Active faulting in a populated low-strain setting (Lower Rhine Graben, Central Europe) identified by geomorphic, geophysical and geological analysis

  • The Lower Rhine Graben (Central Europe) is a prime example of a seismically active low-strain rift zone characterized by pronounced anthropogenic and climatic overprint of structures, and long recurrence intervals of large earthquakes. These factors render the identification of active faults and surface ruptures difficult. We investigated two fault scarps in the Lower Rhine Graben, to decipher their structural character, offset and potential seismogenic origin. Both scarps were modified by anthropogenic activity. The Hemmerich site lies c. 20 km SW of Cologne, along the Erft Fault. The Untermaubach site lies SW of Duren, where the Schafberg Fault projects into the Rur River valley. At the Hemmerich site, geomorphic and geophysical data, as well as exploratory coring reveal evidence of repeated normal faulting. Geophysical analysis and palaeoseismological excavation at the Untermaubach site reveal a complex fault zone in Holocene gravels characterized by subtle gravel deformation. Differentiation of tectonic and fluvial features wasThe Lower Rhine Graben (Central Europe) is a prime example of a seismically active low-strain rift zone characterized by pronounced anthropogenic and climatic overprint of structures, and long recurrence intervals of large earthquakes. These factors render the identification of active faults and surface ruptures difficult. We investigated two fault scarps in the Lower Rhine Graben, to decipher their structural character, offset and potential seismogenic origin. Both scarps were modified by anthropogenic activity. The Hemmerich site lies c. 20 km SW of Cologne, along the Erft Fault. The Untermaubach site lies SW of Duren, where the Schafberg Fault projects into the Rur River valley. At the Hemmerich site, geomorphic and geophysical data, as well as exploratory coring reveal evidence of repeated normal faulting. Geophysical analysis and palaeoseismological excavation at the Untermaubach site reveal a complex fault zone in Holocene gravels characterized by subtle gravel deformation. Differentiation of tectonic and fluvial features was only possible with trenching, because fault structures and grain sizes of the sediments were below the resolution of the geophysical data. Despite these issues, our investigation demonstrates that valuable insight into past earthquakes and seismogenic deformation in a low-strain environment can be revealed using a multidisciplinary approach.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author details:Simon KüblerORCiD, R. Streich, Erika LückORCiDGND, M. Hoffmann, A. M. Friedrich, Manfred Reinhard StreckerORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1144/SP432.11
ISBN:978-1-86239-745-3
ISBN:978-1-86239-964-8
ISSN:0305-8719
Title of parent work (English):Seismicity, fault rupture and earthquake hazards in slowly deforming regions
Publisher:The Geological Society
Place of publishing:London
Publication type:Article
Language:English
Year of first publication:2017
Publication year:2017
Release date:2022/11/24
Volume:432
Number of pages:20
First page:127
Last Page:146
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
DDC classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer review:Referiert
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