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Authors: Fubelli, G.* 
Gori, S.* 
Falcucci, E.* 
Galadini, F.* 
Messina, P.* 
Title: Geomorphic signatures of recent normal fault activity versus geological evidence of inactivity: Case studies from the central Apennines (Italy)
Issue Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2008.10.026
Keywords: Bedrock fault scarps
Non-tectonic processes
Seismic hazard
Extensional domain migration
Central Italy
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.01. Earthquake geology and paleoseismology 
Abstract: We have here analysed two normal faults of the central Apennines, one that affects the south-western slopes of theMontagna dei Fiori–Montagna di Campli relief, and the other that is located along the south-western border of the Leonessa intermontane depression. Through this analysis, we aim to better understand the reliability of geomorphic features, such as the fresh exposure of fault planes along bedrock scarps as certain evidence of active faulting in the Apennines, and to define the Quaternary kinematic history of these tectonic structures. The experience gathered from these two case studies suggests that the so-called ‘geomorphic signature’ of recent fault activity must be supported by wider geomorphologic and geologic investigations, such as the identification of displaced deposits and landforms not older than the Late Pleistocene, and/or an accurate definition of the slope instabilities. Our observations indicate that the fault planes studied are exposed exclusively because of the occurrence of non-tectonic processes, i.e. differential erosion and gravitational phenomena that have affected the portions of the slopes that are located in the hanging wall sectors. The geological evidence we have collected indicates that the Montagna dei Fiori–Montagna di Campli fault was probably not active during the whole of the Quaternary, while the tectonic activity of the Leonessa fault ceased (or strongly reduced) at least during the Late Pleistocene, and probably since the Middle Pleistocene. The present lack of activity of these tectonic structures suggests that the fault activation for high magnitude earthquakes that produce surface faulting is improbable (i.e. M>5.5–6.0, with reference to the Apennines, according to Michetti et al. [Michetti, A.M., Brunamonte, F., Serva, L.,Vittori, E. (1996), Trench investigations of the 1915 Fucino earthquake fault scarps (Abruzzo, Central Italy): geological evidence of large historical events, J. Geoph. Res.,101, 5921–5936; Michetti, A.M., Ferreli, L., Esposito, E., Porfido, S., Blumetti, A.M., Vittori, E., Serva, L., Roberts, G.P. (2000)]). If, according to the current view, the shifting of the intra-Apennine extension towards the Adriatic sectors is still active, the Montagna dei Fiori–Montagna di Campli fault might be involved in active extensional deformation in the future.
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