Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 173, Issue 1, pp 49–72 | Cite as

An Evaluation of Coulomb Stress Changes from Earthquake Productivity Variations in the Western Gulf of Corinth, Greece

  • K. M. Leptokaropoulos
  • E. E. Papadimitriou
  • B. Orlecka–Sikora
  • V. G. Karakostas


Spatial and temporal evolution of the stress field in the seismically active and well-monitored area of the western Gulf of Corinth, Greece, is investigated. The highly accurate and vast regional catalogues were used for inverting seismicity rate changes into stress variation using a rate/state-dependent friction model. After explicitly determining the physical quantities incorporated in the model (characteristic relaxation time, fault constitutive parameters, and reference seismicity rates), we looked for stress changes across space and over time and their possible association with earthquake clustering and fault interactions. We focused our attention on the Efpalio doublet of January 2010 (M = 5.5 and M = 5.4), with a high aftershock productivity, and attempted to reproduce and interpret stress changes prior to and after the initiation of this seismicity burst. The spatial distribution of stress changes was evaluated after smoothing the seismological data by means of a probability density function (PDF). The inverted stress calculations were compared with the calculations derived from an independent approach (elastic dislocation model) and this comparison was quantified. The results of the two methods are in good agreement (up to 80 %) in the far field, with the inversion technique providing more robust results in the near field, where they are more sensitive to the uncertainties of coseismic slip distribution. It is worth mentioning that the stress inversion model proved to be a very sensitive stress meter, able to detect even small stress changes correlated with spatio–temporal earthquake clustering. Data analysis was attempted from 1975 onwards to simulate the stress changes associated with stronger earthquakes over a longer time span. This approach revealed that only M > 5.5 events induce considerable stress variations, although in some cases there was no evidence for such stress changes even after an M > 5.5 earthquake.


Seismicity rate changes Rate/state friction Static Coulomb stress changes Gulf of Corinth Efpalio January 2010 seismic sequence 



The stress tensors were calculated using the DIS3D code developed by S. Dunbar, which was later improved by Erikson (1986) and the expressions developed by G. Converse. This work was supported by the THALES Programme of the Ministry of Education of Greece and the European Union within the framework of the project entitled ‘Integrated understanding of Seismicity, using innovative Methodologies of Fracture mechanics along with Earthquake and non-extensive statistical physics—Application to the geodynamic system of the Hellenic Arc. SEISMO FEAR HELLARC’. The GMT system (Wessel and Smith 1998) was used to plot some of the figures. Department of Geophysics, AUTH, contribution number 840.


  1. Aki, K. (1965). Maximum likelihood estimate of b in the formula logN = a  bM and its confidence limits, Bull. Earthquake Res. Inst. Tokyo Univ., 43, 237–239.Google Scholar
  2. Ambraseys, N. N., and J. A. Jackson (1990), Seismicity and associated strain of central Greece between 1890 and 1988, Geophys. J. Int., 101, 663–708.Google Scholar
  3. Armijo, R., B. Meyer, G. C. P. King, A. Rigo, and D. Papanastassiou (1996), Quaternary evolution of the Corinth Rift and its implications for the late Cenozoic evolution of the Aegean, Geophys. J. Int. 126, 11–53.Google Scholar
  4. Baker, C., D. Hatzfeld, H. Lyon–Caen, E. Papadimitriou, and A. Rigo (1997), Earthquake mechanisms of the Adriatic Sea and Western Greece: implications for the oceanic subduction–continental collision transition, Geophys. J. Int., 131, 559–594.Google Scholar
  5. Belardinelli, M. E., A. Bizzarri, and M. Cocco (2003), Earthquake triggering by static and dynamic stress changes, J. Geophys. Res., 108, B3, 2135, doi: 10.1029/2002JB001779.
  6. Bell, R. E., L. C. McNeill, J. M. Bull, and T. J. Henstock (2008), Evolution of the offshore western Gulf of Corinth, Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., 120, 156–178.Google Scholar
  7. Braunmiller, J., and J. Nabelek (1996), Geometry of continental normal faults: seismological constraints, J. Geophys. Res., 10, 3045–3052.Google Scholar
  8. Catalli, F., M. Cocco, R. Console, and L. Chiaraluce (2008), Modeling seismicity rate changes during the 1997 Umbria–Marche sequence (central Italy) through a rate-and-state dependent model, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B11301, doi: 10.1029/2007JB005356.
  9. Cocco, M., S. Hainzl, F. Catalli, B. Enescu, A. M. Lombardi, and J. Wossner (2010), Sensitivity study of forecasted aftershock seismicity based on coulomb stress calculation and rate- and state- dependent frictional response, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B05307, doi: 10.1029/2009JB006838.
  10. Dieterich, J. H. (1994), A constitutive law for rate of earthquake production and its application to earthquake clustering, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 2601–2618.Google Scholar
  11. Dieterich, J., V. Cayol, and P. Okubo (2000), The use of earthquake rate changes as stress meter at Kilauea volcano, Nature, 408, 457–460.Google Scholar
  12. Dieterich, J., V. Cayol, and P. Okubo (2003), Stress changes before and during the Pu’u ‘Ō ‘ō-Kūpaianaha Eruption, U. S. Geol. Survey Professional Paper, 1676, 187-202.Google Scholar
  13. Erikson, L. (1986), User’s manual for DIS3D: A threedimensional dislocation program with applications to faulting in the Earth. Master’s Thesis, Stanford Univ., Stanford, Calif., 167 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Flerit F., R. Armijo, G. King, and M. Bertrand (2004), The mechanical interaction between the propagating North Anatolian Fault and the back-arc extension in the Aegean, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 224, 347–362.Google Scholar
  15. Ganas, A., K. Chousianitis, E. Batsi, M. Kolligri, A. Agalos, G. Chouliaras, and K. Makropoulos (2012), The January 2010 Efpalion earthquakes (Gulf of Corinth, Central Greece): earthquake interactions and blind normal faulting, J. Seismol., DOI  10.1007/s10950-012-9331-6.
  16. Ghimire, S., K. Katsumata, and M. Kasahara (2008), Spatio–temporal evolution of Coulomb stress in the Pacific slab inverted from the seismicity rate change and its tectonic interpretation in Hokkaido, Northern Japan, Tectonophysics, 455, 25–42.Google Scholar
  17. Hainzl, S., S. Steacy, and D. Marsan (2010), Seismicity models based on Coulomb stress calculations, Community Online Resource for Statistical Seismicity Analysis, doi: 10.5078/corssa-32035809.
  18. Hainzl, S., Y. Ben-Zion, C. Cattania, and J. Wassermann (2013), Testing atmospheric and tidal earthquake triggering at Mt. Hochstaufen, Germany, J. Geophys. Res., 118, 1–11.Google Scholar
  19. Harris, R. A. (2000), Earthquake stress triggers, stress shadows, and seismic hazard, Curr. Science, 79, 1215–1225.Google Scholar
  20. Harris, R. A., and R. W. Simpson (1998), Suppression of large earthquakes by stress shadows: A comparison of Coulomb and rate/state failure, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 24439–24451.Google Scholar
  21. Hatzfeld D., G. Pedotti, P. Hatzidimitriou, and K. Makropoulos (1990), The strain pattern in the western Hellenic arc deduced from a microearthquake survey. Geophys. J. Int., 101, 181–202.Google Scholar
  22. Hatzfeld D., D. Kementzetzidou, V. Karakostas, M. Ziazia, S. Nothard, D. Diagourtas, A. Deshamps, G. Karakaisis, P. Papadimitriou, M. Scordilis, R. Smith, N. Voulgaris, A. Kiratzi, K. Makropoulos, M. Bouin, and P. Bernard (1996), The Galaxidi earthquake sequence of November 18, 1992: a possible geometrical barrier within the normal fault system of the Gulf of Corinth (Greece), Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 86, 1987–1991.Google Scholar
  23. Helmstetter, A., and B. E. Shaw (2006), Relation between stress heterogeneity and aftershock rate in the rate-and-state model, J. Geophys. Res., 111, B07304, doi: 10.1029/2005JB004077.
  24. Jansky J., O. Novotny, V. Plicka, J. Zahradnik, and E. Sokos (2011), Earthquake location from P-arrival times only: problems and some solutions, Stud. Geophys. Geod., 56. doi: 10.1007/s11200-011-9036-2.
  25. Karagianni, E., P. Paradisopoulou, and V. Karakostas (2013), Spatio-temporal earthquake clustering in the Western Corinth Gulf, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Greece, XLVII, 2013.Google Scholar
  26. Karakostas, V. G., Papadimitriou, E. E., Karakaisis, G. F., Papazachos, C. B., Skordilis, E. M., Vargemezis, G., and Aidona, E. (2003), The 2001 Skyros, northern Aegean, Greece, earthquake sequence: off-fault aftershocks, tectonic implications, and seismicity triggering, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, doi: 10.1029/2002gl015814.
