Natural Hazards

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 219–239 | Cite as

The hazard potential of the western segment of the Makran subduction zone, northern Arabian Sea

  • C. P. Rajendran
  • Kusala Rajendran
  • Majid Shah-hosseini
  • Abdolmajid Naderi Beni
  • C. M. Nautiyal
  • Ronia Andrews
Original Paper

Abstract

Evaluating the hazard potential of the Makran subduction zone requires understanding the previous records of the large earthquakes and tsunamis. We address this problem by searching for earthquake and tectonic proxies along the Makran Coast and linking those observations with the available constraints on historical seismicity and the tell-tale characteristics of sea floor morphology. The earthquake of Mw 8.1 of 1945 and the consequent tsunami that originated on the eastern part of the Makran are the only historically known hazardous events in this region. The seismic status of the western part of the subduction zone outside the rupture area of the 1945 earthquake remains an enigma. The near-shore shallow stratigraphy of the central part of Makran near Chabahar shows evidence of seismically induced liquefaction that we attribute to the distant effects of the 1945 earthquake. The coastal sites further westward around Jask are remarkable for the absence of liquefaction features, at least at the shallow level. Although a negative evidence, this possibly implies that the western part of Makran Coast region may not have been impacted by near-field large earthquakes in the recent past—a fact also supported by the analysis of historical data. On the other hand, the elevated marine terraces on the western Makran and their uplift rates are indicative of comparable degree of long-term tectonic activity, at least around Chabahar. The offshore data suggest occurrences of recently active submarine slumps on the eastern part of the Makran, reflective of shaking events, owing to the great 1945 earthquake. The ocean floor morphologic features on the western segment, on the contrary, are much subdued and the prograding delta lobes on the shelf edge also remain intact. The coast on the western Makran, in general, shows indications of progradation and uplift. The various lines of evidence thus suggest that although the western segment is potentially seismogenic, large earthquakes have not occurred there in the recent past, at least during the last 600 years. The recurrence period of earthquakes may range up to 1,000 years or more, an assessment based on the age of the youngest dated coastal ridge. The long elapsed time points to the fact that the western segment may have accumulated sufficient slip to produce a major earthquake.

