Kinematics of the eastern Caucasus near Baku, Azerbaijan
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- Kadirov, F., Floyd, M., Alizadeh, A. et al. Nat Hazards (2012) 63: 997. doi:10.1007/s11069-012-0199-0
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The potential for large, shallow earthquakes and their associated seismic hazard in the eastern Caucasus, an area of dense population and sensitive industrial infrastructure, remains speculative based on historical precedent and current geologic and seismologic observations. Here we present updated and expanded results from a GPS network between the northern edge of the Lesser Caucasus and Greater Caucasus, providing geodetic constraints to the problem. A significant strain rate is observed in a profile over a distance of about 150 km across the Kura Basin. We attribute this to inter-seismic strain accumulation on buried fault structures and present simple elastic dislocation models for their plausible geometry and slip rate based on the known geology, seismicity and the GPS velocities. Due to the close proximity of the strain anomaly to Baku, further observations are needed to determine whether observed contraction is due to inter-seismically locked faults and, if so, implications for the seismic hazard in the region.