2022 journal article

Pateoseismology of the Marquesado-La Rinconada thrust system, Eastern Precordillera of Argentina


By: T. Rockwell*, C. Costa*, A. Meigs*, D. Ragona*, L. Owen n, M. Murari n, E. Masana*, A. Richard*

co-author countries: Argentina 🇦🇷 Colombia 🇨🇴 Spain 🇪🇸 India 🇮🇳 United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: paleoseismology; San Juan earthquake hazard; Marquesado-La Rinconada fault; Eastern Precordillera; Argentina; Andes
Source: Web Of Science
Added: January 9, 2023

Excavated trenches at two sites across the Marquesado–La Rinconada fault system along the eastern Precordilleran front south of San Juan, Argentina, reveal the earthquake history of this rapidly urbanizing region. Interpretation of earthquakes is based on both the generation of colluvial wedges and upward fault terminations, as well as folding events in fine-grained alluvium ponded behind upslope-facing fault scarps. The ages of the past five interpreted earthquakes at the Loma Negra site are E1 at 2.8 ± 2.8 ka, E2 at 7.1 ± 1.5 ka, E3 at 9.6 ± 1.3 ka, E4 at 14.4 ± 2.1 ka, and E5 at 17.2 ± 3.1 ka. At the Jejenes sites, we documented event ages of 2.7 ± 0.1 ka, 3.9 ± 0.6 ka, 5.9 ± 1.3 ka, and 11.4 ± 4 ka. These results indicate that the recurrence interval along the Marquesado–La Rinconada fault zone averages several thousand years. The inferred displacements at the Jejenes site are about 1.1 m for E1, E3, and E4 and 2.1 m for event E2, whereas the displacements at Loma Negra averaged about 1 m, but the most recent event displays less slip. Notably, the older events seem to have been larger and emergent, whereas the youngest event appears to have been smaller and blind in the ponded sediment; this may partially explain the poor expression of classic colluvial wedges associated with some events. Despite the fact that active surface faulting has an uncertain relationship with the primary seismic sources at depth in the crust, past and future events of M w ∼7.5 are consistent with the length scale of active deformation, the ∼1–2 m slip per event scale of these ruptures, and the size of historical earthquakes.