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Aykut Barka : biography

December 16, 1951 - February 1, 2002

Aykut Barka (December 16, 1951, Fatih, Istanbul – February 1, 2002) was a Turkish earth scientist specialized in earthquake research. He is best known for his contributions to understanding the behaviour of the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ), one of the most dangerous active faults in the world.


He was born in Fatih district of Istanbul in 1951. He received his PhD degree in 1981 from the University of Bristol, UK under the supervision of Dr. P.L. Hancock with a thesis on "Seismotectonic Aspects of the North Anatolian Fault Zone".

He worked and studied geosciences in some top rated institutions around the world, including Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, École Normale Supérieure Paris, MIT's Earth Resources Laboratory, Cambridge, MA, University of Bristol, UK and Geological Survey of Japan.

In 1997, Barka published a with Ross Stein and James H. Dieterich of USGS, titled "Progressive failure on the North Anatolian Fault since 1939 by earthquake stress triggering", which showed the migration of big earthquakes and, not surprisingly, positive stress accumulation in the Marmara Region. Only 2 years after this paper was published, a Magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit the Izmit area in Marmara Region, killing more than 20,000 people.

Aykut Barka died on February 1, 2002 from injuries suffered in a car accident five weeks earlier. He left a wife and two young children.

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