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Hanging-wall colluvial cementation along active normal faults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2017

Jack Mason*
Institute for Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University, Lochnerstr. 4-20, 52064 Aachen, Germany
Sascha Schneiderwind
Institute for Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University, Lochnerstr. 4-20, 52064 Aachen, Germany
Aggelos Pallikarakis
Laboratory of Mineralogy & Geology, Department of Natural Resources Development and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos Str., 11855 Athens, Greece
Silke Mechernich
Institute for Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zuelpicherstr. 49b, 50937 Köln, Germany
Ioannis Papanikolaou
Laboratory of Mineralogy & Geology, Department of Natural Resources Development and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos Str., 11855 Athens, Greece
Klaus Reicherter
Institute for Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University, Lochnerstr. 4-20, 52064 Aachen, Germany
*Corresponding author at: Institute for Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University, Lochnerstr. 4-20, 52064 Aachen, Germany. E-mail address: (J. Mason).


Many active normal faults throughout the Aegean juxtapose footwall limestone against hanging-wall colluvium. In places, this colluvium becomes cemented and forms large hanging-wall lobes or sheets of varying thickness attached to the bedrock fault. Investigations at the Lastros Fault in eastern Crete allow us to define criteria to distinguish between cemented colluvium and fault cataclasite (tectonic breccia), which is often present at bedrock faults. Macro- and microscopic descriptions of the cemented colluvium show that the colluvium was originally deposited through both rockfalls and debris flows. Stable isotope analyses of oxygen and carbon from 83 samples indicate that cementation then occurred through meteoric fluid flow in the fault zone from springs at localised positions along strike. Palaeotemperature calculations of the parent water from which the calcite cement precipitated are indicative of a climate between 7°C and 10°C colder than Crete’s present average annual temperature. This most likely represents the transition between a glacial and interglacial period in the late Pleistocene. Ground-penetrating radar also indicates that cemented colluvium is present in the hanging-wall subsurface below uncemented colluvium. Using these results, a model for the temporal development of the fault and formation of the cemented colluvium is proposed.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017 

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