Keywords

Makran subduction zone Hazard potential Earthquake recurrence Tsunami Tectonics 

References

  1. Ambraseys NN, Melville CP (1982) A history of Persian earthquakes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 219Google Scholar
  2. Apel E, Bürgmann R, Bannerjee P, Nagarajan B (2006) Geodetically constrained Indian plate motion and implications for plate boundary deformation. EOS Trans AGU 85(52):T51B-1524Google Scholar
  3. Bayer R, Chéry J, Tatar M, Vernant Ph, Abbassi M, Masson F, Nilforoushan F, Doerflinger E, Regard V, Bellier O (2006) Active deformation in Zagros–Makran transition zone inferred from GPS measurements. Geophys J Int 165:373–381. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.02879 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bilek SL, Lay T (2002) Tsunami earthquakes possibly widespread manifestations of frictional conditional stability. Geophys Res Lett 29. doi:10.1029/2002GL015215
  5. Bilham R, Lodi S, Hough S, Bukhary S, Murtaza Khan A, Rafeeqi SFA (2007) Seismic hazard in Karachi, Pakistan: uncertain past, uncertain future. Seismol Res Lett 78:601–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bilham R, Lodi S, Bendick R, Molnar P (2009) Aseismic slip on the Makran Coast? In: 2008–2012 UNAVCO proposal: geodesy advancing Earth science research, pp 3–10Google Scholar
  7. Bourget J, Zaragosi S, Ellouz-Zimmermann S, Ducassou E, Prins MA, Garlan T, Lanfumey V, Schneider J-L, Rouillard P, Giraudeau J (2010) Highstand vs. lowstand turbidite system growth in the Makran active margin: imprints of high-frequency external controls on sediment delivery mechanisms to deep water systems. Mar Geol 274:187–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Broecker WS, Bender ML (1972) Age determinations on marine strandlines. In: Bishop WW, Miller JA (eds) Calibration of hominoid evolution. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, pp 19–35Google Scholar
  9. Byrne DE, Sykes LR, Davis DM (1992) Great thrust earthquakes and seismic slip along the plate boundary of the Makran subduction zone. J Geophys Res 97:449–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandra U (1984) Focal mechanism solutions for earthquakes in Iran. Phys Earth Planet Inter 34:9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeMets C, Gordon RG, Argus DF, Stein S (1990) Current plate motions. Geophy J Int 101:425–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gharibreza M, Motamed A (2006) Late Quaternary paleoshorelines and sedimentary sequences in Chabahar Bay (southeast Iran). J Coast Res 22:1499–1504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heidarzadeh M, Pirooz MD, Zaker NH, Yalciner AC, Mokhtari M, Esmaeily A (2008) Historical tsunami in the Makran subduction zone off the southern coasts of Iran and Pakistan and results of numerical modeling. Ocean Eng 35:774–786. doi:10.1016/j.oceaneng.2008.01.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horton BP, Gibbard PL, Milne GM, Morley RJ, Purintavaragul C, Stargardt JM (2005) Holocene sea levels and paleoenvironment, Malay-Thai Peninsula, Southeast Asia. Holocene 15:1199–1213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jackson J, McKenzie D (1984) Active tectonics of the Alpine-Himalayan belt between Turkey and Pakistan. Geophys JR Astron Soc 77:185–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kanamori H (1972) Mechanism of tsunami earthquakes. Phys Earth Planet Int 6:246–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kopp C, Fruehn J, Flueh ER, Reichert C, Kukowski N, Biala J, Klaeschen D (2000) Structure of the Makran subduction zone from wide-angle and reflection seismic data. Tectonophysics 329:171–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kukowski N, Schillhorn T, Flueh ER, Huhn K (2000) Newly identified strike-slip plate boundary in the northwestern Arabian Sea. Geology 28:355–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kukowski N, Schillhorn T, Huhn K, von Rad U, Husen S, Flueh ER (2001) Morphotectonics and mechanics of the central Makran accretionary wedge off Pakistan. Mar Geol 173:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lambeck K (1996) Shore line reconstructions for the Persian Gulf since the last glacial maximum. Earth Planet Sci Lett 142:43–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Masson F, Anvari M, Djamour Y, Walpersdorf A, Tavakoli F, Daignières M, Nankali H, Van Gorp S (2007) Large-scale velocity field and strain tensor in Iran inferred from GPS measurements; new insight for the present-day deformation pattern within NE Iran. Geophys J Int 170:436–440. doi:10.111/j.1365-246X.2007.03477.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCall GJH (2002) A summary of the geology of the Iranian Makran. In: Clift PD, Kroon D, Craig J (eds) The tectonic and climatic evolution of the Arabian Sea Region. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 195:147–204Google Scholar
