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Small-scale faulting, topographic steps and seismic ruptures in the Alhambra (Granada, southeast Spain)

AuthorsAzañón, José Miguel ; Azor, Antonio ; Booth-Rea, Guillermo; Torcal, Federico
KeywordsActive tectonics
Normal faults
Co-seismic damage
Betic Cordillera
Issue Date7-Apr-2004
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationJournal of Quaternary Science 19(3): 219 - 227 (2004)
AbstractThe Alhambra (14th century AD) in Granada (southeast Spain) is built at the summit of a Pliocene to Lower Pleistocene conglomeratic formation. Tens of small-scale normal faults crop out along the northern hillslope of the Alhambra, which have a N130-N150°E strike, dipping 65-75° mostly to the southwest. These are closely spaced faults (approximately 5-30 m) with centimetre to several metre displacements. Several topographic steps in this area coincide with hectometre- to kilometre-scale faults with the same kinematics as the small-scale ones. Some of these faults appear to be active and related to the present seismicity detected in this region, and associated with the cracks and other damage observed in the Alhambra. Several focal mechanisms calculated in this study are in accordance with the dominant NW-SE orientated normal faults. We interpret that the topographic steps of these faults are a consequence of repeated earthquakes during the past 800 ka. The last large earthquake of approximately 5.1 magnitude in this area occurred in 1431, destroying the Alixares Palace, the Arabian fence and part of the Alhambra wall. We consider the seismic risk associated with these faults to be moderate, as the displacement is partitioned into several hectometre- to kilometre-scale faults.
Description9 pages, 5 figures.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jqs.838
Appears in Collections:(IACT) Artículos
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