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Deep reaching versus vertically restricted Quaternary normal faults: implications on seismic potential assessment in tectonically active regions. Lessons from the middle Aterno valley fault system, central Italy

By E. Falcucci, S. Gori, M. Moro, G. Fubelli, M. Saroli, C. Chiarabba and F. Galadini

Abstract

We investigate the Middle Aterno Valley fault system (MAVF), unknown poorly investigated seismic gap in the central Apennines, adjacent to the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake epicentral area. Geological and paleoseismological analyses revealed that the MAVF evolved through hanging wall splay nucleation, its main segment moving at 0.23-0.34 mm/year since the Middle Pleistocene; the penultimate activation event occurred between 5388-5310 B.C. and 1934-1744 B.C., the last event after 2036-1768 B.C. and just before 1st-2nd century AD. These data define hard linkage (sensu Walsh and Watterson, 1991; Peacock et al., 2000; Walsh et al., 2003, and references therein) with the contiguous Subequana Valley fault segment, able to rupture in large magnitude earthquakes (up to 6.8), that did not rupture since about two millennia. By the joint analysis of geological observations and seismological data acquired during to the 2009 seismic sequence, we derive a picture of the complex structural framework of the area comprised between the MAVF, the Paganica fault (the 2009 earthquake causative fault) and the Gran Sasso Range. This sector is affected by a dense array of few-km long, closely and regularly spaced Quaternary normal fault strands, that are considered as branches of the MAVF northern segment. Our analysis reveals that these structures are downdip confined by a decollement represented by to the presently inactive thrust sheet above thef Gran Sasso front limiting their seismogenic potential. Our study highlights the advantage of combining Quaternary geological field analysis with high resolution seismological data to fully unravel the structural setting of regions where subsequent tectonic phases took place and where structural interference plays a key role in influencing the seismotectonic context; this has also inevitably implications for accurately assessing seismic hazard of such structurally complex regions.Published186–1982T. Tettonica attivaJCR Journalrestricte

Topics: Quaternary geological survey, paleoseismology, vertically restricted faults, structural interference, capable faulting, Abruzzo, Central Italy, 04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.01. Earthquake geology and paleoseismology
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.03.021
OAI identifier: oai:www.earth-prints.org:2122/9530
Provided by: Earth-prints
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