Active Fault Segments As Potential Earthquake Sources- Inferences From Integrated Geophysical Mapping Of The Magadi Fault System, Southern Kenya Rift

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Journal Article: Active Fault Segments As Potential Earthquake Sources- Inferences From Integrated Geophysical Mapping Of The Magadi Fault System, Southern Kenya Rift

Abstract
Southern Kenya Rift has been known as a region of high geodynamic activity expressed by recent volcanism, geothermal activity and high rate of seismicity. The active faults that host these activities have not been investigated to determine their subsurface geometry, faulting intensity and constituents (fluids, sediments) for proper characterization of tectonic rift extension. Two different models of extension direction (E-W to ESE-WNW and NW-SE) have been proposed. However, they were based on limited field data and lacked subsurface investigations. In this research, we delineated active fault zones from ASTER image draped on ASTER DEM, together with relocated earthquakes. Subsequently, we combined field geologic mapping, electrical resistivity, ground magnetic traverses and aeromagnetic data to investigate the subsurface character of the active faults. Our results from structural studies identified four fault sets of different age and deformational styles, namely: normal N-S; dextral NW-SE; strike slip ENE-WSW; and sinistral NE-SW. The previous studies did not recognize the existence of the sinistral oblique slip NE-SW trending faults which were created under an E-W extension to counterbalance the NW-SE faults. The E-W extension has also been confirmed from focal mechanism solutions of the swarm earthquakes, which are located where all the four fault sets intersect. Our findings therefore, bridge the existing gap in opinion on neo-tectonic extension of the rift suggested by the earlier authors. Our results from resistivity survey show that the southern faults are in filled with fluid (0.05 and 0.2 Ωm), whereas fault zones to the north contain high resistivity (55-75 Ωm) material. The ground magnetic survey results have revealed faulting activity within active fault zones that do not contain fluids. In addition, the 2D inversion of the four aero-magnetic profiles (209 km long) revealed: major vertical to sub vertical faults (dipping 75-85° east or west); an uplifted, heavily fractured and deformed basin to the north (highly disturbed magnetic signatures) characteristic of on going active rifting; and a refined architecture of the asymmetry graben to the south with an intrarift horst, whose western graben is 4 km deep and eastern graben is much deeper (9 km), with a zone of significant break in magnetic signatures at that depth, interpreted as source of the hot springs south of Lake Magadi (a location confirmed near surface by ground magnetic and resistivity data sets). The magnetic sources to the north are shallow at 15 km depth compared to 22 km to the south. The loss of magnetism to the north is probably due to increased heat as a result of magmatic intrusion supporting active rifting model. Conclusively, the integrated approach employed in this research confirms that fault system delineated to the north is actively deforming under E-W normal extension and is a potential earthquake source probably related to magmatic intrusion, while the presence of fluids within the south fault zone reduce intensity of faulting activity and explains lack of earthquakes in a continental rift setting.

Authors 
Z. N. Kuria, T. Woldai, F. D. van der Meer and J. O. Barongo








Published Journal 
Journal of African Earth Sciences, Date Not Provided





DOI 
10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2009.11.004


 

Citation

Z. N. Kuria,T. Woldai,F. D. van der Meer,J. O. Barongo. . Active Fault Segments As Potential Earthquake Sources- Inferences From Integrated Geophysical Mapping Of The Magadi Fault System, Southern Kenya Rift. Journal of African Earth Sciences. (!) .