Unexpected earthquake hazard revealed by Holocene rupture on the Kenchreai Fault (central Greece): Implications for weak sub-fault shear zones

20 Mar 2018

High-resolution elevation models, palaeoseismic trenching, and Quaternary dating demonstrate that the Kenchreai Fault in the eastern Gulf of Corinth (Greece) has ruptured in the Holocene. Along with the adjacent Pisia and Heraion Faults (which ruptured in 1981), our results indicate the presence of closely-spaced and parallel normal faults that are simultaneously active, but at different rates. Such a configuration allows us to address one of the major questions in understanding the earthquake cycle, specifically what controls the distribution of interseismic strain accumulation? Our results imply that the interseismic loading and subsequent earthquakes on these faults are governed by weak shear zones in the underlying ductile crust. In addition, the identification of significant earthquake slip on a fault that does not dominate the late Quaternary geomorphology or vertical coastal motions in the region provides an important lesson in earthquake hazard assessment.