The Cephalonia, Ionian Sea (Greece), sequence of strong earthquakes of January-February 2014: a first report

  • Gerassimos A. Papadopoulos | papadop@noa.gr Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Vassilios K. Karastathis Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Ioannis Koukouvelas Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Maria Sachpazi Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Ioannis Baskoutas Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Gerassimos Chouliaras Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Apostolos Agalos Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Eleni Daskalaki Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • George Minadakis Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Alexandra Moshou Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Aggelos Mouzakiotis Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Katerina Orfanogiannaki Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Antonia Papageorgiou Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.
  • Dimitrios Spanos Department of Geology, University of Patras, Greece.
  • Ioanna Triantafyllou Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, Greece.

Abstract

On 26.1.2014 and 3.2.2014 two strong earthquakes of Mw6.0 and Mw5.9 ruptured the western Cephalonia Isl., Ionian Sea (Greece), at the SSW-wards continuation of the Lefkada segment of the Cephalonia Transform Fault Zone (CTFZ), causing considerable damage and a variety of ground failures. High-precision relocation of the aftershocks implies that the seismogenic layer was of 35 km in length (L) striking NNE-SSW, of 10 km maximum in width and 15 km in thickness. Two aftershock spatial clusters were revealed at north (L1~10 km) and at south (L2~25 km). However, no time correlation was found between the two clusters and the two strong earthquakes. Fitting the temporal evolution of aftershocks to the Omori-law showed slow aftershock decay. Fault plane solutions produced by moment tensor inversions indicated that the strong earthquakes as well as a plenty of aftershocks (Mw≥4.0) were associated with dextral strikeslip faulting with some thrust component and preferred fault planes striking about NNE-SSW. Average fault plane parameters obtained for the three largest events are: strike 21(±2)0, dip 65.5(±3)0, slip 173(±3)0. Broadband P-wave teleseismic records were inverted for understanding the rupture histories. It was found that the earthquake of 26.1.2014 had a complex source time function with c. 62 cm maximum slip, source duration of ~12 s and downwards rupture. Most of the slip was concentrated on a 13x9 km fault rupture. The earthquake of 3.2.2014 had a relatively simple source time function related with one big patch of slip with maximum slip c. 45 cm, with 10 s source duration. The rupture was directed upwards which along with the shallow focus (~5 km) and the simple source time function may explain the significantly larger (0.77 g) PGA recorded with the second earthquake with respect to the one recorded (0.56 g) with the first earthquake. Most of the slip was concentrated on a 12x6 km fault rupture. Maximum seismic intensity (Im) of level VII and VIII to VIII+ was felt in Lixouri town and the nearby villages from the first and the second earthquake, respectively. The rupture histories and the increased building vulnerability after the damage caused by the first shock may account for the larger Im caused by the second shock. However, the ground failures area of the second earthquake was nearly half of that of the first earthquake, which is consistent with the faster attenuation of ground acceleration away from the meizoseismal area caused by the second earthquake with respect to the first one. From that the 2014 earthquakes ruptured on land western Cephalonia we suggested to revise the CTFZ geometry in the sense that the Lefkada CTFZ segment does not terminates offshore NW Cephalonia but extends towards SSW in western Cephalonia.

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Published
2014-05-15
Keywords:
Ionian Sea, Cephalonia Transform Fault Zone, 2014 earthquakes, relocation, focal mechanisms, strike-slip faulting, rupture histories, macroseismic intensity, ground failures.
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How to Cite
Papadopoulos, G. A., Karastathis, V. K., Koukouvelas, I., Sachpazi, M., Baskoutas, I., Chouliaras, G., Agalos, A., Daskalaki, E., Minadakis, G., Moshou, A., Mouzakiotis, A., Orfanogiannaki, K., Papageorgiou, A., Spanos, D., & Triantafyllou, I. (2014). The Cephalonia, Ionian Sea (Greece), sequence of strong earthquakes of January-February 2014: a first report. Research in Geophysics, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/rg.2014.5441