Field work on active faults in Greece

I am currently in Greece for field work on faults in the vicinity of Athens. Sascha from RWTH Aachen University is doing his MSc. thesis on remote sensing, geophysical analyses, and mapping of some structures that we think could be active, and me and Ioannis are with him in the field for the first few days. Right on the first day we found some promising outcrops which we will map and check in detail during the next days. This one could be the best so far, it looks like we’ve found a relatively young offset here:

A promising outcrop north of Athens. The first interpretation is that the reddish soils and colluvium to the right were downthrown relatively to the greenish rocks to the left by a fault that created that whitish fault gauge. Hopefully, we can date some paleosols here for getting an age of the event.

Also, this area is full of beautiful scarps and we will measure some topographic profiles across them and Sascha will try GPR to find out about possible sediment deformation in the hanging wall:

A beauty of a fault scarp north of Athens.

In Athens there have been damages caused by earthquakes repeatedly, but almost always from relatively remote events. Few significant earthquakes in the immediate vicinity of Athens are known in historical times (Ambraseys & Psycharis, 2012), but the landscape around the city is clearly a seismic landscape in terms of Michetti et al. 2005. This is a good reason to check the faults in the surroundings for their activity.

Roadcut outcrop of the Kalamos Fault


Ambraseys, N., Psycharis, I. N. 2012. Assessment of the long-term seismicity of Athens from two classical columns. Bull Earthquake Eng 10, 1635–1666.

Michetti, M. A., Audemard, F. A., Marco, S. 2005. Future trends in paleoseismology: Integrated study of the seismic landscape as a vital tool in seismic hazard analyses. Tectonophysics 408, 3-21.

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner


  • jaithish | 2018-08-02|04:54 (UTC)

    Hi, Saw your article on active faults in athens. Here in Malaysia we are also working on that and it is a relatively new field here .


  • Christoph Grützner | 2018-08-04|22:06 (UTC)

    Thanks! This kind of work is so important. It can save lives. If you ever want to let the community know what you’re doing, please think about writing a blog post and do not hesitate to contact us.
    Cheers and all the best

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