Active tectonics of the southeastern Upper Rhine Graben, Freiburg area (Germany).

Nivière, B., Bruestle, A., Bertrand, G., Carretier, S., Behrmann, Jan Hinrich and Gourry, J.-C. (2008) Active tectonics of the southeastern Upper Rhine Graben, Freiburg area (Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews, 27 . pp. 541-555. DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.11.018.

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The Upper Rhine Graben has two Plio-Quaternary depocentres usually interpreted as resulting from tectonic reactivation. The southern basin, near Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), contains up to 250 m of sediments. Beneath the younger alluvial deposits related to the current drainage system, a former river network deeply entrenched in the substratum reveals a very low regional base level of early Pleistocene age. The offset of channels at faults allows us to infer a Pleistocene reactivation of the syn-rift fault pattern and the estimation of slip rates. Maximum vertical movements along the faults have not exceeded 0.1 mm/yr since the middle Pleistocene. Current activity is concentrated along the westernmost faults. Morphologic markers indicate late Pleistocene reactivation of the Rhine River fault, and geophysical prospecting suggests a near-surface offset of young sedimentary deposits. The size of the fault segments potentially reactivated suggests that earthquakes with magnitude larger than Mw=6.3Mw=6.3 could be expected in the area with a return interval of about 8000 years. Extrapolated to the duration of the Plio-Pleistocene, the strain rate estimates reveal that the tectonic forcing may account for only one-third to one-half of the whole thickness of the Plio-Pleistocene sediments of the basin fill. Thus other processes must be invoked to understand the growth of the Plio-Pleistocene basin. Especially the piracy of the Rhine River to the north during the early Pleistocene could explain these effects.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Active tectonics, Upper Rhine Graben, Freiburg, Germany
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.11.018
ISSN: 0277-3791
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2009 09:58
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 11:56

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