EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Normal faulting interaction revealed by out-of-phase Quaternary uplift-rate changes implied by studying deformed marine terraces

Marco Meschis1,2, Gerald Roberts2, Jennifer Robertson2, Zoe Mildon3, Diana Sahy4, Rajasmita Goswami5, Claudia Sgambato2,6, Joanna Faure Walker6, Alessandro Maria Michetti7,8, and Francesco Iezzi9
Marco Meschis et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Palermo, Palermo, Italy (
  • 2Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK
  • 3School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
  • 4British Geological Survey, Keyworth NG12 5GG, United Kingdom
  • 5Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands
  • 6Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
  • 7Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Como, Italy
  • 8INGV, Osservatorio Vesuviano, Napoli, Italy
  • 9DiSTAR-Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e delle Risorse Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Napoli, Italy

We have mapped and refined the chronology of raised and tectonically deformed Middle-Upper Pleistocene marine terraces in the Messina Strait, southern Italy, within the upper plate affected by crustal extension above the Ionian Subduction Zone. We have mapped up to thirteen palaeoshorelines which identify Middle-Upper Pleistocene sea-level highstands. Our interpretation reveals the chronology and geometry of deformation since ~500 ka for the Reggio Calabria Fault, the Armo Fault and the Messina-Taormina Fault. We show that the spatial patterns of uplift vary both along the strike of these normal faults and through time, and, given the across strike arrangement of the faults, also reveal how the contribution of each fault to the regional strain-rate developed through time. For example, uplift-rates mapped within the footwalls and hangingwalls of the investigated active faults were not constant through the Upper Pleistocene, with a marked change in the location of strain accumulation at ~50 ka. Conversion of uplift rates into fault throw-rates suggests that the three faults has similar throw-rates prior to ~50 ka (in the range 0.77–0.96 mm/yr), with the Armo and Reggio Calabria faults then switching to lower rates (0.32 mm/yr and 0.33 mm/yr respectively), whilst the Messina-Taormina Fault accelerated to 2.34 mm/yr. The rate of regional extension, which has been approximated by summing the implied heave rates across the three faults, was constant through time despite this re-organisation of local strain accumulation at ~50 ka. We explain these out-of-phase fault throw-rate changes during the constant-rate regional extension conditions as due to interactions between these upper plate normal faults. We discuss how fault throw-rates changing through time may affect a long-term seismic hazard assessment within active normal fault systems.

How to cite: Meschis, M., Roberts, G., Robertson, J., Mildon, Z., Sahy, D., Goswami, R., Sgambato, C., Faure Walker, J., Michetti, A. M., and Iezzi, F.: Normal faulting interaction revealed by out-of-phase Quaternary uplift-rate changes implied by studying deformed marine terraces, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-69,, 2023.

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