Effects of repeated paleoearthquakes on the Alhama de Murcia Fault (Betic Cordillera, Spain) on the Quaternary evolution of an alluvial fan system

J. J. Martínez-Díaz, E. Masana, J. L. Hernández-Enrile, P. Santanach


In this work we present a study of an alluvial fan system, which is affected by the Quaternary activity of the leftlateral,
reverse Alhama de Murcia Fault (Betic Cordillera). Paleoseismic studies in this area yield data that can
be compared and correlated with the morphologic and tectono-sedimentary evolution of the alluvial fan. The
spatial arrangement of the sedimentary alluvial fan units near the fault zone, shown in trenches, is controlled by
the recurrent reverse, left-lateral coseismic events. We analysed the morphology of the drainage network using
a 1:5000 scale orthoimage to identify and measure horizontal deflections along the fault. The channel pattern
analysis allowed us to estimate the average horizontal slip rate of the SAMF for the last 130 ka. This value is
0.21 mm/a, which is slightly higher than the range of values obtained by trenching analysis for the last 30 ka,
(0.06 to 0.15 mm/yr). The interpretation of the stratigraphic sequence exposed along the trench walls constrained
the occurrence of at least two surface faulting earthquakes during the last 30000 years. The most recent event
happened after the El Saltador Creek dissected the alluvial fan. The penultimate event occurred while the alluvial
fan was still active.


paleoseismicity;slow active faults;fan morphology;Alhama de Murcia Fault;BeticCordillera

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3455

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X