From subduction to transform motion: a seabeam survey of the Hellenic trench system

Xavier Le Pichon, Jacques Angelier, Jean Aubouin, Nicolas Lyberis, Serge Monti, Vincent Renard, Henri Got, Ken Hsü, Yossi Mart, Jean Mascle, Drummond Matthews, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Pandelis Tsoflias, Georges Chronis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preliminary results of a multi-narrow beam survey of the Hellenic trench system, in the Eastern Mediterranean, are presented. The southwestern Ionian branch is divided in small basins, partly filled with Pleistocene sediments. The morphology suggests that the basins are deformed by a compressional stress acting roughly perpendicularly to the trench along N50°E. This direction is the direction of the regional slip vector of the shallow thrust-type earthquakes. The structure of the southeastern Pliny-Strabo branch is quite different. Narrow en-échelon slots, oriented N40°E, have been mapped within the main troughs oriented N60°E. The regional earthquake slip vector is also oriented along N40°E. We conclude that the Hellenic trench system is an active subduction system, dominated by thrust along the Ionian branch and by transform motion along the Pliny-Strabo branch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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