Preliminary late quaternary slip history of the Carboneras fault, southeastern Spain

John W. Bell, Falk Amelung, Geoffrey C.P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The Carboneras fault is one of three principal Cenozoic strike-slip faults in the Betic Cordillera of southeastern Spain. In this study, we characterize the paleoseismic history of the Carboneras fault by examining the evidence for lateral offset of 85-180 ka Tyrrhenian marine terraces, by dating the left-lateral stream-channel offsets in La Serrata, and by postulating a late Holocene coastal uplift event. We define three Quaternary alluvial-geomorphic units that assist in constraining rates of fault slip. Qfo deposits are pre-Tyrrhenian in age (>100 ka); Qf deposits are post-Tyrrhenian in age (<100 ka); and Qfy deposits are Roman or post-Roman (<1-2 ka) in age. Examination of the southern and northern segments of the Carboneras fault indicates that although Tyrrhenian marine terraces are vertically offset 5-10 m, no evidence for large lateral offset of the marine terraces is visible. In La Serrata, 80-100 m lateral stream-channel offsets are older than about 100 ka, and Würmian-age alluvial fans were deposited within these offset channels. Along Rio Carboneras, mapping and topographical profiling of Qfy deposits indicate that stream deposits were previously graded to a sea level 3-5 m higher than that at present. The correlation of the Qfy terrace with upraised bedrock beach platforms along the coast suggests that a regional tectonic uplift event occurred during the last 1-2 ka. Based on a 14C age on charcoal from Qfy deposits, this event might have occurred since about AD 1475. The Quaternary slip history of the Carboneras fault during the last 100 ka appears to be one of vertical uplift rather than strike-slip movement, in agreement with contemporary focal mechanisms. Maximum vertical slip rates during the last 100 ka are of the order of 0.05-0.1 mm/year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geodynamics
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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