Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Masoch S., Fondriest M., Gomila R., Jensen E., Mitchell T. M., Cembrano J., Di Toro G. (2022)

Along-strike architectural variability of an exhumed crustal-scale seismogenic fault (Bolfin Fault Zone, Atacama Fault System, Chile)

Revista : Journal of Structural Geology
Volumen : 165
Páginas : 104745
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Fault zone architecture and its internal structural variability play a pivotal role in earthquake mechanics, bycontrolling, for instance, the nucleation, propagation and arrest of individual seismic ruptures and the evolution in space and time of foreshock and aftershock seismic sequences. Nevertheless, the along-strike architectural variability of crustal-scale seismogenic sources over regional distances is still poorly investigated. Here, we describe the architectural variability of the >40-km-long exhumed, seismogenic Bolfin Fault Zone (BFZ) of theintra-arc Atacama Fault System (Northern Chile). The BFZ cuts through plutonic rocks of the Mesozoic Coastal Cordillera and was seismically active at 5–7 km depth and ? 300 ?C in a fluid-rich environment. The BFZ includes multiple altered fault core strands, consisting of chlorite-rich cataclasites-ultracataclasites and pseudotachylytes, surrounded by chlorite-rich protobreccias to protocataclasites over a zone up to 60-m-thick. Thesefault rocks are embedded within a low-strain damage zone, up to 150-m-thick, which includes strongly altered volumes of dilatational hydrothermal breccias and clusters of epidote-rich fault-vein networks at the linkage of the BFZ with subsidiary faults. The strong hydrothermal alteration of rocks along both the fault core and the damage zone attests to an extensive percolation of fluids across all the elements of the structural network during the activity of the entire fault zone. In particular, we interpret the epidote-rich fault-vein networks and associated breccias as an exhumed example of upper-crustal fluid-driven earthquake swarms, similar to the presently activeintra-arc Liquine-Ofqui ˜ Fault System (Southern Andean Volcanic Zone, Chile).