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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The Isparta Cay fault scarp, southeast of Sagalassos
The Daridere lineament, northeast of the city

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Seismological Studies: August 17-23, 2003

Seismological activities are closely linked to the city's history. Sagalassos was struck by at least four earthquakes in antiquity--two minor ones (in the first and third centuries A.D.) and two major ones (one around A.D. 500, another in the middle of the seventh century). The epicenters of the later earthquakes were at or near the city (see August 3-9) and caused a severe decline in the urban occupation, eventually leading to a reduced fortified settlement on the Antoninus Pius promontory (see Antoninus Pius, July 13-19).

Based on satellite imagery and the digital elevation model, a number of lineaments (megascopic linear features in the landscape) were identified in Sagalassos' ancient territory. Some of these lineaments show characteristics of active normal faults, thus potential candidates for generating the devastating earthquakes.

The lineament on which Sagalassos was built has already been studied by geophysics (2002), trenching (see July 27-August 2), and drilling (see August 10-16). Integrating these new data with previous geological, geomorphological, and archaeoseismological work is leading us to the conclusion that the Sagalassos lineament is an "Aegean"-type normal fault on which historical seismic activity has occurred.

Dominique Similox-Tohon and Manuel Sintubin continued their quest for seismically active faults. Two more lineaments were studied in the field. The Isparta Cay lineament 15 km southeast of the city shows all characteristics of an "Aegean"-type normal fault. This is corroborated by field evidence (e.g. fault breccia). However, no direct evidence has been found for historical seismic activity. The 10-km-long Daridere lineament runs northeast of the city. Its tectonic significance remains enigmatic, though historical seismic activity can probably be excluded.

Survey of all major lineaments in the territory to date suggests that only the Sagalassos fault, as well as some smaller faults in the Sarikaya area (see August 3-9), may bear evidence of historical seismic activity.

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