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Geometry and Paleoseismology of the Malatya Fault (Malatya-Ovacık Fault Zone), Eastern Turkey: Implications for intraplate deformation of the Anatolian Scholle

Abstract

The sinistral Malatya-Ovacık Fault Zone (MOFZ) is one of the outstanding intraplate deformation belts within Anatolia. The 165-km-long, NE–SW-striking Malatya Fault (MF), which constitutes the southern section of the MOFZ, is separated into five segments according to its surface geometry. These segments have evident morphotectonic features that reflect long- and short-term fault activity, such as morphologic structures offset by as little as 7 m and as much as 7.3 km. This study provides results from the first paleoseismological investigations on the MF. We find that the last earthquake occurred between 965 and 549 BCE and calculate a recurrence interval of 2275 ± 605 years from evidence for four paleo-events over the last 10 ka. Considering fault segmentation and our paleoseismological data, we propose that the accumulated strain on the MF may cause a destructive earthquake (M = 7.4) in the near future. Our results support the hypotheses that the MF and other NW-striking dextral and NE-striking sinistral strike-slip faults within the eastern part of Anatolia are plate boundary-related, active deformational structures.

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Acknowledgments

Some figures in this paper were generated using the public domain software Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) (Wessel et al. 2013). The authors are thankful to the Governorship of the Malatya, Mehmet ERTÜRK from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Malatya and the people of the Arguvan for their great support during our field studies. The authors are grateful to Lindsay M. Schoenbohm and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments and suggestions that significantly improved the manuscript.

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This study was supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) grant no. 114Y580.

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Sançar, T., Zabcı, C., Karabacak, V. et al. Geometry and Paleoseismology of the Malatya Fault (Malatya-Ovacık Fault Zone), Eastern Turkey: Implications for intraplate deformation of the Anatolian Scholle. J Seismol 23, 319–340 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10950-018-9808-z

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