Abstract

Subsurface fluid flow can be affected by earthquakes; increased spring activity, mud volcano eruptions, groundwater fluctuations, changes in geyser frequency, and other forms of altered subsurface fluid flow have been documented during, after, or even prior to seismic shaking. Recently discovered giant pockmarks on the bottom of Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland, are the lake-floor expression of subsurface fluid flow. They discharge groundwater from the Jura Mountains karstic aquifers and experience episodically increased subsurface fluid flow documented by subsurface sediment mobilization deposits at the levees of the pockmarks. In this study, we present the spatio-temporal distribution of event deposits from these phases of sediment expulsion and of multiple time-correlative mass-transport deposits. We report five striking instances of concurrent multiple subsurface sediment deposits and multiple mass-transport deposits since late glacial times, for which we propose past earthquakes as a trigger. Comparison of this new event catalogue with historic earthquakes and other independent paleoseismic records suggests that initiation of sediment expulsion requires a minimum macroseismic intensity of VII. Thus, our study presents for the first time sedimentary deposits resulting from increased subsurface fluid flow as a paleoseismic proxy.

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