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Southern Iceland is one of the main outlets of the Icelandic ice sheet and is subject to seismicity of both tectonic and volcanic origins along the South Iceland Seismic Zone (SISZ). A sedimentary complex spanning Marine Isotopic Stage 6 (MIS 6) to the present includes evidence of both activities. It includes a continuous sedimentary record since the Eemian interglacial period, controlled by a rapid deglaciation, followed by two marine glacioisostasy-forced transgressions, separated by a regression phase connected to an intra-MIS 5e glacial advance. This record has been constrained by tephrostratigraphy and dating. Analysis of this record has provided better insights into the interconnectedness of hydrology and volcanic and tectonic activity during deglaciations and glaciations. Low-intensity earthquakes recurrently affected the water-laid sedimentation during the early stages of unloading, accompanying rifting events, dyke injection, and fault reactivations. During full interglacial periods, earthquakes were significantly less frequent but of higher magnitude along the SISZ, due to stress accumulation, favored by low groundwater levels and more limited magma production. Occurrence of volcanism and seismicity in Iceland is commonly related to rifting events. Subglacial volcanic events seem moreover to have been related to stress unlocking related to limited or full unloading/deglaciation events. Major eruptions were mostly located at the melting margin of the ice sheet.
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.
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