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Gulf of Corinth
Written by Southampton University Alumni Society in Greece
Saturday, 28 January 2012 11:25
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Gulf of Corinth

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Corinth landscape

The Gulf of Corinth is a continental rift in the earliest stages of the rifting process. The region is partially onshore and partially offshore and the morphology of the landscape is controlled by active normal faults. To understand the region, we therefore integrate marine geophysical and geological techniques with terrestrial techniques (tectonic geomorphology, paleoseismology, sedimentology, Quaternary dating, etc). Our general aims are to identify major fault systems, quantify their slip and assess how the Corinth rift system has evolved in space and time.

Our research involves collaboration with a number of different groups worldwide, including the Universities of Leeds, East Anglia and Manchester (UK), University of Patras and Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (Greece) and Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italy). Funding for this research comes from the Natural Environment Research Council, the Royal Society, and the University of Southampton. We are grateful to the Greek authorities for permission to carry out the various projects.

Above right: Southern coast of the Gulf of Corinth, showing the uplifted footwall block of the Eastern Eliki fault to the right and the subsiding hangingwall block and active Gilbert fan delta systems to the left.


PhD students working on this project:

Carol Cotterill
Thesis title: 'A high resolution Holocene fault activity history of the Aigion shelf, Gulf of Corinth, Greece'
Completed July, 2006 and currently working for the British Geological Survey.

Rebecca Bell
Thesis title: 'Structural evolution and active tectonics of the western Gulf of Corinth, Greece'



The Gulf of Corinth is one of the most seismically active regions of Europe. Therefore our investigations contribute not only to understanding the rifting process but also to assessment of earthquake hazard. The Gulf of Corinth is thought to have initiated within the last few million years. Initial work suggested that the faults dominating the landscape on the southern shore controlled the rift forming a half graben tilted to the south. Further data collection, particularly offshore, has revealed a more complex fault geometry of half and full graben with changing structural geometry along the rift axis and during the short rift history. Many studies have used both onshore and offshore stratigraphic markers to estimate slip rates on the major faults indicating how strain is distributed and giving some indication of potential earthquake magnitude and frequency.

Corinth bathymetry


The Gulf of Corinth is a rare example of an active rift in the very earliest stages of extension without overprinting of subsequent tectonic activity. Therefore it offers one of the best opportunities to understand how continental rifting initiates and evolves.

Left: Multibeam swath bathymetry of the western offshore Gulf indicating major fault systems and submarine channels.





Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 January 2012 11:32 )