Seismotectonic strain rate tensors, the main and effective strain rates for the lithosphere of the Aegean region have been computed. The orientation of the compressive and tensile strain axes has been determined. The relationship between possible failure of the medium and the effective strain rate has been established for the first time. Observation of strong 1991-1997 earthquakes has shown that regions of high seismic hazard are those where the strain rates are at their minimum.
Department of Earth Physics, Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119992, Russia