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Durham University

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Hussain, E., Hooper, A., Wright, T. J., Walters, R. J. & Bekaert, D. P. S. (2016). Interseismic strain accumulation across the central North Anatolian Fault from iteratively unwrapped InSAR measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121(12): 9000-9019.

Author(s) from Durham


The North Anatolian Fault (NAF) is a major tectonic feature in the Middle East and is the most active fault in Turkey. The central portion of the NAF is a region of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) scarcity. Previous studies of interseismic deformation have focused on the aseismic creep near the town of Ismetpasa using radar data acquired in a single line-of-sight direction, requiring several modeling assumptions. We have measured interseismic deformation across the NAF using both ascending and descending data from the Envisat satellite mission acquired between 2003 and 2010. Rather than rejecting incorrectly unwrapped areas in the interferograms, we develop a new iterative unwrapping procedure for small baseline interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) processing that expands the spatial coverage. Our method corrects unwrapping errors iteratively and increases the robustness of the unwrapping procedure. We remove long wavelength trends from the InSAR data using GNSS observations and deconvolve the InSAR velocities into fault-parallel motion. Profiles of fault-parallel velocity reveal a systematic eastward decrease in fault slip rate from 30 mm/yr (25–34, 95% confidence interval (CI)) to 21 mm/yr (14–27, 95% CI) over a distance of ∼200 km. Direct offset measurements across the fault reveal fault creep along a ∼130 km section of the central NAF, with an average creep rate of 8 ± 2 mm/yr and a maximum creep rate of 14 ± 2 mm/yr located ∼30 km east of Ismetpasa. As fault creep is releasing only 30–40% of the long-term strain in the shallow crust, the fault is still capable of producing large, damaging earthquakes in this region.