ESDIR 2022 - Exploitation Scientifique des données des Infrastructures de Recherche 2022 - étape 2

Active fault systems at an incipient plate boundary in the Alboran Sea – ALBANEO

Submission summary

Earthquakes are the natural hazard with greatest impact on the world's populations, yet predicting when and where they will occur remains a key challenge. This is because earthquake triggering, and the consequent seismic and tsunami hazard potential, depends on the interplay of a range of regional and local factors that remain poorly constrained. This is particularly the case in broad zone of slow deformation of continental crust, such as along the African-Eurasian plate boundary (e.g. Alboran Sea; < 5 mm/a). In such intracontinental contexts of slow deformation, it is difficult to precisely constrain where elastic energy accumulates, when and how it is released and thus the resulting seismic hazard.
The purpose of the ALBANEO project is to address key open questions regarding the functioning over time of an intra-continental fault system along an incipient plate boundary in the Alboran Sea, and its potential future evolution and implication for regional seismic and tsunami hazards. The project focuses on the Al Idrissi active Fault System in the Alboran Sea as a case study. The ALBANEO project proposes to use data from the 2021 ALBACORE oceanographic cruise (R/V Pourquoi Pas?, 2021) to obtain results on the distribution and style of deformation at and near the seafloor, on the mechanical and thermal properties of fault compartments, on their dynamic interactions with sedimentation, on seismic activity through time, and on past and present-day fluid flow through faults. The cruise targeted active fault segments hosted within Quaternary sedimentary systems including deep sea contourites and shelf sedimentary wedges. Specific questions to be addressed using data acquired during ALBACORE are:
• What insights can be obtained from the sedimentary record about the tectonic control of depositional processes and seafloor morphology, slip rates and fault activity, and to build an accurate age model?
• Over Quaternary timescales, where, when and how is the accumulated elastic energy released during earthquakes?
• What are the physical properties of sediments and the dynamics and history of fluid flow of fault segments within the strike-slip system?
Addressing these questions require a multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach. The ALBANEO project will use geophysical, geological, geotechnical, geochemical and geothermal data acquired during the ALBACORE oceanographic cruise. During ALBANEO, analyses of seismic profiles correlated to available sediment cores and in-situ data will allow us to construct the first accurate age model to evaluate slip rate and date co-seismic events that have affected the Alboran region during the last 130ka, as well as define a sequence stratigraphy model for the shelf wedge (Tasks #1 and #3). Geophysical, geochemical and geotechnical data will be used to constrain physico-chemical properties and fluid dynamics along the Al Idrissi Fault segments (Task #2). These analyses will provide inputs to kinematic and mechanical modelling of fault dynamics and strain partitioning (Task #4). Project results will be disseminated through a data management plan (Task #5). The results of ALBANEO will afford an improved understanding of earthquake triggering in a slow-slip and diffuse deformation setting. The study has strong societal interests for coastal communities and infrastructure as it will result in improved assessments of the risks related to earthquake, tsunamis and submarine landslide hazards.

Project coordination

Elia D'ACREMONT (Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris, Sorbonne Université)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


ISTeP, SU, équipe Terre-Mer Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris, Sorbonne Université
ISTeP, SU, équipe Tectonique Institut des sciences de la Terre Paris, Sorbonne Université

Help of the ANR 495,505 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2023 - 48 Months

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