Abstract

We perform numerical simulations of dynamic rupture processes along the North Anatolian fault in the Sea of Marmara, which poses a high risk to the nearby city of Istanbul. Several fault geometry models, nucleation points, and initial stress states are tested. The likelihood of each earthquake scenario is evaluated, and a probabilistic assessment of the ground‐motion estimation is proposed. The simulation results suggest that the fault geometrical configuration is not favorable for producing an earthquake of magnitude 6–7, as no scenario is found. On the contrary, the probability of occurrence of an earthquake of magnitude greater than 7 is high. Most of these large events are characterized by epicenters located in the central or eastern parts of the Sea of Marmara. However, the possibility of a western‐initiated rupture propagating eastward, the worst scenario for the Istanbul region, cannot be ruled out. Many simulations led to supershear ruptures, as observed for the nearby 1999 İzmit earthquake, and this significantly influences ground‐motion prediction in the region.

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