We analyze the spatiotemporal evolution of seismicity during a sequence of moderate (an Mw 4.7 foreshock and Mw 5.8 mainshock) earthquakes occurring in September 2019 at the transition between a creeping and a locked segment of the North Anatolian fault in the central Sea of Marmara, northwest Turkey. To investigate in detail the seismicity evolution, we apply a matched‐filter technique to continuous waveforms, thus reducing the magnitude threshold for detection. Sequences of foreshocks preceding the two largest events are clearly seen, exhibiting two different behaviors: a long‐term activation of the seismicity along the entire fault segment and a short‐term concentration around the epicenters of the large events. We suggest a two‐scale preparation phase, with aseismic slip preparing the mainshock final rupture a few days before, and a cascade mechanism leading to the nucleation of the mainshock. Thus, our study shows a combination of seismic and aseismic slip during the foreshock sequence changing the strength of the fault, bringing it closer to failure.

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