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Tuzla earthquake swarm in Turkey


Long-lasting earthquake clusters are common in western Anatolia. One of them has been active in the southwestern part of the Biga peninsula. We had studied this cluster in terms of strain energy produced over time and revealed its interesting characteristics. The seismicity in this clustering region is not normal in terms of both the number of earthquakes, duration of the activity, magnitude/frequency and mainshock/aftershock relations, and the strain energy produced. An abnormal seismic activity with a set of medium-sized earthquakes without a mainshock, which are indistinguishable in size occurred in this clustering region in 2017. Interesting features that are characteristic of earthquake swarms are probably related to the abnormal physical properties of the crust. The 2017 Tuzla activity, where there is also no notable aftershock activity, could be associated with a phase of the swarming phenomenon itself. For this, we approached the 2017 activity in terms of the fact that it may not be part of the active tectonic system. Apart from the presence of high geotherm and hot springs in the region, the crust has been weakened by pre-existing intense fault zones that have developed in previous deformation regimes since the paleo-tectonic periods. Historical and instrumental period large earthquakes have caused loss of life and property in Biga peninsula due to an existing active fault zone. The Tuzla region probably is in this zone extending NE-SW in the peninsula. However, it is very difficult or impossible to distinguish possible foreshocks or precursory phenomenon of a future large earthquake from the background activity of the earthquake swarms.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3

source as in Fig. 1. Black and white dots represent M ≥ 2 and M ≥ 5 magnitude earthquakes, respectively. 2013 Bozbaba activity region was shown with the gray-shaded rectangle

Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

source as in Fig. 1. The unit values (4 × 1017 erg) of the graphs are equal for comparison. a Annual strain energy reduction after the 5 July 1983 earthquake (Ms = 5.8) in Biga clustering region shown with rectangle A in Fig. 1. b Annual strain energy reduction after the 9 January 2013 earthquake (Ms = 5.1) in Bozbaba region shown with a shaded rectangle in Fig. 3

Fig. 7

source as in Fig. 1. Gray color plot for the frame shown in Fig. 3 with a shaded gray rectangle. Black plot for the region C in Fig. 1. The energy release of 2013 aftershocks was taken together with Tuzla swarm activity for this plot. The decreased strain energy of aftershocks following main shocks in regions with relatively calm (normal) background seismicity can be seen (gray line). This well-known energy decrease becomes invisible when we consider the 2013 activity region and Tuzla swarm together

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This study includes a part of Ms thesis (Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey) of Rıza Baysal. We thank Doğan Kalafat for inspiring guidance on the subtleties of using the earthquake catalog. We are grateful to Cüneyt Erenoğlu for sharing his geodetic study results and carefully reviewing the manuscript. We thank Esen Arpat, for his valuable comments on swarming earthquakes. We express our gratitude to Cemil Gürbüz who helped to improve the manuscript.


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Correspondence to Tolga Komut.

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Edited by Prof. Semih Ergintav (ASSOCIATE EDITOR) / Prof. Ramón Zúñiga (CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF).

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Komut, T., Baysal, R. Tuzla earthquake swarm in Turkey. Acta Geophys. 70, 1037–1045 (2022).

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  • Earthquake swarm
  • 2017 Tuzla (Ayvacık) earthquake activity
  • Earthquake clustering