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First appraisal to define prospective seismogenic sources from historical earthquake damages in southern Upper Rhine Graben

Abstract : The southern portion of the Upper Rhine Graben, a major oblique rift among France, Germany and Switzerland, shows a weak instrumental seismic record despite its remarkable physiographic imprint within the Northern Alpine foreland. Since traces of active deformation can be found in this region and based on experience in other European areas with high seismic hazard and dense population, we searched for past earthquakes recorded in historical catalogues. Based on the fact that tectonic deformation cumulates through geological time and considering that long-term effects tend to leave characteristic signatures on present-day landscape arrangement, our goal was to identify faults that could have caused the damage of recorded historical events. We isolated five main earthquakes, of moderate Richter magnitude, essentially located on the E flank of the graben (as is the case with recent seismic activity). To such events, we were able to associate a specific prospective structure through the use of a procedure thus far successfully employed in Southern European contexts. We concentrated on three events which showed (a) notable sensitivity to the density of the historical felt reports and (b) accordance with on-going subtle deformation pattern. Another, most relevant earthquake (M 5.5) yielded a promising match with the known deformation network in the region. As a template to better constrain earthquake cycle and damage potential, historical seismicity offers an invaluable tool, since it contains a specific record, although not always unambiguous. Cross-checking such data with pertinent geological information allows to devise a realistic fault geometry capable of being responsible for a specific seismic event.
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Soumis le : mardi 23 août 2022 - 16:24:42
Dernière modification le : mercredi 24 août 2022 - 03:06:58

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Umberto Fracassi, Bertrand Niviere, Thierry Winter. First appraisal to define prospective seismogenic sources from historical earthquake damages in southern Upper Rhine Graben. Quaternary Science Reviews, Elsevier, 2005, 24 (3-4), pp.401-423. ⟨10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.05.009⟩. ⟨hal-03759030⟩

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