In 1999, the eastern coastline of the Marmara region (Turkey) witnessed increased seismic activity on the North Anatolian fault (NAF) system with two damaging earthquakes (M 7.4 Kocaeli and M 7.2 Düzce) that occurred almost three months apart. These events have reduced stress on the western segment of the NAF where it continues under the Marmara Sea. The undersea fault segments have been recently explored using bathymetric and reflection surveys. These recent findings helped scientists to understand the seismotectonic environment of the Marmara basin, which has remained a perplexing tectonic domain. On the basis of collected new data, seismic hazard of the Marmara region is reassessed using a probabilistic approach. Two different earthquake source models: (1) the smoothed-gridded seismicity model and (2) fault model and alternate magnitude-frequency relations, Gutenberg–Richter and characteristic, were used with local and imported ground-motion-prediction equations. Regional exposure is computed and quantified on a set of hazard maps that provide peak horizontal ground acceleration (PGA) and spectral acceleration at 0.2 and 1.0 sec on uniform firm-rock site condition (760 m/sec average shear wave velocity in the upper 30 m). These acceleration levels were computed for ground motions having 2% and 10% probabilities of exceedance in 50 yr, corresponding to return periods of about 2475 and 475 yr, respectively. The maximum PGA computed (at rock site) is 1.5g along the fault segments of the NAF zone extending into the Marmara Sea. The new maps generally show 10% to 15% increase for PGA, 0.2 and 1.0 sec spectral acceleration values across much of Marmara compared to previous regional hazard maps. Hazard curves and smooth design spectra for three site conditions: rock, soil, and soft-soil are provided for the Istanbul metropolitan area as possible tools in future risk estimates.

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