Structure of a normal seismogenic fault zone in carbonates: The Vado di Corno Fault, Campo Imperatore, Central Apennines (Italy)

Research paper by Matteo Demurtas, Michele Fondriest, Fabrizio Balsamo, Luca Clemenzi, Fabrizio Storti, Andrea Bistacchi, Giulio Di Toro

Indexed on: 11 Aug '16Published on: 10 Aug '16Published in: Journal of Structural Geology


The Vado di Corno Fault Zone (VCFZ) is an active extensional fault cutting through carbonates in the Italian Central Apennines. The fault zone was exhumed from ∼2 km depth and accommodated a normal throw of ∼2 km since Early-Pleistocene. In the studied area, the master fault of the VCFZ dips N210/54° and juxtaposes Quaternary colluvial deposits in the hangingwall with cataclastic dolostones in the footwall. Detailed mapping of the fault zone rocks within the ∼300 m thick footwall-block evidenced the presence of five main structural units (Low Strain Damage Zone, High Strain Damage Zone, Breccia Unit, Cataclastic Unit 1 and Cataclastic Unit 2). The Breccia Unit results from the Pleistocene extensional reactivation of a pre-existing Pliocene thrust. The Cataclastic Unit 1 forms a ∼40 m thick band lining the master fault and recording in-situ shattering due to the propagation of multiple seismic ruptures. Seismic faulting is suggested also by the occurrence of mirror-like slip surfaces, highly localized sheared calcite-bearing veins and fluidized cataclasites. The VCFZ architecture compares well with seismological studies of the L'Aquila 2009 seismic sequence (mainshock MW 6.1), which imaged the reactivation of shallow-seated low-angle normal faults (Breccia Unit) cut by major high-angle normal faults (Cataclastic Units).

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