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Preliminary results of a paleoseismological analysis along the Sahel fault (Algeria): New evidence for historical seismic events

Abstract : The ∼60 km-long Sahel ridge west of Algiers (Tell Atlas, north Algeria) is considered as an ENE-WSW fault-propagation fold running along the Mediterranean coast and associated with a north-west dipping thrust. Its proximity with Algiers makes this structure a potential source of destructive earthquakes that could hit the capital city, as occurred in 1365 AD and 1716 AD. The first paleoseismologic investigation on the Sahel ridge was conducted in order to detect paleo-ruptures related to active faulting and to date them. From the first investigations in the area, a first trench was excavated across bending-moment normal faults induced by flexural slip folding in the hanging wall of the Sahel anticline thrust ramp. Paleoseismological analyses recognize eight rupture events affecting colluvial deposits. 14C dating indicates that these events are very young, six of them being younger than 778 AD. The first sedimentary record indicates two ruptures before 1211 AD, i.e. older than the first historical earthquake documented in the region. Three events have age ranges compatible with the 1365, 1673 and 1716 Algiers earthquakes, whereas three other ones depict very recent ages, i.e. younger than 1700 AD. Potential of these secondary extrados faults for determining paleoseismic events and thrust behaviour is discussed.
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A. Heddar, Christine Authemayou, H. Djellit, K. Yelles, Jacques Déverchère, et al.. Preliminary results of a paleoseismological analysis along the Sahel fault (Algeria): New evidence for historical seismic events. Quaternary International, Elsevier, 2013, 302, pp.210-223. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2012.09.007⟩. ⟨insu-00841173⟩

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