The July 20, 2017 M6.6 Kos Earthquake: Seismic and Geodetic Evidence for an Active North-Dipping Normal Fault at the Western End of the Gulf of Gökova (SE Aegean Sea)

  • Athanassios GanasEmail author
  • Panagiotis Elias
  • Vasilis Kapetanidis
  • Sotirios Valkaniotis
  • Pierre Briole
  • Ioannis Kassaras
  • Panagiotis Argyrakis
  • Aggeliki Barberopoulou
  • Alexandra Moshou


On July 20, 2017 22:31 UTC, a strong Mw = 6.6 earthquake occurred at shallow depth between Kos Island (Greece) and Bodrum (Turkey). We derive a co-seismic fault model from joint inversion of geodetic data (GNSS and InSAR) assuming that the earthquake can be modelled by the slip of a rectangular fault buried in an elastic and homogeneous half-space. The GNSS observations constrain well most of the model parameters but do not permit to discriminate between south- and north-dipping planes. However, the interferograms, produced from C-band ESA Sentinel 1 data, give a clear preference to the north-dipping plane. We also map surface motion away from the satellite along the Turkish coast (from Bodrum towards the east) which reached about 17 cm onshore islet Karaada. The best-fit model is obtained with a 37° north-dipping, N283°E striking normal fault, in agreement with the published moment tensor solutions. The resolved slip vector is dominantly normal with a slight component of left-lateral motion (15°). The surface projection of the seismic fault outcrops in the Gökova ridge area, a well-developed bathymetric feature inside the western Gulf of Gökova. Our geodetic model fits the pattern of the shallow, north-dipping aftershocks obtained from rigorous relocation of all available recordings in the region (about 1120 events; relocated mainshock is at 36.955°N, 27.448°E; depth at 9.2 km ± 0.5 km). The relocated aftershocks also indicate clustering at both ends of the rupture and seismicity triggering mainly towards the east and the north, within 2 weeks following the mainshock. We also analysed regional GPS data (interseismic velocities) and obtained an extension rate of 3.2 mm/yr across the Gökova rift, along a direction N165°E.


Deformation InSAR GNSS inversion earthquake Kos 



We are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive reviews. We thank the NOA, EMSC, KOERI & DDA analysis groups for the provision of seismic data. Sentinel 1A images were provided free by ESA’s Sentinels Scientific Data Hub. Focal mechanism data were accessed from,, Bathymetry data were retrieved from EMODNET and topography from ALOS global model (30-m). We thank Ahmed Yalçıner, Evi Nomikou, I. Parcharidis, M. Sachpazi, R. Reilinger, S. Ergintav, T. Taymaz, G. Papadopoulos and E. Lekkas for comments and discussions. We thank the HEPOS network (Greece) for providing GNSS data from their stations in Kos and Rhodes. We also thank the Greek private networks, METRICANET and URANUS (TREE Co, and the Turkish GCM network for releasing their GNSS data. Coulomb Stress Transfer was calculated by the Coulomb v3.3 software (Toda et al. 2011). Several figures were prepared by use of GMT software (Wessel et al. 2013). P. Argyrakis acknowledges the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its support. We acknowledge funding of this research by the project ‘‘HELPOS—Hellenic System for Lithosphere Monitoring’’ (MIS 5002697).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 6173 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanassios Ganas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Panagiotis Elias
    • 2
  • Vasilis Kapetanidis
    • 3
  • Sotirios Valkaniotis
    • 4
  • Pierre Briole
    • 5
  • Ioannis Kassaras
    • 3
  • Panagiotis Argyrakis
    • 1
  • Aggeliki Barberopoulou
    • 6
  • Alexandra Moshou
    • 1
  1. 1.National Observatory of AthensInstitute of GeodynamicsAthensGreece
  2. 2.National Observatory of AthensInstitute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote SensingAthensGreece
  3. 3.National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Geology and GeoenvironmentAthensGreece
  4. 4.Koronidos StrTrikalaGreece
  5. 5.Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL research University, Laboratoire de Géologie-UMR CNRS 8538ParisFrance
  6. 6.AIR Worldwide, Research DepartmentBostonUSA

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