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Middle Pleistocene seismically induced clay diapirism in an intraplate zone, western Brittany, France

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2018

Brigitte van Vliet-Lanoë*
Affiliation:
UMR 6538 Géosciences Ocean, UBO- CNRS, IUEM, pl. N. Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France
Christine Authemayou
Affiliation:
UMR 6538 Géosciences Ocean, UBO- CNRS, IUEM, pl. N. Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France
Stéphane Molliex
Affiliation:
UMR 6538 Géosciences Ocean, UBO- CNRS, IUEM, pl. N. Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France
Michael Hugh Field
Affiliation:
Archaeo- and Palaeo-botany Laboratory, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Manfred Frechen
Affiliation:
Leibniz-Institut für Angewandte Geophysik, Stilleweg 2, 30655 Hannover, Germany
Pascal Le Roy
Affiliation:
Archaeo- and Palaeo-botany Laboratory, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Julie Perrot
Affiliation:
Archaeo- and Palaeo-botany Laboratory, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Valérie Andrieu-Ponel
Affiliation:
Aix-Marseille Université, Avignon Université, CNRS, IRD, IMBE, Technopôle Arbois-Méditerranée, Bât. Villemin, BP 80, F-13545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 04, France
Gwendoline Grégoire
Affiliation:
Archaeo- and Palaeo-botany Laboratory, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
Bernard Hallégouët
Affiliation:
Retired Geography depart. UBO, 40 rue Commandant Boennec, 29490 Guipavas, France
*
*Corresponding author at: UMR 6538 Géosciences Ocean, UBO- CNRS, IUEM, pl. N. Copernic, 29280 Brest, France. E-mail address: brigitte.vanvlietlanoe@univ-brest.fr (B. van Vliet-Lanoë).

Abstract

The Brittany region of France is located in a low seismicity intraplate zone. Most of the instrumented earthquakes are limited to a shallow crustal depth without surface rupture. A paleoseismological analysis was performed on deposits on the Crozon Peninsula and in the Elorn estuary. We highlight hydroplastic deformations induced by liquefaction leading to clay diapirism, which were likely triggered by past earthquakes. This diapirism seems to be frequent in continental nonconsolidated sediments and to develop on the inherited tectonic structures, when a shallow water table and confining layers exist. Timing of deformation is dated using paleoenvironmental data, and electron spin resonance and infrared-stimulated luminescence dating methods. Two seismic periods were identified in western Europe during early Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 10 (~380 ka) and early MIS 8 (~280–265 ka). The lack of similar deformations affecting the Holocene tidal deposits in the Bay of Brest suggests that the magnitude of the triggering paleoearthquakes is probably higher (Mw ~6) than the recent events (Mw 5.4). These unusual intraplate major paleoearthquakes need specific factors affecting the far-field crustal stress loading to be triggered, such as a brief acceleration of the Africa-Eurasia lithospheric plate convergence, glacio-isostatic stress perturbations associated with the onset of major glaciations in northern Europe, or other processes induced by orbital forcing.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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