Advertisement

Journal of Seismology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 205–220 | Cite as

Seismicity along the Azores-Gibraltar region and global plate kinematics

  • M. Bezzeghoud
  • C. Adam
  • E. Buforn
  • J. F. Borges
  • B. Caldeira
Original Article

Abstract

Seismicity along the western part of the Eurasia–Nubia plate boundary displays very complex patterns. The average motion is transtensional in the Azores, dextral along the Gloria transform zone and convergent between the SW Portuguese Atlantic margin and the Ibero-Maghrebian zone. To constrain the factors controlling the seismicity, we provide a new seismotectonic synthesis using several earthquakes. We show that the study area can be divided into six different regions, with each characterised by a coherent seismicity pattern. The total seismic moment tensor and the average slip velocities are provided for each region. To determine the spatial distribution of the seismicity, we computed the slip vector for each earthquake based on its focal mechanism and compared it to the relative velocity between the Eurasian and Nubian plates, deduced from global kinematic models. Despite local departures in the Alboran Sea and near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, we found a good correlation between these two independent vector sets. Quantitatively, the slip velocities display a linear, non-affine correlation with the norms of the relative kinematic velocities. The norms of the slip velocities also seem to depend on the tectonic regime and on the morphology of the plate boundary.

Keywords

Seismicity Global plate kinematics Focal mechanism Seismic slip velocity Kinematic velocity Slip vector Total seismic moment tensor Azores-Gibraltar region 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work has been developed with the support of 1) the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT/MCTES, Portugal) through the projects PTDC/GEO-FIQ/3522/2012, PTDC/CTE-GIX/101852/2008, PEst-OE/CTE/UI0078/2011; 2) the “Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)” through the project “Coopération scientifique interuniversitaire (PCSI)”; 3) the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) through the project CGL2010-19803- C03-01. CA is “Ciência FCT researcher” funded by the European Social Fund and MCTES Portugal Funds. This article benefited a lot from suggestions provided by two anonymous reviewers.

References

  1. Aki K, Richards PG (2002) Quantitative seismology, theory and methods. 2nd edn. University Science Books, Sausalito, CA, 700 pGoogle Scholar
  2. Akoglu AM, Cakir Z, Meghraoui M, Belabbes S, El Alami SO, Ergintav S, Akyüz S (2006) The 1994–2004 Al Hoceima (Morocco) earthquake sequence: conjugate fault ruptures deduced from InSAR. Earth Planet Sci Lett 252:467–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altamimi Z, Sillard P, Boucher C (2002) ITRF2000: a new release of the international terrestrial reference frame for earth science applications. J Geophys Res 107(B10):2214. doi: 10.1029/2001JB000561 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angelier J (1979) Determination of the mean principal directions of stresses for a given fault population. Tectonophysics 56:T17–T26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Argus D, Gordon R, DeMets C, Stein S (1989) Closure of the Africa–Eurasia–North America plate motion circuit and tectonics of the Gloria fault. J Geophys Res 94:5585–5602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ayadi et al (2003) Strong Algerian earthquake strikes near capital city. Eos Trans AGU 84(50):561–568Google Scholar
  7. Ayadi A, Dorbath C, Ousadou F, Maouche S, Chikh M, Bounif MA, Meghraoui M (2008) Zemmouri earthquake rupture zone (Mw 6.8, Algeria): aftershocks sequence relocation and 3-D velocity model. J Geophys Res 113, B09301Google Scholar
  8. Belabbès S, Wicks C, Çakir Z, Meghraoui M (2009) Rupture parameters of the 2003 Zemmouri (M w 6.8), Algeria, earthquake from joint inversion of interferometric synthetic aperture radar, coastal uplift, and GPS. J Geophys Res 114:B03406. doi: 10.1029/2008JB005912 Google Scholar
  9. Benouar D (1994) Materials for the investigation of the seismicity of Algeria and adjacent regions during the twentieth century, special issue of the Annali Di Geofisica, Vol. XXXXVII, No 4Google Scholar
  10. Bezzeghoud M, Buforn E (1999) Source parameters of 1992 Melilla (Spain, Mw=4.8), 1994 Alhoceima (Morocco, Mw=5.8) and 1994 Mascara (Algeria, Mw=5.7) earthquakes and seismotectonic implications. Bul Seis Soc Am 89(2):359–372Google Scholar
  11. Bezzeghoud M, Dimitrov D, Ruegg JC, Lammali K (1995) Faulting mechanism of the El Asnam (Algeria) 1954 and 1980 earthquakes from modelling of vertical movements. Tectonophysics 249:249–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bezzeghoud M, Ayadi A, Sébaï A, Aït Messaoud M, Mokrane A, Benhallou H (1996) Seismicity of Algeria between 1365 and 1989: map of maximum observed intensities (MOI). Avances en Geofísica y Geodesia Pub de IGN (Madrid) I:107–114Google Scholar
  13. Bezzeghoud M, Borges JF, Caldeira B, Buforn E, Udias A (2008) Seismic activity in the Azores Region in the context of the western part of the Eurasia–Nubia plate boundary. International Seminar on Seismic risk and rehabilitation on the 10th Anniversary of the July 9 1998 Azores Earthquake, Horta-Azores, 9–13 July. p. 27–31Google Scholar
  14. Bird P (2003) An updated digital model of plate boundaries. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 4(3):1027. doi: 10.1029/2001GC000252 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bird P, Kagan YY, Jackson DD, Schoenberg FP, Werner MJ (2009) Linear and nonlinear relations between relative plate velocity and seismicity. Bulletin of the Seis 99(6):3097–3113. doi: 10.1785/0120090082 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Borges J (2003) Fonte sísmica em Portugal. Algunas implicaçoes na Geodinâmica Açores-Gibraltar. Ph.D., University of Evora, Portugal, 307 ppGoogle Scholar
  17. Borges JF, Fitas AJS, Bezzeghoud M, Teves-Costa P (2001) Seismotectonics of Portugal and its adjacent Atlantic area. Tectonophysics 337:373–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Borges JF, Bezzeghoud M, Buforn E, Pro C, Fitas AJS (2007) The 1980, 1997 and 1998 Azores earthquakes and its seismotectonic implications. Tectonophysics 435:37–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Borges JF, Caldeira B, Bezzeghoud M. e E. Buforn (2008) Seismicity and seismotectonics of Azores: geodynamic implications, Ch. 6, 99-110, in a Oliveira C. S., Costa A. and J. C. Nunes (Eds.), A book on the 1998 Azores earthquake—10 years after it’s occurrence, ISBN 978.989-20-1223-0, 741pGoogle Scholar
  20. Bounif A, Bezzeghoud M, Dorbath L, Legrand D, Deschamps A, Rivera L, Benhallou H (2003) Seismic source study of the 1989, October 29, Chenoua (Algeria) earthquake from aftershocks, broad- band and strong ground motion records. Ann Geophys 46(4):625–646Google Scholar
