Earthquake crisis unveils the growth of an incipient continental fault system

Type Article
Date 2019-09
Language English
Author(s) Gràcia Eulàlia1, Grevemeyer Ingo2, Bartolomé Rafael1, Perea Hector1, 3, Martínez-Loriente Sara4, Gómez De La Peña Laura1, 2, Villaseñor Antonio5, Klinger Yann6, Lo Iacono Claudio7, Diez Susana8, Calahorrano Alcinoe1, Camafort Miquel1, Costa Sergio1, D’acremont Elia9, Rabaute Alain9, Ranero César R.1, 10
Affiliation(s) 1 : Barcelona-CSI, Institut de Ciències del Mar, ICM-CSIC, 08003, Barcelona, Spain
2 : GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, 24148, Kiel, Germany
3 : GRD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography – UCSD, CA92093, La Jolla, San Diego, USA
4 : Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), University College of Dublin, School of Earth Sciences, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
5 : Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, ICTJA-CSIC, 08028, Barcelona, Spain
6 : Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, UMR7154 CNRS, 75005, Paris, France
7 : National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK
8 : Unitat de Tecnologia Marina, UTM-CSIC, 08003, Barcelona, Spain
9 : Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS - ISTEP, 75252, Paris, France
10 : Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), 08010, Barcelona, Spain
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2019-09 , Vol. 10 , N. 1 , P. 3482 (12p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11064-5
WOS© Times Cited 20

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 Mw 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 Mw 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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Gràcia Eulàlia, Grevemeyer Ingo, Bartolomé Rafael, Perea Hector, Martínez-Loriente Sara, Gómez De La Peña Laura, Villaseñor Antonio, Klinger Yann, Lo Iacono Claudio, Diez Susana, Calahorrano Alcinoe, Camafort Miquel, Costa Sergio, D’acremont Elia, Rabaute Alain, Ranero César R. (2019). Earthquake crisis unveils the growth of an incipient continental fault system. Nature Communications, 10(1), 3482 (12p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :