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Published March 1, 2005 | public
Journal Article Open

Locations of selected small earthquakes in the Zagros mountains


The Zagros mountains of southern Iran are marked by a zone of high seismicity and accommodate a significant portion of the convergence between Arabia and Eurasia. Due to the lack of dense local seismic or geodetic networks, the inferred kinematics of the collision in Iran is mainly based on catalogs of teleseismically determined earthquake locations. We surveyed all Mw > 4.5 earthquakes in the Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor (HCMT) and International Seismological Centre (ISC) catalogs that occurred in the Zagros mountains during the period 1992–2002 and that were spanned by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images from the ERS 1 and 2 satellites. We invert the observed deformation for the best fitting point source, single fault plane, and distributed fault slip for four earthquakes and one unexplained deformation event. We find that we can precisely locate earthquakes that are too small to be well-located by either the HCMT or ISC catalogs, allowing us to tie specific earthquakes to active geologic structures.

Additional Information

Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union. Received: 23 September 2004; Revised: 29 November 2004; Accepted: 10 January 2005; Published: 1 March 2005. We thank N. McQuarrie and C. Saikia for discussions about Zagros tectonics and seismicity. We are grateful to G. Beroza, R. Mellors, and D. Hatzfeld for their reviews and helpful comments. ERS 1 and 2 data were acquired through an ESA category-1 proposal. R. Lohman is partially supported by a NASA New Investigator Program grant award to M. Simons. Contribution 9096, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.


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