  21. Buforn E (2008) Seismotectonics of Azores-Tunisia. In: L. Mendes-Victor, C. Sousa Oliveira, J. Azevedo, A. Ribeiro (Eds). The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake Revisited 397-410Google Scholar
  22. Buforn E, Udías A, Colombás MA (1988) Seismicity, source mechanisms and seismotectonics of the Azores-Gibraltar plate boundary. Tectonophysics 152:89–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Buforn E, Sanz DE, Galdeano C, Udias A (1995) Seismotectonics of the Ibero-Maghrebian Region. Tectonophysics 248:247–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Buforn E, Coca P, Udías A, Lasa C (1997) Source mechanism of intermediate and deep earthquakes in southern Spain. J Seism 1:113–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Buforn E, Bezzeghoud M, Udías A, Pro C (2004) Seismic sources on the Iberia-African plate boundary and their tectonic implications. Pure Appl Geophys 161:623–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Buforn E, Benito B, Sanz De Galdeano C, del Fresno C, Muñoz D, Rodriguez I (2005) Study of the damaging earthquakes of 1911, 1999, and 2002 in the Murcia, Southeastern Spain, Region: seismotectonic and seismic-risk implications. Bull Seism Soc Am 95:549–567. doi: 10.1785/0120040041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Buforn E, Pro C, Cesca S, Udías A, del Fresno C (2011) The 2010 Granada (Spain) deep earthquake. Bull Seism Soc Am 101:2418–2430. doi: 10.1785/0120110022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Calais E, DeMets C, Nocquet J-M (2003) Evidence for a post-3.16-Ma change in Nubia–Eurasia–North America plate motions? Earth Panet Sci Lett 216:81–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Carlson RL et al (1983) The driving mechanism of plate tectonics: relation to age of the lithosphere at trenches. Geophys Res Lett 10:297–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. DeMets C (1993) Earthquake slip vectors and estimates of present-day plate motions. J Geophys Res 98(B4):6703–6714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. DeMets C, Gordon R, Argus A, Stein A (1990) Current plate motions. Geophys J Int 101:425–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. DeMets C, Gordon RG, Argus DF, Stein S (1994) Effect of recent revisions to the geomagnetic reversal time scale on estimates of current plate motions. Geophys Res Lett 21:2191–2194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. DeMets C, Gordon RG, Argus DF (2010) Geologically current plate motions. Geophys J Int 181(1):1–80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04491.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Fernandes RMS, Ambrosius BAC, Noomen R, Bastos L, Wortel MJR, Spakman W, Govers R (2003) The relative motion between Africa and Eurasia as derived from ITRF2000 and GPS data. Geophys Res Lett 30(16):1828. doi: 10.1029/2003GL017089 Google Scholar
  35. Fukao Y (1973) Thrust faulting at a lithospheric plate boundary the Portugal earthquake of 1969, Earth Planet. Sci Lett 18:205–216. doi: 10.1016/0012-821X(73)90058-7 Google Scholar
  36. Fullea J, Fernandez M, Zeyen H, Vergés J (2007) A rapid method to map the crustal and lithospheric thickness using elevation, geoid anomaly and thermal analysis. Appl Gibraltar Arc Syst Atlas Mountains Adjacent Zones Tectonophysics 430:97–117Google Scholar
  37. Grandin R, Borges JF, Bezzeghoud M, Caldeira B, Carrilho F (2007a) Simulations of strong ground motion in SW Iberia for the 1969 February 28 (MS = 8.0) and the 1755 November 1 (M ∼ 8.5) earthquakes– I. Velocity modelGoogle Scholar
  38. Grandin R, Borges JF, Bezzeghoud M, Caldeira B, Carrilho F (2007b) Simulations of strong ground motion in SW Iberia for the 1969 February 28 (M S = 8.0) and the 1755 November 1 (M ~ 8.5) earthquakes—II. Strong ground motion simulations. Geophys J Int 171(2):807–822CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Grimison N, Cheng W (1986) The Azores-Gibraltar plate boundary: focal mechanisms, depths of earthquakes and their tectonic implications. J Geophys Res 91:2029–2047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hirn A, Haessler J, Hoang Trong P, Wittlinger G, Mendes Victor L (1980) Aftershock sequence of the January 1st, 1980 earthquake and present-day tectonics in the Azores. Geophys Res Lett 7:501–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jacoby WR (1980) Plate sliding and sinking in mantle convection and the driving mechanism, In: Davis, P.A., Runcorn, F.R.S. (eds) Mechanisms of Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics, Academic Press, New York, p 159–172Google Scholar
