Geochemical monitoring of geothermal waters (2002-2004) along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, Turkey: Spatial and temporal variations and relationship to seismic activity

Suer, S, Gulec N, Mutlu H, Hilton DR, Cifter C, Sayin M.  2008.  Geochemical monitoring of geothermal waters (2002-2004) along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, Turkey: Spatial and temporal variations and relationship to seismic activity. Pure and Applied Geophysics. 165:17-43.

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central japan, chemical-changes, gas geochemistry, geochemical monitoring, geothermal fluid, groundwater radon, helium, hydrogeochemical anomalies, kobe earthquake, long valley caldera, mineral springs, North Anatolian Fault Zone, precursors, seismic activity, Turkey


A total of nine geothermal fields located along an 800-km long E-W transect of the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ), Turkey were monitored for three years (2002-2004 inclusive; 3-sampling periods per year) to investigate any possible relationship between seismic activity and temporal variations in the chemistry and isotope characteristics of waters in the fields. The geothermal fields monitored in the study were, from west to east, Yalova, Efteni, Bolu, Mudurnu, Seben, Kursunlu-Cankiri, Hamamozu, Gozlek and Resadiye. The chemical (major anion-cation contents) and isotopic (O-18/O-16, D/H, H-3) compositions of hot and cold waters of the geothermal sites were determined in order to both characterize the chemical nature of the individual fields and identify possible temporal variations associated with localized seismic activity. The geothermal waters associated with the NAFZ are dominantly Na-HCO3, whereas the cold waters are of the Ca-HCO3 type. The oxygen- and hydrogen-isotope compositions reveal that the hot waters are meteoric in origin as are their cold water counterparts. However, the lower delta O-18, delta D and H-3 contents of the hot waters point to the fact that they are older than the cold waters, and that their host aquifers are recharged from higher altitudes with virtually no input from recent (post-bomb) precipitation. Although no major earthquakes ( e. g., with M C 5) were recorded along the NAFZ during the course of the monitoring period, variations in the chemical and isotopic compositions of some waters were observed. Indeed, the timing of the chemical/ isotopic changes seems to correlate with the occurrence of seismic activity of moderate magnitude (3 < M < 5) close to the sampling sites. In this respect, Cl, H-3 and Ca seem to be the most sensitive tracers of seismically-induced crustal perturbations, and the Yalova and Efteni fields appear to be the key localities where the effects of seismic activity on the geothermal fluids are most pronounced over the monitoring period. The present study has produced a 'baseline' database for future studies directed at characterizing the effects of moderate-major earthquakes on the composition of geothermal waters along the NAFZ. Future work involving longer monitoring periods with more frequent sampling intervals should lead to a better understanding of the underlying mechanism(s) producing the observed chemical and isotopic variations.