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Seismicity and active tectonics in the Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean: Constraints from an offshore-onshore seismological network and swath bathymetry data

AuthorsGrevemeyer, Ingo; Gràcia, Eulàlia ; Villaseñor, Antonio ; Leuchters, W.; Watts, A.B.
KeywordsAlboran Sea
Surface rupture
Issue Date3-Nov-2015
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
CitationJournal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 120: (2015)
AbstractSeismicity and tectonic structure of the Alboran Sea were derived from a large amphibious seismological network deployed in the offshore basins and onshore in Spain and Morocco, an area where the convergence between the African and Eurasian plates causes distributed deformation. Crustal structure derived from local earthquake data suggests that the Alboran Sea is underlain by thinned continental crust with a mean thickness of about 20km. During the 5months of offshore network operation, a total of 229 local earthquakes were located within the Alboran Sea and neighboring areas. Earthquakes were generally crustal events, and in the offshore domain, most of them occurred at crustal levels of 2 to 15km depth. Earthquakes in the Alboran Sea are poorly related to large-scale tectonic features and form a 20 to 40km wide NNE-SSW trending belt of seismicity between Adra (Spain) and Al Hoceima (Morocco), supporting the case for a major left-lateral shear zone across the Alboran Sea. Such a shear zone is in accord with high-resolution bathymetric data and seismic reflection imaging, indicating a number of small active fault zones, some of which offset the seafloor, rather than supporting a well-defined discrete plate boundary fault. Moreover, a number of large faults known to be active as evidenced from bathymetry, seismic reflection, and paleoseismic data such as the Yusuf and Carboneras faults were seismically inactive. Earthquakes below the Western Alboran Basin occurred at 70 to 110km depth and hence reflected intermediate depth seismicity related to subducted lithosphere.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JB012073
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