  42. Jimenez-Munt I, Fernandez M, Torneand M, Bird P (2001) The transition from linear to diffuse plate boundary in the Azores-Gibraltar region: results from a thin-shit model. Earth Panet Sci Lett 192:175–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Johnston A (1996) Seismic moment assessment of earthquakes in stable continental regions—III. New Madrid 1811–1812, Charleston 1886 and Lisbon 1755. Geophys J Int 126:314–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kanamori H (2001) Energy budget of earthquakes and seismic efficiency. In: Teisseyre R, Majewski E (eds) Earthquake thermodynamics and phase transformations in the earth’s interior. Academic Press, New York, pp 293–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lammali K, Bezzeghoud M, Oussadou F, Dimitrov D, Benhallou H (1997) Postseismic deformation at El Asnam (Algeria) in the seismotectonics context of North Western Algeria. Geophys J Int 129:597–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. López-Arroyo A, Udías A (1972) Aftershock sequence and focal parameters of the February 28th, 1969 earthquake of the Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone. Bull Seism Soc Am 62(3):699–720Google Scholar
  47. Lopez-Comino J, Mancilla F, Morales J and Stich D (2012) Rupture directivity of the 2011, Mw = 5.2 Lorca earthquake (Spain). Geophys Res Lett 39 doi: 10.1029/2011GL050498
  48. Lourenço N, Miranda JM, Luis JF, Ribeiro A, Mendes Victor LA, Madeira J, Needham HD (1998) Morpho-tectonic analysis of the Azores Volcanic Plateau from a new bathymetric compilation of the area. Mar Geophys Res 20:141–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Machado F (1966) Contribução para o estudo do terremoto do terramoto de 1 de Novembro de 1755. Rev Fac Ciências Lisbon C 14:19–31Google Scholar
  50. Madeira J, Ribeiro A (1980) Geodynamics models for the Azores triple junction: a contribution from tectonics. In: G. Boillot and J.M. Fontboté (eds), Alpine evolution of Iberia and its continental margins. Tectonophysics 184, 405-415Google Scholar
  51. Martínez-Solares JM, Lopez-Arroyo A (2004) The great historical 1755 earthquake. Effects and damage in Spain. J Seismol 8(2):275–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCaffrey R (1988) Active tectonics of the eastern Sunda and Banda arcs. J Geophysical Res 93:15163–15182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McCaffrey R (1991) Slip vectors and stretching of the Sumatran fore arc. Geology 19:881–884CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McKenzie DP (1969) The relationship between fault plane solutions for earthquakes and the directions of the principal stresses. Bull Seismol Soc Am 59:591–601Google Scholar
  55. McKenzie D (1972) Active tectonics of the Mediterranean region. Geophys J R Astron Soc 30:109–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Meghraoui M, Pondrelli S (2012) Active faulting and transpression tectonics along the plate boundary in North Africa. Ann Geophys 55:5. doi: 10.4401/ag-4970 Google Scholar
  57. Meghraoui M, Cisternas A, Philip H (1986) Seismotectonics of the lower Chelif basin: structural background of the El-Asnam (Algeria) earthquake. Tectonics 5:809–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Minster JB, Jordan TH (1978) Present-day plate motion. J Geophys Res 83:5331–5354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Moreira VS (1985) Seismotectonics of Portugal and its adjacent area in the Atlantic. Tectonophysics 117:85–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nunes JC, Forjaz VH, Oliveira CS (2004) Catálogo Sísmico da Região dos Açores. Versão 1.0 (1850-1998). Universidade dos Açores (Ed.). Ponta Delgada. Edição CD-ROM. ISBN: 972-8612-17-6Google Scholar
  61. Pérouse E, Vernant P, Chéry J, Reilinger R, McClusky S (2010) Active surface deformation and sub-lithospheric processes in the western Mediterranean constrainted by numerical models. Geology, 38 (9), doi: 10.1130/G30963.1
  62. Pro C, Buforn E, Bezzeghoud M, Udias A (2012) The earthquakes of 29 July 2003, 12 February 2007, and 17 December 2009 in the region of Cape Saint Vincent (SW Iberia) and their relation with the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Tectonophysics 583:16–27. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.10.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rivera L, Cisternas A (1990) Stress tensor and fault-plane solutions for a population of earthquakes. Bull Seismol Soc Am 80:600–614Google Scholar
