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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof Ken McCaffrey

Mildon, Z.K., Roberts, G.P., Faure Walker, J.P., Wedmore, L.N.J. & McCaffrey, K.J.W. (2016). Active normal faulting during the 1997 seismic sequence in Colfiorito, Umbria: Did slip propagate to the surface? Journal of Structural Geology 91: 102-113.

Author(s) from Durham


In order to determine whether slip during an earthquake on the 26th September 1997 propagated to the surface, structural data have been collected along a bedrock fault scarp in Umbria, Italy. These collected data are used to investigate the relationship between the throw associated with a debated surface rupture (observed as a pale unweathered stripe at the base of the bedrock fault scarp) and the strike, dip and slip-vector. Previous studies have suggested that the surface rupture was produced either by primary surface slip or secondary compaction of hangingwall sediments. Some authors favour the latter because sparse surface fault dip measurements do not match nodal plane dips at depth. It is demonstrated herein that the strike, dip and height of the surface rupture, represented by a pale unweathered stripe at the base of the bedrock scarp, shows a systematic relationship with respect to the geometry and kinematics of faulting in the bedrock. The strike and dip co-vary and the throw is greatest where the strike is oblique to the slip-vector azimuth where the highest dip values are recorded. This implies that the throw values vary to accommodate spatial variation in the strike and dip of the fault across fault plane corrugations, a feature that is predicted by theory describing conservation of strain along faults, but not by compaction. Furthermore, published earthquake locations and reported fault dips are consistent with the analysed surface scarps when natural variation for surface dips and uncertainty for nodal plane dips at depth are taken into account. This implies that the fresh stripe is indeed a primary coseismic surface rupture whose slip is connected to the seismogenic fault at depth. We discuss how this knowledge of the locations and geometry of the active faults can be used as an input for seismic hazard assessment.