Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 415–424 | Cite as

Impact of sea-level rise on earthquake and landslide triggering offshore the Alentejo margin (SW Iberia)

  • M. C. Neves
  • C. Roque
  • K. M. Luttrell
  • J. T. Vázquez
  • B. Alonso


Earthquakes and submarine landslides are recurrent and widespread manifestations of fault activity offshore SW Iberia. The present work tests the effects of sea-level rise on offshore fault systems using Coulomb stress change calculations across the Alentejo margin. Large-scale faults capable of generating large earthquakes and tsunamis in the region, especially NE–SW trending thrusts and WNW–ESE trending dextral strike-slip faults imaged at basement depths, are either blocked or unaffected by flexural effects related to sea-level changes. Large-magnitude earthquakes occurring along these structures may, therefore, be less frequent during periods of sea-level rise. In contrast, sea-level rise promotes shallow fault ruptures within the sedimentary sequence along the continental slope and upper rise within distances of <100 km from the coast. The results suggest that the occurrence of continental slope failures may either increase (if triggered by shallow fault ruptures) or decrease (if triggered by deep fault ruptures) as a result of sea-level rise. Moreover, observations of slope failures affecting the area of the Sines contourite drift highlight the role of sediment properties as preconditioning factors in this region.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Neves
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Roque
    • 2
    • 3
  • K. M. Luttrell
    • 4
  • J. T. Vázquez
    • 5
  • B. Alonso
    • 6
  1. 1.Universidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Dom LuizUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.EMEPC - Estrutura de Missão para a Extensão da Plataforma ContinentalPaço de ArcosPortugal
  4. 4.Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  5. 5.Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de MálagaFuengirolaSpain
  6. 6.Instituto de Ciencias del MarCSIC, GMCBarcelonaSpain

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