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Earthquake crisis unveils the growth of an incipient continental fault system

TitleEarthquake crisis unveils the growth of an incipient continental fault system
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGracia E., Grevemeyer I., Bartolome R., Perea H., Martinez-Loriente S., de la Pena L.G, Villasenor A., Klinger Y., C. Iacono L, Diez S., Calahorrano A., Camafort M., Costa S., d'Acremont E., Rabaute A., Ranero C.R
Date Published2019/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000483305000001
Keywordsafrica-iberia plate; al-hoceima earthquake; alboran; constraints; deformation; evolution; inversion; san-andreas fault; Science & Technology - Other Topics; sea; seismic-hazard; slip-rate

Large continental faults extend for thousands of kilometres to form boundaries between rigid tectonic blocks. These faults are associated with prominent topographic features and can produce large earthquakes. Here we show the first evidence of a major tectonic structure in its initial-stage, the Al-Idrissi Fault System (AIFS), in the Alboran Sea. Combining bathymetric and seismic reflection data, together with seismological analyses of the 2016 M-w 6.4 earthquake offshore Morocco - the largest event ever recorded in the area - we unveil a 3D geometry for the AIFS. We report evidence of left-lateral strike-slip displacement, characterise the fault segmentation and demonstrate that AIFS is the source of the 2016 events. The occurrence of the M-w 6.4 earthquake together with historical and instrumental events supports that the AIFS is currently growing through propagation and linkage of its segments. Thus, the AIFS provides a unique model of the inception and growth of a young plate boundary fault system.

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