The Cadell Fault, southeastern Australia: a record of temporally clustered morphogenic seismicity in a low-strain intraplate region
Published:January 01, 2017
D. Clark, A. McPherson, M. Cupper, C. D. N. Collins, G. Nelson, 2017. "The Cadell Fault, southeastern Australia: a record of temporally clustered morphogenic seismicity in a low-strain intraplate region", Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions, A. Landgraf, S. Kübler, E. Hintersberger, S. Stein
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The Cadell Fault, found in stable continental region (SCR) crust in southeastern Australia, provides a record of temporally clustered morphogenic earthquakes spanning much of the Cenozoic. The slip rate, averaged over perhaps as many as five complete seismic cycles in the period 70–20 ka, is c. 0.4–0.5 mm a−1, compared with an average rate of c. 0.005–0.01 mm a−1 over the period spanning the late Miocene to Recent. If full length rupture of the 80 km long feature is assumed, the average recurrence for Mw 7.3–7.5 earthquake events on the Cadell Fault in the period 70–20 ka is c. 8 kyr. About 20 kyr, representing more than two average seismic cycles, have lapsed since the most recent morphogenic seismic event on the fault. It might therefore be speculated that this fault has relapsed into a quiescent period. Episodic rupture behaviour on the Cadell Fault, and nearby faults in Phanerozoic SCR crust in eastern Australia, might be controlled by their linkage into major crustal fault systems at depth, in apparent contrast with the style of deformation in non-extended Precambrian SCR crust. Periods of strain localization on these major crustal fault systems, effectively turning deforming regions ‘on’ and ‘off’, might be influenced by changes in distant plate boundary forces. If proved, this would have profound consequences for how the occurrence of large earthquakes is assessed in Australia, as the fundamental assumption of morphogenic earthquakes occurring as a result of the progressive build-up of strain, and thus being in some way predictable in their periodicity, is not satisfied. Documenting such fault behaviour in SCR crust assists in conceptualizing the points critical to understanding the hazards posed by SCR faults worldwide.
Supplementary material: Seismic reflection and refraction survey parameters are available at: http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18869
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Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions
Palaeoseismic records and seismological data from continental interiors increasingly show that these areas of slow strain accumulation are more subject to seismic and associated natural hazards than previously thought. Moreover, some of our instincts developed for assessing hazards at plate boundaries might not apply here. Hence assessing hazards and drawing implications for the future is challenging, and how well it can be done heavily depends on the ability to assess the spatiotemporal distribution of past large earthquakes. This book explores some key issues in understanding hazards in slowly deforming areas. Examples include classic intraplate regions, such as Central and Northern Europe, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Australia, and North and South America, and regions of widely distributed strain, such as the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia. The papers in this volume are grouped into two sections. The first section deals with instrumental and historical earthquake data and associated hazard assessments. The second section covers methods from structural geology, palaeoseismology and tectonic geomorphology, and incorporates field evidence.