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Present-day deformation along the El Pilar Fault in eastern Venezuela: Evidence of creep along a major transform boundary

Abstract : The right-lateral strike-slip El Pilar Fault is one of the major structures that accommodate the relative displacement between the Caribbean and South-America Plates. This fault, which trends East-West along the northeastern Venezuela margin, is a seismogenic source, and shows numerous evidence for active tectonics, including deformation of the Quaternary sediments filling the Cariaco Gulf. Because the main El Pilar Fault strand belongs to a set of strike-slip faults and thrusts between the stable Guyana shield (South) and the Caribbean oceanic floor (North), a GPS network was designed and installed to measure the relative motion of the El Pilar Fault and other faults. The results obtained from the comparison of 2003 and 2005 surveys indicate: (i) a lack of significant displacement (especially shortening) in the Serrania del Interior (Neogene cordillera overthrusted above the Guyana craton), (ii) an eastward displacement (relative to fixed south America plate) up to 22 mm/year of benchmarks located north of the El Pilar Fault. Velocities simulations using dislocations in an elastic half-space show: (1) the concentration along the El Pilar Fault of the whole Caribbean-South America relative displacement, (2) the existence of an important component of aseismic displacement along the upper part of the El Pilar Fault. Between 12 km depth and the surface, only 40% of displacement is locked for the western segment and 50% for the eastern segment. This last phenomenon may be related to the existence of serpentinite lenses along the fault zone as observed for segments of San Andreas and North Anatolian faults.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 19, 2012 - 3:13:52 PM
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François Jouanne, Franck A. Audemard, Christian Beck, Aurelien van Welden, Reinaldo Ollarves, et al.. Present-day deformation along the El Pilar Fault in eastern Venezuela: Evidence of creep along a major transform boundary. Journal of Geodynamics, Elsevier, 2011, 51 (5), pp.398-410. ⟨10.1016/j.jog.2010.11.003⟩. ⟨insu-00680457⟩



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