  27. Karakostas, V., E. Karagianni, and P. Paradisopoulou (2012), Space-time analysis, faulting and triggering of the 2010 earthquake doublet in western Corinth Gulf, Nat. Hazards, 63, 1181–1202.Google Scholar
  28. Kostelecky, J., and J. Dousa (2012), Results of geodetic measurements during the January 2010 Efpalio earthquakes at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth, central Greece, Acta Geodyn. Geomater., 9, 291–301.Google Scholar
  29. Kiratzi, A., and E. Louvari (2003), Focal mechanisms of shallow earthquakes in the Aegean Sea and the surrounding lands determined by waveform modeling: a new database, J. Geodyn., 36, 251–274.Google Scholar
  30. Leptokaropoulos, K. M., Karakostas, V. G., Papadimitriou, E. E., Adamaki, A. K., Tan, O., and İnan, S., (2013), A homogeneous earthquake catalogue compilation for western Turkey and magnitude of completeness determination, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 103, 5, 2739–2751.Google Scholar
  31. Linker, J., and J. Dieterich (1992), Effects of variable normal stress on rock friction: Observations and constitutive equations, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 4923–4940, doi: 10.1029/92JB00017.
  32. Maccaferri, F., E. Rivalta, L. Passarelli, and S. Jόnsson (2013), The stress shadow induced by the 1975-1984 Krafla rifting episode, J. Geophys. Res., 118, 1109–1121.Google Scholar
  33. Mallman, E. P., and M. D. Zoback (2007), Assessing elastic Coulomb stress transfer models using seismicity rates in southern California and southern Japan, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B03304, doi: 10.1029/2005JB004076.
  34. McClusky, S., S. Balassanian, A. Barka, C. Demir, S. Ergintav, I. Georgiev, O. Gurkan, M. Hamburger, K. Hurst, H. Kahle, K. Kastens, G. Kekelidze, R. King, V. Kotzev, O. Lenk, S. Mahmoud, A. Mishin, M.Nadariya, A. Ouzounis, D. Paradissis, Y. Peter, M. Prilepin, R. Reilinger, I. Sanli, H. Seeger, A. Tealeb, M. N. Toksöz, and G. Veis (2000), Global Positioning System constraints on plate kinematics and dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 5695–5719.Google Scholar
  35. Mesimeri, M, E. Papadimitriou, V. Karakostas, and G. Tsaklidis (2013), Earthquake clusters in NW Peloponnese, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Greece, XLVII, 2013.Google Scholar
  36. Novotny, O., E. Sokos, and V. Plicka (2012), Upper crustal structure of the western Corinth Gulf, Greece, inferred from arrival times of the January 2010 earthquake sequence, Stud. Geophys. Geod., 56, 1007–1018, doi:  10.1007/s11200-011-0482-7.
  37. Papazachos B. C., and C. C. Papazachou (2003), The earthquakes of Greece. Ziti Publication Co., Thessaloniki, pp. 304.Google Scholar
  38. Reasenberg, P. A. (1985), Second order moment of central California Seismicity, 1969–1982, J. Geophys. Res., 90, B7, 5479–5495.Google Scholar
  39. Reilinger, R., S. McClusky, P. Vernan, S. Lawrence, S. Ergitav, R. Cakmak, H. Ozener, F. Kadirov, I. Guliev, R. Stepanyan, M. Nadariya, G. Hahubia, S. Mahmoud, K. Sakr, A. ArRajehi, D. Paradissis, A. Al-Aydrus, M. Prilepin, T. Guseva, E. Evren, A. Dmitrotsa, S. V. Filikov, F. Gomez, R. Al–Ghazzi, and G. Karam (2006), GPS constraints on continental deformation in the Africa–Arabia–Eurasia continental collision zone and implications for the dynamics of plate interactions, J. Geophys. Res., 111, B05411, doi: 10.1029/2005JB004051.
  40. Rigo, A., H. Lyon-Caen, H. R. Armijo, A. Deschamps, D. Hatzfeld, K. Makropoulos, P. Papadimitriou, and I. Kassaras (1996), A microseismic study in the western part of Gulf of Corinth (Greece): implications for large scale normal faulting mechanisms, Geophys. J. Int., 126, 663–668.Google Scholar
  41. Roberts, S. and J. Jackson (1991), Active normal faulting in central Greece: An overview, Geol. Soc. Lon. Spec. Pub., 56, 125–142.Google Scholar
  42. Scholz, C. H. (1998), Earthquakes and friction laws, Nature, 391, 37–42.Google Scholar
  43. Silverman, B. W. (1986), Density Estimation for Statistic and Data Analysis. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 9, 21.Google Scholar
  44. Sokos E, J. Zahradnık, A. Kiratzi, J. Jansky, F. Gallovic, O. Novotny, J. Kostelecky, A. Serpetsidaki, and A. Tselentis (2012), The January 2010 Efpalio earthquake sequence in the western Corinth Gulf (Greece). Tectonophysics, 530–531, 299–309.Google Scholar
  45. Steacy, S., J. Gomberg, and M. Cocco (2005), Introduction to special section: Stress transfer, earthquake triggering, and time-dependent seismic hazard,J. Geophys. Res., 110, B05S01, doi: 10.1029/2005 JB003692.
  46. Stein, R. S. (1999), The role of stress transfer in earthquake occurrence, Nature, 402, 594–604.Google Scholar
  47. Taymaz, T., J. Jackson, and D. McKenzie (1991), Active tectonics of the north and central Aegean Sea, Geophys. J. Int., 106, 433–490.Google Scholar
  48. Toda, S., and S. Matsumura (2006), Spatio-temporal stress states estimated from seismicity rate changes in the Tokai region, central Japan, Tectonophysics, 417, 53–68.Google Scholar
  49. Wessel, P. and W. H. F. Smith (1998), New improved version of the Generic Mapping Tools Released, EOS Trans. AGU, 79, 579.Google Scholar
  50. Woessner, J., and S. Wiemer (2005), Assessing the quality of earthquake catalogues: Estimating the magnitude of completeness and its uncertainty, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 95, 684–698.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Leptokaropoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. E. Papadimitriou
    • 2
  • B. Orlecka–Sikora
    • 1
  • V. G. Karakostas
    • 2
  1. 1.Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior, Institute of GeophysicsPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Department of Geophysics, School of GeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

Personalised recommendations