Abstract

The Karasu Plain is an intermontane sedimentary basin with a Miocene—Quaternary volcanicbasement, andesitic-basalticlava flows and fissure eruptions of basaltic lava. It was filled in the early Quaternary by lacustrine fan-delta deposits, and later by fluvial-alluvial fan deposits. The basin is characterized by NNE-SSW trending sinistral wrench faults on its eastern margin and ENE-WSW trending reverse faults on its southern margin. Both systems of active faults intersect very near to Erzurum, which is considered to be the most likely site for the epicentre of a probable future large earthquake. Regional gas geochemistry has therefore been undertaken adjacent to the city of Erzurum, in order to characterize radon levels over the varied lithologies, examine the potential for geological fault mapping and assess the status of fault activity. Initially,41 sites were sampled and analysed for Rn, CO2, O2 and CH4 in soils along three traverses to the east (8.26km and 4.5km length) and to the west (6.8km length) of Erzurum. During the first investigation, 495 Rn determinations were made from 165 samples at 41 sites over a ten-day period, during which a small earthquake (M=2.95) occurred. Another 211 sites have been subsequently used for Rn investigations including one traverse through the centre of the city. Additionally,water samples were degassed for Rn and soils tested at five key sites around the Erzurum Plain. Radon was readily detected in soils at all sites. Both 222Rn and 220Rn were present at most. Soils over major lithologies gave characteristic signals and, in all traverses, anomalously high values coincided with active faults. Little correlation was found between spring gases (thermal and cold) and adjacent soils. De-gassed spring water Rn values proved highest along the southern margin of the basin and CO2 values were highest along the northern edge.

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