Paleoseismology Through Sedimentology

The Megablock Complex: An example from the East African Rift

Recognizing and interpreting seismite horizons (soft-sediment deformation generated by earthquakes) preserved in the sedimentary record is an underappreciated approach for paleoseismic analysis. The addition of sedimentological studies to a toolkit that includes other well-established methods, such as instrumental seismic monitoring and fault trenching, can provide a less expensive and more practical option for earthquake hazard prediction and preparation in certain areas. For example, this may be a good option in less developed regions and in areas where fault trenching may not be possible. Moreover, there is a lot that we can learn rheologically from the study of seismites that could be invaluable for modeling the behavior of the surface/near-surface during seismic activity. Similarly, investigating Quaternary strata in areas that may be prone to seismicity, which may or may not have a recorded history of major earthquakes, can illuminate important information about earthquake recurrence patterns and intervals, in much the same way as fault trenching. Continue reading “Paleoseismology Through Sedimentology”