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Andean geology

versión On-line ISSN 0718-7106

Resumen

VARGAS, Gabriel et al. Submarine earthquake rupture, active faulting and volcanism along the major Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault Zone and implications for seismic hazard assessment in the Patagonian Andes. AndGeo [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.1, pp.141-171. ISSN 0718-7106.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV40n1-a07.

The Liquiñe-Ofqui fault zone (LOFZ) in the Patagonian Andes is an active major transpressional intra-arc fault system along which Quaternary faulting and volcanism develop. Subaerial and submarine geomorphologic and structural characterization of latest Pleistocene-Holocene faults and monogenetic volcanoes allows us to assess geological cartography of active faults and the kinematic model for recent tectonics during postglacial times, since 12,000 cal. years BP. This allows increasing the basic geological knowledge necessary for determining the seismic hazard associated with cortical structures in the Aysén region in southern Chile. Fault cartography and field observations suggest dominant dextral-reverse strike slip along north-south and locally NNW-striking faults, dextral-normal strike slip along NE to NNE- striking faults, and sinistral strike slip along east-west faults. This kinematics is consistent with regional SW-NE shortening in the context of a major transpressional fault zone. Holocene and even historic monogenetic and sub-aquatic volcanism occurred in this tectonic setting in a close spatial relationship and probably favored by the activity and local architecture of faults. Submarine fault scarps and deformed sediments observed at the bottom of the Aysén Fjord were associated with the destructive April 2007 Mw6.2 earthquake located along the LOFZ. Our observations show that this earthquake occurred along dextral 15-20 km long N-S structure named Punta Cola Fault (PCF). This fault system is located some kilometres to the east of the main N-S Río Cuervo Fault (RCF). Most of the epicentres of the seismic swarm during 2007 were located along or in between both structures. The study area is a transference zone between N-S regional branches of the LOFZ. The cartography of fault segments proposed here together with geophysical and geologic data suggest that large earthquakes Mw6.2-6.5 can be typically expected along most of the active faults. Besides, seismic hazard assessment should also consider the possibility of earthquake magnitude in the order of 7.1 along the main fault systems like the RCF.

Palabras clave : Active faulting; Submarine earthquake rupture; Holocene volcanism; Triple junction; Patagonian Andes; Earthquake geology; Geological hazards.

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