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Evidence of episodic brittle faulting in the cratonic part of the Peninsular India and its implications for seismic hazard in slow deforming regions

John, Biju and Rajendran, CP (2009) Evidence of episodic brittle faulting in the cratonic part of the Peninsular India and its implications for seismic hazard in slow deforming regions. In: Elsevier Science, 471 (3-4). pp. 240-252.

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The region around Waclakkancheri, in the province of Kerala, India, which lies in the vicinity of Palghat-Cauvery ;hear zone (within the Precambrian crystalline terrain), has been a site of microseismic activity since 1989. Earlier studies had identified a prominent WNW-ESE structure overprinting on the E-W trending lineaments associated with Palghat-Cauvery shear zone. We have mapped this structure, located in a chamockite quarry near Desamangalam, Waclakkancheri, which we identify as a ca. 30 km-long south dipping reverse fault. This article presents the characteristics of this fault zone exposed on the exhumed crystalline basement and discusses its significance in understanding the earthquake potential of the region. This brittle deformation zone consists of fracture sets with small-scale displacement and slip planes with embedded fault gouges. The macroscopic as well as the microscopic studies of this fault zone indicate that it evolved through different episodes of faulting in the presence of fluids. The distinct zones within consolidated gouge and the cross cutting relationship of fractures indicate episodic fault activity. At least four faulting episodes can be recognized based on the sequential development of different structural elements in the fault rocks. The repeated ruptures are evident along this shear zone and the cyclic behavior of this fault consists of co-seismic ruptures alternating with inter-seismic periods, which is characterized by the sealed fractures and consolidated gouge. The fault zone shows a minimum accumulated dip/oblique slip of 2.1 m in the reverse direction with a possible characteristic slip of 52 cm (for each event). The ESR dating of fault gouge indicates that the deformation zone records a major event in the Middle Quaternary. The empirical relationships between fault length and slip show that this fault may generate events M >= 6. The above factors suggest that this fault may be characterized as potentially active. Our study offers some new pointers that can be used in other slow deforming cratonic hinterlands in exploring the discrete active faults.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Elsevier Science
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords: Brittle faulting;Fault rocks;Fault sealing;Episodic deformation;Characteristic slip;Peninsular India.
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2009 07:27
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:38
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/21628

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