic wavefield and, using a tomographic approach, to resolve the fine scale structure of crust and lithospheric mantle even in geologically complex regions. Our results show that major shear zones exist beneath the NAFZ throughout the crust and into the lithospheric mantle, suggesting a strong coupling of strain at these depths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922–940
Number of pages19
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • tomography
  • coda waves
  • Crustal Structure
  • crustal imaging
  • continental tectonics: strike-slip and transform
  • Wave scattering and diffraction


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