Before the August 1999 İzmit (Kocaeli), Turkey, earthquake, theoretical studies of earthquake ruptures and geological observations had provided estimates of how far an earthquake might jump to get to a neighboring fault. Both numerical simulations and geological observations suggested that 5 km might be the upper limit if there were no transfer faults. The İzmit earthquake appears to have followed these expectations. It did not jump across any step-over wider than 5 km and was instead stopped by a narrower step-over at its eastern end and possibly by a stress shadow caused by a historic large earthquake at its western end. Our 3D spontaneous rupture simulations of the 1999 İzmit earthquake provide two new insights: (1) the west- to east-striking fault segments of this part of the North Anatolian fault are oriented so as to be low-stress faults and (2) the easternmost segment involved in the August 1999 rupture may be dipping. An interesting feature of the İzmit earthquake is that a 5-km-long gap in surface rupture and an adjacent 25° restraining bend in the fault zone did not stop the earthquake. The latter observation is a warning that significant fault bends in strike-slip faults may not arrest future earthquakes.

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