International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 105, Issue 8, pp 2221–2239 | Cite as

Geophysical characterization of buried active faults: the Concud Fault (Iberian Chain, NE Spain)

  • Óscar Pueyo Anchuela
  • Paloma Lafuente
  • Luis Arlegui
  • Carlos L. Liesa
  • José L. Simón
Original Paper


The Concud Fault is a ~14-km-long active fault that extends close to Teruel, a city with about 35,000 inhabitants in the Iberian Range (NE Spain). It shows evidence of recurrent activity during Late Pleistocene time, posing a significant seismic hazard in an area of moderate-to-low tectonic rates. A geophysical survey was carried out along the mapped trace of the southern branch of the Concud Fault to evaluate the geophysical signature from the fault and the location of paleoseismic trenches. The survey identified a lineation of inverse magnetic dipoles at residual and vertical magnetic gradient, a local increase in apparent conductivity, and interruptions of the underground sediment structure along GPR profiles. The origin of these anomalies is due to lateral contrast between both fault blocks and the geophysical signature of Quaternary materials located above and directly south of the fault. The spatial distribution of anomalies was successfully used to locate suitable trench sites and to map non-exposed segments of the fault. The geophysical anomalies are related to the sedimentological characteristics and permeability differences of the deposits and to deformation related to fault activity. The results illustrate the usefulness of geophysics to detect and map non-exposed faults in areas of moderate-to-low tectonic activity where faults are often covered by recent pediments that obscure geological evidence of the most recent earthquakes. The results also highlight the importance of applying multiple geophysical techniques in defining the location of buried faults.


Active fault Seismic hazard Geophysical survey Magnetometry EM induction GPR Trench 



This research has been financed by projects CGL2012-35662 and CGL2009-13390 of Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación-FEDER, as well as by the Aragón regional government (Geotransfer research group) and a PHD grant (FPI-DGA) for Paloma Lafuente. Authors want to acknowledge comments, suggestions and ideas by Rich D. Koehler, Paula M. Figuereido and an anonymous reviewer during manuscript revision.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Óscar Pueyo Anchuela
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paloma Lafuente
    • 1
  • Luis Arlegui
    • 1
  • Carlos L. Liesa
    • 1
  • José L. Simón
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.Centro Uned-CalatayudCalatayud, ZaragozaSpain

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