Three borehole strainmeters will be installed into boreholes provided by internationally supported Geophysical Observatory at the North Anatolian Fault (GONAF). The borehole strainmeters will enhance the ability of the scientific instrumentation to monitor ultra-slow process near the probable source zone of the Mw>7 earthquake that is soon expected beneath the Marmara sea.

Twice in the past 1000 years a sequence of damaging earthquakes has propagated during the course of a few decades along the North Anatolian fault in Turkey towards Istanbul, the final earthquake in the sequence catastrophically destroying the city. This occurred most recently in 1509 when the population was about 200,000 and ten thousand people died. The population is now 20 million, the building stock more fragile and the last earthquake of the current sequence is considered imminent. An opportunity to enhance the detection capability of a suite of deep seismometers installed near Istanbul has arisen that would permit us to monitor the tectonic processes leading to this failure. The Anatolian fault setting of Istanbul in many ways resembles the San Andreas Fault setting of San Francisco, and we envisage that what we learn from the next Istanbul earthquake will act as a template for future damaging shocks in California. The RAPID funding for the project is necessary to install the strainmeters allowing us to make geodetic observations of this segment of the fault before, during and after a large earthquake, which combined with the seismic data from GONAF will provide valuable data for understanding earthquake processes. In addition this investigation will incrementally raise awareness of seismic hazard of Istanbul and it?s surrounding environment with direct societal benefits.

This award is designated as a Global Venture Fund Award and is being co-funded by NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
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Luciana Astiz
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University of Colorado at Boulder
United States
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