Journal of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science ›› 2022, Vol. 5 ›› Issue (1): 50-59.doi: 10.11947/j.JGGS.2022.0106

• Special Issue • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Normal Fault Slips of the March 2021 Greece Earthquake Sequence from InSAR Observations

Chuang SONG1(),Chen YU1,Gauhar MELDEBEKOVA1,Zhenhong LI1,2,3   

  1. 1. School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
    2. College of Geological Engineering and Geomatics, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710054, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Western China’s Mineral Resources and Geological Engineering, Ministry of Education, Xi’an 710054, China
  • Received:2021-08-09 Accepted:2022-01-02 Online:2022-03-20 Published:2022-03-31
  • About author:Chuang SONG, PhD student, mainly dedicated to the use of satellite radar observations to detect and monitor geohazards such as earthquakes and landslides. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China(2019YFC1509201);Chinese Scholarship Council Studentship(201806270247);Shaanxi Province Science and Technology Innovation Team(2021TD-51);UK Natural Environment Research Council through the Centre for the Observation and Modeling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics(come30001);LICS Project(NE/K010794/1);European Space Agency through the ESA-MOST DRAGON-5 Project(59339)


In March 2021, a seismic sequence including three Mw>5.5 events struck northern Thessaly, Greece. Owing to the high temporal resolution of Sentinel-1 images which were sampled every 6 days and recorded the three events separately, we are able to map individually the coseismic deformation fields of the three events. Based on their respective coseismic displacements, we determined the geometry of the fault plane for each earthquake with the method of multipeak particle swarm optimization and inverted the best-fitting slip distribution by linear least squares inversion. Modelling results show that the three events occurred successively on 3, 4 and 12 March 2021 were all dominated by normal-slip motions on previously unknown faults within the top 15km of the Earth’s crust. The 3 March 2021 Mw 6.3 earthquake ruptured a northeast-dipping fault with a strike angle of 301° (clockwise from the North) and a dip angle of 46°, producing the maximum slip of about 2.2m. The slip motion of the 4 March 2021 Mw 5.9 aftershock shows a similar fault geometry (striking 297° and dipping 42°) to the 3 March mainshock, but with a considerably smaller dip-slip component (~0.8m). The 12 March 2021 Mw 5.6 aftershock occurred on a southwest-dipping fault (striking 100° and dipping 40°) with a normal fault slip of up to 0.5m. Static Coulomb stress changes triggered by the earthquake sequence imply a promotion relationship between the first 3 March event and the two subsequent events. Due to the coseismic stress perturbation, more than 70% of aftershocks were distributed in areas with increased Coulomb stress and the northwest segment of the Larissa fault close to the seismic sequence was exposed to a relatively high seismic risk.

Key words: Greece earthquake; InSAR; normal fault; slip distribution; Coulomb stress