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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Oct 2020

09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Seismicity and seismotectonics of the Albstadt Shear Zone in the northern Alpine foreland

Sarah Mader1, Joachim R. R. Ritter1, Klaus Reicherter2, and the AlpArray Working Group Sarah Mader et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Geophysical Institute, Hertzstr. 16, 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards Group, Lochnerstr. 4–20, 52056 Aachen, Germany
  • For further information regarding the team, please visit the link which appears at the end of the paper.

Abstract. The region around the town Albstadt, SW Germany, was struck by four damaging earthquakes with magnitudes greater than five during the last century. Those earthquakes occurred along the Albstadt Shear Zone (ASZ) which is characterized by more or less continuous microseismicity. As there are no surface ruptures visible which may be connected to the fault zone, its characteristics can only be studied by its seismicity. We use the earthquake data of the state earthquake service of Baden-Württemberg from 2011 to 2018 and complement it with additional phase picks beginning 2016 at the AlpArray and StressTransfer seismic networks in the vicinity of the ASZ. This extended dataset is used to determine new minimum 1-D seismic vp and vs velocity models and corresponding station delay times for earthquake relocation. Fault plane solutions are determined for selected events and the direction of the maximum horizontal stress is derived. The minimum 1-D seismic velocity models have a simple and stable layering with increasing velocity with depth in the upper crust. The corresponding station delay times can be well explained by the lateral depth variation of the crystalline basement. The relocated events align north-south with most of the seismic activity between the towns of Tübingen and Albstadt east of the 9° E meridian. The events can be separated into several subclusters which indicate a segmentation of the ASZ. The majority of the 36 determined fault plane solutions features a NNE-SSW strike, but also NNW-SSE striking fault planes are observed. The main fault plane associated with the ASZ is dipping steeply and the rake indicates mainly sinistral strike-slip, but we also find minor components of normal and reverse faulting. The determined direction of the maximum horizontal stress of 147° is in good agreement with prior studies. This result indicates that the stress field in the area of the ASZ is mainly generated by the regional plate driving forces as well as the Alpine topography.

Sarah Mader et al.

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Sarah Mader et al.

Sarah Mader et al.


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Latest update: 24 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Albstadt Shear Zone, SW Germany, is an active rupture zone with sometimes damaging earthquakes but no visible surface structure. To identify its segmentations, geometry, faulting pattern and extension, we analyze the continuous earthquake activity 2011–2018. We find a segmented N-S oriented fault zone with mainly horizontal and minor vertical movement along preferably NNE and some NNW oriented rupture planes. The main horizontal stress is oriented NW and due to Alpine-related loading.
The Albstadt Shear Zone, SW Germany, is an active rupture zone with sometimes damaging...