Active faults those with recent offset in the last 10,000 years. Inactive faults

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Reactivated Faults and earthquakes

  • Most shallow earthquakes occur on active faults

    • those with recent offset in the last 10,000 years.
  • Inactive faults do not have observed earthquakes or evidence of slip in the last 1.6 million years.

  • However, some faults have large earthquakes only once every thousands of years. Reactivated faults form when movement occurs along formerly inactive faults due to a change in stress.

  • Deformation in the New Madrid seismic zone in the central USA is an example of fault reactivation.

  • Rift structures that formed about 500 million years ago have been responding to recent stresses in the mid-continent




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