Slip Age and Frequency of past strong Earthquake in the Aegean Region (SAFEAR)
The aim of this project is to assess the seismic risk in eastern Mediterranean and contribute to a better hazard mitigation in those areas. Two aspects are proposed: a first one aiming at determining which faults are the most prone to break soon; and a second one dedicated to understand how potential earthquakes have affected in the past and could affect in the future the socio-economical development of those regions. The new paleosismological methodology we have successfully developed on normal faults in Italy using 36Cl cosmogenic dating (Benedetti et al. submitted; Schlagenhauf et al. 2009), have allowed us to show that those normal faults ruptured mainly during paroxysmal phase of activity lasting less than 1 ka separated by 3-4 ka long quiescent time. However the probability of earthquake recurrence is calculated worldwide with the hypothesis that earthquakes repeat regularly in time. Moreover, the complete slip and age frequency of past earthquakes on 7 faults in Italy has allowed us to determine the faults most prone to break soon (Benedetti et al. submitted). The Aegean region is the seismically most active region in the Mediterranean. The successive civilizations that developed since more than 8000 yr BP have been greatly affected by large catastrophes, such as earthquakes. While in the past many small villages or cities in Greece or Western Turkey have been destroyed when their population was relatively small, those have now grown to large, and very vulnerable cities. Which faults are the most prone to break soon in those areas? How vulnerable are those regions to a strong earthquake? The long term objective of our proposal is to establish an interdisciplinary approach combining paleoseismology, archeology and geography to answer those questions and better assess the seismic risk in the Aegean. More specifically, this project aims at evaluating the feasibility of this interdisciplinary approach by conducting a pilot study in southern Crete where the double destruction of Minoan palaces are potentially associated with earthquakes and the strong links with our Greek partners will ensure us good access in the field and facilitate contact with local authorities.