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The tectono-sedimentary evolution of a major seismogenic zone with low slip rate activity: A geochronological and sedimentological investigation of the Dobrá Voda Depression (Western Carpathians)

Šujan, Michal, Braucher, Régis, Šujan, Martin, Hók, Jozef, Povinec, Pavel P., Šipka, František, Rugel, Georg, Scharf, Andreas
Sedimentary geology 2019 v.383 pp. 248-267
Miocene epoch, basins, colluvium, floodplains, geophysics, mud flows, peat, radiocarbon dating, surveys, swamps, tectonics, topography, Carpathian region
Seismically active fault zones receive a great deal of attention due to their potential for quantification of seismic hazards. Zones with low slip rates pose a challenge, however, since their poor topographic expression is related to difficulties in the quantification of fault movement. This study focuses on the Dobrá Voda Depression, an area with the highest level of seismic activity in the Western Carpathians. The Quaternary tectono-sedimentary evolution of the small intramontane basin was investigated with the use of facies analysis of cores, dated with the use of cosmogenic nuclide depth profiles (10Be, 26Al and 36Cl), together with 26Al/10Be burial dating and radiocarbon dating. A set of archived boreholes and geoelectric survey data was used for the correlation of results with those from new boreholes across the depression. Four facies associations were distinguished: (FA1) Colluvial deposits that comprise subaerial debris flows and mudflows; (FA2) Fluvial deposits with high sediment supply: accommodation ratio, composed mostly of sandy-gravelly channel fill facies; (FA3) Fluvial deposits with low sediment supply: accommodation ratio, consisting mostly of floodplain muds, overbank heterolithic facies and minor sandy-gravelly channel fills; and (FA4) Swamp deposits, which are mostly made up of peat. Geochronological results suggest that the studied part of FA3 was deposited before 1.0 Ma due to a rise in the base level following a major incision event. Overbank-dominated deposits of FA3 covered an incision surface, resulted in a difference of ca. 65 m of elevation of these strata, which represents the minimal thickness of FA3. The second phase of incision was related to reactivation of Miocene normal faults resulting in further topographic differentiation. The initiation of fault activity is recorded by the deposition of colluvial FA1 before ca. 250 ka. FA2 accumulated between ca. 160 and 100 ka, mostly at the toes of slopes bounding the fault scarps on the basin margins. The last documented phase of evolution represents an increase of accommodation, which was connected to the deposition of Holocene peat in swamps as well as floodplain muds of FA4 above FA2. The observed settings imply that variation between incision and accumulation in a scale of hundreds of thousands of years is characteristic for low relief tectonically active zones. The presented research demonstrates the significance of sedimentological analysis for reconstruction of tectonic evolution in areas with low slip rate activity.