  23. Mokthari M, Fard IA, Hessami K (2008) Structural elements of the Makran region, Oman Sea and their potential relevance to tsunamigenesis. Nat Hazards 47:185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Murty T, Rafiq M (1991) A tentative list of tsunamis in the marginal seas of the north Indian Ocean. Nat Hazards 4:81–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Musson RMW (2009) Subduction in the western Makran: the historian’s contribution. J Geol Soc Lond 166:387–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Neetu S, Suresh I, Shankar R, Nagarajan B, Sharma R, Shenoi SSC, Unnikrishnan AS, Sundar D (2011) Trapped waves of the 27 November 1945 Makran tsunami: observations and numerical modeling. Nat Hazards. doi:10.1007/s11069-011-9854-0 Google Scholar
  27. Obermeier SF (1996) Using liquefaction-induced features for paleoseismic analysis. In: Paleoseismology McCalpin J (ed). Academic Press, New York, p 588Google Scholar
  28. Pacheco JF, Sykes LR, Scholz CH (1993) Nature of seismic coupling along simple plate boundaries of the subduction typ. J Geophys Res 98:14133–14159Google Scholar
  29. Page WD, Alt JN, Cluff LS, Plafker G (1979) Evidence for the recurrence of large-magnitude earthquakes along the Makran coast of Iran and Pakistan. Tectonophysics 52:533–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pendse CG (1948) A short note on the Makran earthquake of the 28 November 1945. J Sci Ind Res 5:106–108Google Scholar
  31. Platt JP, Legget JK, Alam S (1985) Large-scale sediment underplating in the Makran accretionary prism. Southwest Pakistan. Geology 13:507–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Prakash S, Puri VK (2010) Recent advances in liquefaction of fine grained soils. In: 5th international conference on recent advances in geotechnical earthquake engineering and soil dynamics, San Diego, California, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  33. Quittmeyer RC (1979) Seismicity variations in the Makran region of Pakistan and Iran: relation to great earthquakes. Pageoph 117:1212–1228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Quittmeyer RC, Kafka AL (1984) Constraints plate motions in southern Pakistan and the northern Arabian Sea from the focal mechanisms small earthquakes. J Geophys Res 89:2444–2458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rajendran CP, Rajendran K (2001) Characteristics of deformation and past seismicity with the 1819 Kutch earthquake, northwestern India. Bull Seism Soc Am 91:407–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rajendran CP, Ramanamurthy MV, Reddy NT, Rajendran K (2008) Hazard implications of the late arrival of the 1945 Makran tsunami. Curr Sci 95:1739–1743Google Scholar
  37. Rani VS, Srivastav K, Srinagesh D, Dimri VP (2011) Spatial and temporal variations of b-value and fractal analysis for the Makran Region. Mar Geol 34:77–82. doi:10.1080/01490419.2011.547804 Google Scholar
  38. Schlüter HU, Prexl A, Gaedicke Ch, Roese H, Reichert Ch, Meyer H, von Daniels C (2002) The Makran accretionary wedge: sediment thickness and ages and the origin of mud volcanoes. Mar Geol 185:219–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shah-hosseini M, Morhange C, Naderi Beni A, Marriner N, Lahijani H, Hamzeh M, Sabatier F (2011) Coastal boulders as evidence for high-energy waves on the Iranian coast of Makran. Mar Geol 290:17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Snead RE (1967) Recent morphological changes along the coast of West Pakistan. Ann As Am Geogr 57:550–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sondhi VP (1947) The Makran earthquake 28th Nov. 1945. The birth of new islands. Indian Miner 4:147–158Google Scholar
  42. Stuiver M, Reimer PJ (1993) Extended 14C database and revised CALIB 3.0 14C age calibration program. Radiocarbon 35:215–230Google Scholar
  43. Uchupi E, Swift SA, Ross DA (2002) Morphology and late quaternary sedimentation in the Gulf of Oman Basin. Mar Geophys Res 23:185–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Updike RG, Egan JA, Moriwaki Y, Idriss IM, Moses TL (1988) A model for earthquake-induced translatory landslides in Quaternary sediments. Geol Soc Am Bull 100:783–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Vernant Ph, Nilforoushhan F, Hatzfeld D, Abbassi MR, Vigny C, Masson F, Nankali H, Martinod J, Ashtiani A, Bayer R, Tavakoli F, Chéry J (2004) Present-day crustal deformation and plate kinematics in the Middle East constrained by GPS measurements in Iran and Northern Oman. Geophys J Int 157:381–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vita-Finzi C (2002) Neotectonics on Arabian Sea coasts. In: Clift PD, Kroon D, Craig J (eds) The tectonic and climatic evolution of the Arabian Sea Region. Geol Soc Lond Spec Publ 195:87–96Google Scholar
  47. White RS, Ross DA (1979) Tectonics of the western Gulf of Oman. J Geophys Res 84:3479–3489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Woodroffe SA, Horton BP (2005) Holocene sea-level changes in the Indo-Pacific. J Asian Earth Sci 25:29–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wyss M, Al-Homoud AS (2004) Scenarios of seismic risk in the United Arab Emirates, an approximate estimate. Nat Hazards 32:375–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. P. Rajendran
    • 1
  • Kusala Rajendran
    • 1
  • Majid Shah-hosseini
    • 2
  • Abdolmajid Naderi Beni
    • 2
  • C. M. Nautiyal
    • 3
  • Ronia Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Science, Centre for Earth SciencesBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Iranian National Center for OceanographyTehranIran
  3. 3.Birbal Sahni Institute of PalaeobotanyLucknowIndia

Personalised recommendations