New paper by Alsop et al. on recognising surface vs. sub-surface deformation of soft sediments

Soft-sediment deformation structures are often used as evidence for paleo-earthquakes. When several deformed horizons are present, one has to ask whether repeated slope failure at the sediment surface has built-up the stratigraphic record. Another option would be that a single failure event could have concurrently created surficial and sub-surface deformed horizons at different stratigraphic levels. The implications of these differing models are important for the timing of palaeo-earthquakes. In a new paper, Alsop et al. used the late Pleistocene Lisan Formation from the Dead Sea Basin to catalogue and establish key criteria that help distinguish surface versus sub-surface intrastratal deformation of soft-sediments. The paper is available for free for 50 days!

Spoiler: You will find the most wonderful photos and sketches of soft sediment deformation features in this paper!

(a) Sequential failure model; (b) synchronous failure model; (c) secondary failure model.

Sketches of (a) sequential failure model; (b) synchronous failure model; (c) secondary failure model with older events at the base and younger events towards the top.
Cartoon summarising structures used to distinguish deformation created at the surface from those created at the sub-surface.


Alsop, G. I., Marco, S., & Levi, T. (2022). Recognising surface versus sub-surface deformation of soft-sediments: Consequences and considerations for palaeoseismic studies. Journal of Structural Geology, 104493.

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner

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