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Detection and modeling of recent tectonic deformation using of GIS and geomorphometric index along the watersheds of northern Tunisia


In order to understand on a regional scale the large watershed of Oued Medjerda conditions and history evolution, a neotectonic analysis was published using remote sensing techniques and geographic information system (GIS). In this study, the tectonic activity analysis and its implication in the development of the relief and the flow characteristics were carried out following (1) the extraction of geomorphometric index such as integral hypsometry (HI), the sinuosity of the mountain fronts (Smf), and the index of the width of the valley (Vf), and (2) the extraction of drainage anomalies by de-defining the asymmetry factor (Af) and the topographic factor (T). The results obtained from the extracted index were combined and integrated into a GIS to determine a neo-index, which is the Relative Tectonic Activity Index (IRAT). The average of these measured geomorphometric index was used to assess the distribution of relative tectonic activity in the study area. Thus, we have defined four classes to define the degree of IRAT: class 1__very high (1 <IRAT <1.5); class 2__high (1 <IRAT <1.5); class 2__medium (1.5 <IRAT <1.9), class 3_ low (IRAT> 2). In view of the relevant results of this approach, we were able to identify the strongly deformed zones associated with active tectonic anomalies and to conclude that the migration of the hydrographic networks of the sub-basins in two dominant directions is influenced by the reactivation of the underground faults, which coincides in space with the faults mapped in outcrops that are activated since the Miocene. This interpretation is corroborated by the spatial correspondence between these faults with the geometry of the sub-basins, by the change in sinuosity of the river when crossing these limits and by a high concentration of tectonic lineaments along these limits. Consequently, this study allowed (1) to determine the morphotectonic evolution of the region and the parallelism between the increase in this index and the degree of accentuated deformation of the rugged terrain, (2) provide geometric details for some already known tectonic structures, and (3) present a new diagram on the spatial evolution of morphostructural structures in close relation to recent tectonic activity in the region.

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Correspondence to Radhia Mansour.

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Responsible Editor: Biswajeet Pradhan

This paper was selected from the 2nd Conference of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences (CAJG), Tunisia 2019

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Mansour, R., Zouaoui, N. & ElGhali, A. Detection and modeling of recent tectonic deformation using of GIS and geomorphometric index along the watersheds of northern Tunisia. Arab J Geosci 14, 1659 (2021).

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  • Spatial modeling
  • IRAT
  • Anomalies
  • Geomorphometric index
  • GIS