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The ‘snapshot’ of active deformation provided by the historical record of seismicity in southeastern Australia correlates with the distribution of faults with significant demonstrable Quaternary displacement. This is most evident in the Mt Lofty and Flinders Ranges, a region of relatively high seismic activity and fault density, as well as the southern Victorian uplands. In the Mt Lofty and Flinders Ranges, faults associated with prominent range-bounding scarps are characterised by reverse-sense Quaternary slip rates in the range 20–150 m/106 y. In comparison, in the Murray Basin, a region of low seismic activity and low fault density, the largest faults have slip rates of less than 15 m/106 y, averaged over the last 5 million years. The modern neotectonic regime can be traced back at least until the terminal Miocene, where it is marked by regional unconformities between Upper Miocene and Pliocene sequences. A terminal Miocene onset for the modern neotectonic regime implies an important role played by Pacific-Australian plate-boundary forces in defining the unusual pattern of In situ stress in southeastern Australia characterised by east-west to southeast-northwest ∂Hmax.

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