Localization of Quaternary slip rates in an active rift in 105 years: An example from central Greece constrained by 234U-230Th coral dates from uplifted paleoshorelines

Roberts, G. P.; Houghton, S. L.; Underwood, C.; Papanikolaou, I.; Cowie, P. A.; van Calsteren, Peter; Wigley, T.; Cooper, F. J. and McArthur, J. M. (2009). Localization of Quaternary slip rates in an active rift in 105 years: An example from central Greece constrained by 234U-230Th coral dates from uplifted paleoshorelines. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 114(B10) B10406.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2008JB005818

Abstract

Mapping, dating, and modeling of paleoshorelines uplifted in the footwall of the 1981 Gulf of Corinth earthquake fault, Greece (Ms 6.9–6.7), are used to assess its slip rate history relative to other normal faults in the area and study strain localization. The 234U-230Th coral ages from Cladocora caespitosa date uplifted shoreface sediments, and paleoshorelines from glacioeustatic sea level highstands at 76, (possibly) 100, 125, 175, 200, 216, 240, and 340 ka. Uplifted Quaternary and Holocene paleoshorelines decrease in elevation toward the western tip of the fault, exhibiting larger tilt angles with age, showing that uplift is due to progressive fault slip. Since 125 ka, uplift rates varied from 0.25 to 0.52 mm/yr over a distance of 5 km away from the fault tip. Tilting was also occurring prior to 125 ka, but uplift rates were lower because the 125 ka paleoshoreline is at 77% of the elevation of the 240 ka paleoshoreline despite being nearly half its age. Comparison of paleoshoreline elevations and sedimentology with the Quaternary sea level curve shows that slip rates increased by a factor of 3.2 ± 0.2 at 175 ± 75 ka, synchronous with cessation of activity on a neighboring normal fault at 382–112 ka. We suggest that the rapid localization of up to 10–15 mm/yr of extension into the narrow gulf (∼30 km wide) resulted from synchronous fault activity on neighboring faults followed by localization rather than sequential faulting, with consequences for the mechanism controlling localization of extension.

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