Are there any active faults within the Lepontine dome (central Alps)?

Abstract : In metamorphic chain areas characterized by low seismicity, the evidence of neotectonic activity is generally very poor. However, direct evidences of seismogenic faults are reported hereafter in the Lepontine dome (Central Alps) considered in the literature as tectonically quiescent. Identification of aligned cluster of microseismic events guided morphotectonic researches. The latter revealed clear clues of recent faulting, i.e. marked scarps, perturbation of the drainage system or shift of terminal moraines. Thus, thanks to combination of seismological, geological and morphological data, we accurately locate four seismogenic faults and determine precisely their kinematic from fault-stria data and focal mechanisms. Three roughly NW-SE seismogenic dextral-normal faults were evidenced: the first close to the Simplon fault zone, the second in the middle northern part of the dome and the third one to the north of Bellinzona. They are part of a regional Riedel-shear zone system linked to the Insubric line. Dextral strike-slip component increases when strike of fault planes approaches the E-W orientation (corresponding to pure strike-slip) and respectively normal component increases when strike of fault planes is close to NW-SE. The second system highlighted corresponds to WSW-ENE normal faults mainly distributed on the whole northern flank of the dome along a zone of 10 km wide. They are roughly parallel to the Rhône and Bedretto valleys and exploit pre-existing basement fabric. These data coherent at all scales provide new constraints on the current stress regime going on in the Lepontine Dome and could have implications for future seismic hazard studies in the broader area.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 11:04:03 AM
Last modification on : Monday, September 9, 2019 - 1:18:09 PM

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Cécile Allanic, Charles Gumiaux. Are there any active faults within the Lepontine dome (central Alps)?. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, Société géologique de France, 2013, 184 (4-5), pp.427-440. ⟨10.2113/gssgfbull.184.4-5.427⟩. ⟨insu-00868924⟩

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