Abstract

Ongoing evidence for earthquake clustering calls for records of numerous earthquake cycles to improve seismic hazard assessment, especially where recurrence times overstep historical records. We show that most turbidites emplaced at the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary off west Algeria over the past ∼8 k.y. correlate across sites fed by independent sedimentary sources, requiring a regional trigger. Correlation with paleoseismic data inland and ground motion predictions support that M ∼7 earthquakes have triggered the turbidites. The bimodal distribution of paleo-events supports the concepts of earthquake supercycles and rupture synchronization between nearby faults: 13 paleo-earthquakes underpin clusters of 3–6 events with recurrence intervals of ∼300–600 yr, separated by periods of quiescence of ∼1.6 k.y. without major events on other faults over the study area. This implies broad phases of strain loading alternating with phases of strain release. Our results suggest that fault slip rates are time dependent and call for revising conventional seismic hazard models.

You do not currently have access to this article.