Journal of Seismology

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1225–1246 | Cite as

Earthquake recurrence models and occurrence probabilities of strong earthquakes in the North Aegean Trough (Greece)

  • Christos KourouklasEmail author
  • Eleftheria Papadimitriou
  • George Tsaklidis
  • Vassilios Karakostas


The determination of strong earthquakes’ recurrence time above a predefined magnitude, associated with specific fault segments, is an important component of seismic hazard assessment. The occurrence of these earthquakes is neither periodic nor completely random but often clustered in time. This fact in connection with their limited number, due to shortage of the available catalogs, inhibits a deterministic approach for recurrence time calculation, and for this reason, application of stochastic processes is required. In this study, recurrence time determination in the area of North Aegean Trough (NAT) is developed by the application of time-dependent stochastic models, introducing an elastic rebound motivated concept for individual fault segments located in the study area. For this purpose, all the available information on strong earthquakes (historical and instrumental) with Mw ≥ 6.5 is compiled and examined for magnitude completeness. Two possible starting dates of the catalog are assumed with the same magnitude threshold, Mw ≥ 6.5 and divided into five data sets, according to a new segmentation model for the study area. Three Brownian Passage Time (BPT) models with different levels of aperiodicity are applied and evaluated with the Anderson–Darling test for each segment in both catalog data where possible. The preferable models are then used in order to estimate the occurrence probabilities of Mw ≥ 6.5 shocks on each segment of NAT for the next 10, 20, and 30 years since 01/01/2016. Uncertainties in probability calculations are also estimated using a Monte Carlo procedure. It must be mentioned that the provided results should be treated carefully because of their dependence to the initial assumptions. Such assumptions exhibit large variability and alternative means of these may return different final results.


Earthquake recurrence time North Aegean Trough Time-dependent models BPT distribution 



The constructive comments of an anonymous reviewer are greatly appreciated and contributed to the improvement of the manuscript. Gratitude also extended to Dr. M. García Fernández for his editorial assistance. The maps are generated using the Generic Mapping Tool (; Wessel and Smith 1998). All the calculations and plots are made using the MATLAB software ( Fault plane solutions used in this study were taken from We acknowledge support of this work by the project “HELPOS – Hellenic System for Lithosphere Monitoring” (MIS 5002697) which is implemented under the Action “Reinforcement of the Research and Innovation Infrastructure”, funded by the Operational Programme “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation” (NSRF 2014-2020) and co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund), Geophysics Department Contribution 908.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication June 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos Kourouklas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eleftheria Papadimitriou
    • 1
  • George Tsaklidis
    • 2
  • Vassilios Karakostas
    • 1
  1. 1.Geophysics DepartmentAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Statistics and Operational Research Department, School of MathematicsAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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