  64. Searle R (1980) Tectonic pattern of the Azores spreading centre and triple junction. Earth Plan Sci Lett 51:415–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sella GF, Dixon TH, Mao A (2002) REVEL: a model for recent plate velocities from space geodesy. J Geophys Res 107(B4):2081. doi: 10.1029/2000JB000033 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Serpelloni E, Vannucci G, Pondrelli S, Argnani A, Casula G, Anzidei M, Baldi P, Gasperini P (2007) Kinematics of the Western Africa–Eurasia plate boundary from focal mechanisms and GPS data. Geophys J Int 169:1180–1200. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03367 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Smith WHF, Sandwell DT (1997) Global seafloor topography from satellite altimetry and ship depth soundings. Science 277:1957–1962Google Scholar
  68. Stich D, Mancilla F, Pondrelli S, Morales J (2007) Source analysis of the February 12th 2007, Mw 6.0 horseshoe earthquake: implications for the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Geophys Res Lett 34. doi: 10.1029/2007GL0300127
  69. Torné M, Fernàndez M, Comas MC, Soto JI (2000) Lithospheric structure beneath the Alboran Basin: results from 3D gravity modeling and tectonic relevance. J Geophys Res 105:3209–3228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Udías A (1980) Seismic stresses in the region Azores–Spain–Western Mediterranean. Rock Mech 9:75–84Google Scholar
  71. Udías A, Buforn E (1991) Regional stresses on the Eurasia Africa plate boundary derived from focal mechanisms of large earthquakes. Pageoph N 136:433–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Udías A, Lopez Arroyo A, Mezcua J (1976) Seismotectonic of the Azores-Alboran region. Tectonophysics 31:259–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Vernant P, Fadil A, Mourabit T, Ouazar D, Koulali A, Davila JM, Garate J, McClusky S, Reilinger R (2010) Geodetic constraints on active tectonics of the Western Mediterranean: implications for the kinematics and dynamics of the Nubia–Eurasia plate boundary zone. J Geophys 49:123–129Google Scholar
  74. Vogt P, Jung W (2004) The Terceira Rift as hyper-slow, hotspot-dominated oblique spreading axis: a comparison with other slow-spreading plate boundaries. Earth Panet Sci Lett 218:77–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ward SN (1998) On the consistency of earthquake moment rates, geological fault data, and space geodetic strain: the United States. Geophys J Int 134:172–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wilson M (1993) Plate-moving mechanisms: constraints and controversies. J Geol Soc 150:923–926CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Yelles-Chaouch AK, Djellit H, Beldjoudi H, Bezzeghoud M, Buforn E (2004) The Ain Temouchent earthquake of December 22th, 1999. Pageoph 161(3):607–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ziegler PA (1993) Plate-moving mechanisms: their relative importance. J Geol Soc 150:927–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zittellini N, Gràcia E, Matias L, Terrinha P, Abreu MA, DeAlteriis G, Henriet JP, Dañobeitia JJ, Masson DG, Mulder T, Ramella R, Somoza L, Diez S (2009) The quest for the Africa–Eurasia plate boundary west of the Strait of Gibraltar. Earth Planet Sci Lett 280:13–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Zoback ML (1992) First and second order patterns of stress in the lithosphere: the World Stress Map project. J Geophys Res 97:11,703–11,728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Zoback ML et al (1989) Global patterns of tectonic stress. Nature 341:291–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bezzeghoud
    • 1
  • C. Adam
    • 1
  • E. Buforn
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. F. Borges
    • 1
  • B. Caldeira
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Geofísica de Évora and Physics Department, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia (ECT)University of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Geofísica y Meteorología, Facultad CC FisicasUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain
  3. 3.IGEO (UCM-CSIC), Facultad CC FísicasUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations