Earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and greater that occurred in 1930-1972 in northern Anatolia have been relocated in order to define more accurately the characteristics of recent seismicity. The revised epicenters were determined either by joint epicenter determination (JED) or singly, with travel-times modified by JED-calculated source-station adjustments. Calibration epicenters were assigned on the basis of published field studies of the earthquakes.
Many characteristics of the occurrence of magnitude 5.0 and greater earthquakes on the North Anatolian fault are similar to characteristics of small-earthquake seismicity on California's San Andreas fault. Earthquakes tend to be concentrated on or near particular sections of the North Anatolian fault, suggesting intrinsic differences in mechanical properties along the fault. The relocated epicenters support the hypothesis that fault rupture in large and great earthquakes will begin in regions of small and moderate earthquakes; the rupture of the large earthquake then propagates into sections of the fault that normally have a low level of activity.
From 1939 through 1967, seven earthquakes of magnitude 6.8 or greater ruptured the North Anatolian fault from east to west for a distance of 800 km. Several sections of the fault zone were active before the occurrence of the large earthquakes of 1939-1967. Foreshock activity also extended tens of kilometers away from the fault zone. The time intervals between successive magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquakes on the fault are not consistent with a constant velocity of source migration; a model is proposed here in which these time intervals are equal to the duration of nonelastic effects precursory to the earthquakes.
In western Turkey, the burst of normal-fault earthquakes in 1969-1970 was concentrated in distinctly separated source areas. The distribution of aftershocks to the earthquake of March 28, 1970 suggests that the surface fault scarps accompanying this earthquake are a distorted representation of the normal fault plane at depth.