Pleistocene to Recent rejuvenation of the Hebron Fault, SW Namibia
Stephen White, Harald Stollhofen, Ian G. Stanistreet, Volker Lorenz, 2009. "Pleistocene to Recent rejuvenation of the Hebron Fault, SW Namibia", Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment, K. Reicherter, A. M. Michetti, P. G. Silva
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The Hebron Fault in SW Namibia is associated with a <1 m to 9.6 m high scarp displacing Proterozoic basement and Middle to Late Pliocene crystalline conglomerates. The young age of strata exposed in the fault scarp together with evidence for displacement of aeolian dunes, post-dating the Middle Stone Age, suggests that latest fault displacements occurred during the Late Pleistocene to recent. Recorded historical seismic events show that the fault zone is still active. Latest movements of the fault are recorded by: down-to-the-SW offset of calcrete-cemented conglomerate; fluvially modified, asymmetric hanging wall, graben-like structures; at least two left-stepping jogs in the fault trace and structural data from basement rocks in which late-stage crush zones overprint earlier cataclasite. These features provide consistent evidence that the present scarp formed predominantly by normal dip-slip displacement on a NW-striking, steeply SW-dipping master fault with only a minor dextral strike-slip component. Strongly veined cataclastic fault rocks adjacent to the scarp in basement most probably originated at depths of 4–10 km. The conclusion is therefore that recent fault activity has reactivated a pre-existing, much older fault.
Aerial photographic lineaments and similar fault scarps identified NW and SE of the present study area are interpreted as extensions of the same fault structure. Hence the total length of the Hebron Fault is at least 300 km subparallel to the Atlantic margin of southern Africa. Our observations confirm that the Hebron Fault is a neotectonic feature of regional significance that may relate to late Cenozoic and particularly Quaternary neotectonic activity in NE Namibia and NW Botswana.
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Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment
Given the tremendous toll in human lives and attendant economic losses, it is appropriate that scientists are working hard to understand better earthquakes, with the aim of forecasting and, ultimately, predicting them.
In the last decades increasing attention has been paid to the coseismic effects on the natural environment, creating a solid base of empirical data for the estimation of source parameters of strong earthquakes based on geological observations. The recently introduced INQUA scale (Environmental Seismic Intensity–ESI 2007 Scale) of macroseismic intensity clearly shows how the systematic study of earthquake surface faulting, coseismic liquefaction, tsunami deposits and other primary and secondary ground effects can be integrated with “traditional” seismological and tectonic information to provide a better understanding of the seismicity level of an area and the associated hazards. At the moment this is the only scientific means of equating the seismic records to the seismic cycle time-spans extending the seismic catalogues even to tens of thousands of years, improving future seismic hazard analyses.
This Special Publication covers some of the latest multidisciplinary work undertaken to achieve that aim. Eighteen papers from research groups from all continents address a wide range of topics related both to palaeoseismological studies and assessment of macroseismic intensity based only on the natural phenomena associated with an earthquake.