Abstract

During a twelve-month passive tomography experiment in Epirus, in northwestern Greece, a total of 1368 microearthquakes were located. The most accurately located events and focal mechanisms are used here to understand the seismotectonics of the area. The seismicity shows a clear association with the main, previously defined deformation zones. A total of 434 well-defined focal mechanisms were also used for the determination of the stress pattern in the area. The computed stress-field pattern is quite complex close to the surface and almost homogeneous at depths below 15 km. For these depths, the stress field is purely compressional in a west-southwest direction, whereas for shallow depths it is transpressional or even extensional for some smaller areas. The abrupt change in the stress pattern, which occurs as depth increases, suggests the existence of a detachment surface, which is provided by the evaporites that have intruded into the upper layers through the thrust zones. The presence of the evaporites and their lateral extent is mapped by the seismicity distribution and confirmed by seismic tomography. Based on the findings, we estimate a possible total evaporite thickness of almost 10 km at least for the central part of the study area. Such a result is important for the oil exploration efforts that have just started in Epirus.

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