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Authors: Kastelic, Vanja* 
Burrato, Pierfrancesco* 
Carafa, Michele MC* 
Basili, Roberto* 
Title: Repeated surveys reveal nontectonic exposure of supposedly active normal faults in the central Apennines, Italy
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2017
Series/Report no.: 1/122(2017)
DOI: 10.1002/2016JF003953
Keywords: Fault ribbon
Nastrini di faglia
surface processes
Subject Classification04.07. Tectonophysics 
Abstract: We investigate the geomorphic processes that expose bedrock fault surfaces from under their slope-deposit cover in the central Apennines (Italy). These bedrock fault surfaces are generally located at various heights on mountain fronts above the local base level of glacio-fluvial valleys and intermountain fluvio-lacustrine basins and are laterally confined to the extent of related mountain fronts. The process that led to the exposure of fault surfaces has often been exclusively attributed to coseismic earthquake slip and used as proxy for tectonic slip rates and earthquake recurrence estimations. We present the results of monitoring the contact between the exposed fault surfaces and slope deposits at 23 measurement points on 12 different faults over 3.4 year long observation period. We detected either downward or upward movements of the slope deposit with respect to the fault surface between consecutive measurements. During the entire observation period all points, except one, registered a net downward movement in the 2.9–25.6 mm/yr range, resulting in the progressive exposure of the fault surface. During the monitoring period no major earthquakes occurred in the region, demonstrating that the measured exposure process is disconnected from seismic activity. Our results indicate that the fault surface exposure rates are rather due to gravitational and landsliding movements aided by weathering and slope degradation processes. The so far neglected slope degradation and other (sub)surface processes should thus be carefully taken into consideration before attempting to recover fault slip rates using surface gathered data.
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