Publication details

Present-day Seismicity of the Southeastern Elbe Fault System (NE Bohemian Massif)

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Year of publication 2006
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studia geophysica et geodaetica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Seismology, vulcanology, and Earth structure
Keywords Sudetes; Bohemian Massif; Elbe Fault System; seismicity; fault activity; focal mechanisms; fluids
Description The Variscan Bohemian Massif is disrupted by the NW-SE striking Elbe Fault System in its northern part. The increased tectonic activity associated with this structure is manifested by increased seismicity in the eastern part of the Sudetes. With the use of a temporary local seismic network, the total number of micro-earthquakes located in this region increased to 153 for the period 1996-2003. The local magnitudes vary between -0.6 and 1.8 and the seismic energy was often released in swarm-like sequences. Five seismic events with well-defined P-onset polarities at five or six stations enabled the estimation of focal mechanisms. The present-day activity of the WNW-ESE to NNW-SSE fault systems is discussed on the basis of source mechanisms, the alignment of the epicentres, as well as morphological and geological evidence. The majority of the recent seismic activity is concentrated in a 40-60 km wide zone of a generally NW-SE trend. This structure represents a regional zone of weakness within the SE termination of the Elbe Fault System, defined by a mesh of interconnected faults, of which many are deep-seated and highly permeable and some are associated with light to moderate historical earthquakes. Both in the areas due south and due north of this zone the present-day seismic activity is very low. The increased tectonic activity can be interpreted as a result of the abundance of suitably oriented faults and their interconnection into major fault systems, the proximity of the Outer Carpathian indentor and the Cainozoic volcanic and associated recent post-volcanic activity. The similar character of swarms and their coincidence with the post-volcanic activity in the southeastern part of the Elbe Fault System and in some focal zones of the western Bohemian seismically active area suggests that overpressurized fluids may represent a potential swarm-triggering mechanism.
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