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The Baza Fault: a major active extensional fault in the central Betic Cordillera (south Spain)

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Abstract

In the Guadix-Baza Basin (Betic Cordillera) lies the Baza Fault, a structure that will be described for the first time in this paper. Eight gravity profiles and a seismic reflection profile, coupled with surface studies, indicate the existence of a NE-dipping normal fault with a variable strike with N-S and NW-SE segments. This 37-km long fault divides the basin into two sectors: Guadix to the West and Baza to the East. Since the Late Miocene, the activity of this fault has created a half-graben in its hanging wall. The seismic reflection profile shows that the fill of this 2,000–3,000 m thick asymmetric basin is syntectonic. The fault has associated seismicity, the most important of which is the 1531 Baza earthquake. Since the Late Tortonian to the present, i.e. over approximately the last 8 million years, extension rates obtained vary between 0.12 and 0.33 mm/year for the Baza Fault, being one of the major active normal faults to accommodate the current ENE–WSW extension produced in the central Betic Cordillera. The existence of this fault and other normal faults in the central Betic Cordillera enhanced the extension in the upper crust from the Late Miocene to the present in this regional compressive setting.

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Acknowledgements

This study was partly financed by Projects BTE2001-5230-E, CGL200401636/BTE, CGL2006-06001, CSD2006-00041 and by the Generalitat Valenciana (GRUPOS03/085, OCYT). We thank Dr. P. Santanach and an anonymous reviewer for helpful and interesting suggestions.

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Correspondence to P. Alfaro.

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Alfaro, P., Delgado, J., de Galdeano, C.S. et al. The Baza Fault: a major active extensional fault in the central Betic Cordillera (south Spain). Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 97, 1353–1365 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-007-0213-z

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