Comparison of hypocentre parameters of earthquakes in the Aegean region

Nurcan M. Özel, Avi Shapira, James Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Aegean Sea is one of the more seismically active areas in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The seismic activity in the Aegean Sea is monitored by a number of local agencies that contribute their data to the International Seismological Centre (ISC). Consequently, the ISC Bulletin may serve as a reliable reference for assessing the capabilities of local agencies to monitor moderate and low magnitude earthquakes. We have compared bulletins of the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI) and the ISC, for the period 1976-2003 that comprises the most complete data sets for both KOERI and ISC. The selected study area is the East Aegean Sea and West Turkey, bounded by latitude 35-41°N and by longitude 24-29°E. The total number of events known to occur in this area, during 1976-2003 is about 41,638. Seventy-two percent of those earthquakes were located by ISC and 75% were located by KOERI. As expected, epicentre location discrepancy between ISC and KOERI solutions are larger as we move away from the KOERI seismic network. Out of the 22,066 earthquakes located by both ISC and KOERI, only 4% show a difference of 50 km or more. About 140 earthquakes show a discrepancy of more than 100 km. Focal Depth determinations differ mainly in the subduction zone along the Hellenic arc. Less than 2% of the events differ in their focal depth by more than 25 km. Yet, the location solutions of about 30 events differ by more than 100 km. Almost a quarter of the events listed in the ISC Bulletin are missed by KOERI, most of them occurring off the coast of Turkey, in the East Aegean. Based on the frequency-magnitude distributions, the KOERI Bulletin is complete for earthquakes with duration magnitudes Md > 2.7 (both located and assigned magnitudes) where as the threshold magnitude for events with location and magnitude determinations by ISC is mb > 4.0. KOERI magnitudes seem to be poorly correlated with ISC magnitudes suggesting relatively high uncertainty in the magnitude determinations. It is apparent that KOERI, like other agencies in the region, will greatly benefit from a much improved regional cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the staff of the ISC and KOERI for their effort to collect and evaluate the data. This study is partly supported by Bogazici University Research Fund (Project: 05T204). We are most grateful to the anonymous referee for most valuable comments. The authors also thank George Hellfrich for his careful revision of this manuscript.


  • Aegean region
  • International Seismological Centre
  • Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute
  • Seismicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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