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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article 22 Mar 2018

Research article | 22 Mar 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Active Faults sources of the Morelia-Acambay Fault System, Mexico based on Paleoseismology and the estimation of magnitude Mw from fault dimensions

Avith Mendoza-Ponce1, Angel Figueroa-Soto2, Diana Soria-Caballero1, and Víctor Hugo Garduño-Monroy3 Avith Mendoza-Ponce et al.
  • 1Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, UNAM, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro No. 8701, Morelia, Michoacán, México
  • 2CONACyT – Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo
  • 3Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México

Abstract. The Morelia-Acambay fault System (MAFS), located in the central part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) is delimited by an active transtensive deformation zone associated with the oblique subduction zone between the Cocos and North American plates, with a convergence velocity of 55mm/yr at the latitude of the state of Michoacán, México. Part of the oblique convergence is transferred to the central TMVB, just in the MAFS zone, where the slip rates range from 0.009 to 2.78mm/year. The occurrence of great earthquakes like the Acambay earthquake (Ms=6.7) on November 19, 1912 with a surface rupture, and in Maravatío, 1979 with Mb=5.3 are located into the MAFS. The zone is seismically active but with large periods of recurrence, as revealed by the seismic sequence (2.5<Mw<3.0) occurred near the city of Morelia in October 2007, with focal mechanisms corresponding to normal faulting with left-lateral components. Moreover, there are some paleoseismic analyses showing quaternary movements of some faults with magnitudes between 6.0–7.1Mw. The purpose of this work is to probe an intrinsic definition of Active Faults for the MAFS as well as the estimation of possible maximum earthquake magnitudes, in order to understand the dynamic of seismic activity along the MAFS. For the new fault dimensions and using three empirical relationships, we found a maximum magnitude of Mw=7. Additionally, a slip-rates series were compiled and analyzed, the results show a temporal strong persistence behavior and a high value of fractal dimension (Db=1.86) related with a less concentration of small slip-rates. In other words, there is not an excess of the deformation in the MAFS in a single or restricted range of scales, and furthermore, this represents a migration of the ruptures to larger scales (3length38km).

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Short summary
This work presents a seismic scenario for the occurrence of earthquakes in the central zone of Mexico as a consequence of the fault system known as Morelia Acambay, where earthquakes of magnitudes of up to 6.7 have occurred in the past. Our results show the maximum magnitudes expected in the zone, from a definition and characterization of active faults and paleoseismology studies, evidencing that the Morelia-Acambay fault system is potentially dangerous for populations in the center of Mexico.
This work presents a seismic scenario for the occurrence of earthquakes in the central zone of...