Active Tectonics of the Pyrenees: A review

P. Lacan, M. Ortuño


The Pyrenees have experienced at least seven earthquakes with magnitude M > 5 in the last 400 years. During the last decades, several seismotectonic, neotectonic and paleoseismological studies have focused on identifying the main active structures of the areas experiencing damaging earthquakes. In spite of these studies, the regional stress regime is still discussed and there is no unequivocal seismotectonic model at the scale of the range. In this paper, we first present a revision of the former works on active faults in the Pyrenees, and then we discuss the main results in terms of their neotectonic setting. We have distinguished five neotectonic regions according to their seismicity, faulting style and morphologic evolution: the westernmost Pyrenees, the North Western Pyrenean zone, the Foreland basins, the Lower Thrust Sheets Domain and the Eastern Pyrenees. This review lead us to differentiate the range into two major domains: the High Chain, where active faults are controlled by vertical maximum stresses, and the Low Chain, where horizontal maximum stresses of variable orientation seem to be dominant. We propose that these different stress domains are related to the isostatic rebound in response to either the difference in crustal thickness and/or the distribution of the Plio-Quaternary erosion.

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Journal of Iberian Geology
ISSN 1698-6180
ISSN-e 1886-7995

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