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Authors: Vannoli, P.* 
Basili, R.* 
Valensise, G.* 
Title: New geomorphic evidence for anticlinal growth driven by blind-thrust faulting along the northern Marche coastal belt (central Italy)
Issue Date: 2004
Series/Report no.: 3/8 (2004)
Keywords: blind thrust fault
coastal terrace
drainage system
fluvial terrace
moderate earthquake
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.03. Groundwater processes 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.03. Geomorphology 
Abstract: The Northern Marche coastal belt is characterised by a series of NW-SE trending, NE verging folds forming the easternmost edge of the Apennines thrust front. Several geomorphic features suggest that the folds are still growing and hence that the thrust front is active. The occurrence of several historical and instrumental earthquakes (e.g. 1672, 1690, 1786, 1875, 1916, 1930, 1972, all havingMe ≥ 5.2) suggests that the thrust faults are also seismogenic. We performed a geomorphological analysis to identify and characterise the faults driving the active folds. Our approach assumes that anomalous drainage patterns and deformed Middle-Late Pleistocene alluvial and coastal terraces are indicators of the vertical component of tectonic strain. We identified, mapped and correlated with sea-level fluctuations a sequence of alluvial and coastal terraces. Longitudinal profiles of six rivers (Conca, Foglia, Metauro, Cesano, Misa, and Esino) show that terraces (1) consistently converge downstream, suggesting that they result from regional uplift that dies out near the coast, and (2) some are slightly warped where they cross anticline axes. We interpreted as coastal terraces several land-surface remnants arranged parallel to the present coastline. Lower remnants clearly top off gently landward-tilted coastal deposits. Reconstructed coastal terraces also seem to be tectonically warped. Our results help characterise the geometry and segmentation of a system that generated the largest earthquakes of the region and suggest the loci of potential seismic gaps. We conclude that the earthquake potential of the densely populated northern Marche coastal belt may be substantially higher than currently estimated.
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