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Abstract

Fault segments belonging to a fault population can link and interact, eventually forming a single larger fault, and thus affecting the estimation of the maximum expected earthquake. We present throw distribution data along the Quaternary normal faults of the Colfiorito fault system (central Italy), which consists of four main fault segments and where a seismic sequence occurred in 1997–1998. Throw values along the two central overlapping, en-échelon segments (8.5–9.5 km long) were measured on a good stratigraphic marker, by constructing a set of closely spaced geological cross-sections, perpendicular to the fault strike. As these faults are commonly retained active and border Quaternary basins, we compare morphological and geological throws in order to verify the faults neotectonic activity. Geological and morphological throw distributions show good correlation, testifying that recent faulting affected the topographic surface and suggesting that the observed offset completely accumulated during the Quaternary. The throw distribution along the fault segments is asymmetric and reaches maximum values (500–550 m) within the zone of fault overlap, suggesting mechanical interaction between the studied faults. Maximum length-throw correlation suggests that the studied faults grew according to a linear scaling relationship.

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