Abstract

Small displacements of recently deglaciated surfaces across mesoscopic fractures at several localities adjacent to the Alpine fault allow the determination of the direction (unknown). principal horizontal shortening as 126° ±10°. This is consistent with estimates from geodetic studies, microearthquake fault-plane solutions, and macroscopic faulting, and suggests that the displacements represent the release of accumulated regional tectonic strain. The rapid development of the features following ice removal over the past few centuries suggests a mechanism whereby ice loading allowed the accumulation of tectonic elastic strain in the near-surface rocks, which was subsequently released on unloading.

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