Paleoseismic observations of an onshore transform boundary: The Magallanes-Fagnano fault, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina


We present preliminary information on the geomorphologic features and paleoseismic record associated with the ruptures of two Ms 7.8 earthquakes that struck Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost continental margin of South America on December 17, 1949. The fault scarp was surveyed in several places cast of Lago Fagnano and a trench across a secondary fault trace of the Magallanes-Fagnano fault was excavated at the Río San Pablo. The observed deformation in a 9 kyr-old peat bog sequence suggests evidence for two, and possibly three pre-1949 paleoearthquakes is preserved in the stratigraphy. The scarp reaches heights up to 11 m in late Pleistocene-Holocence(?) deposits, but the vertical component of the 1949 events was always less than ∼1 m. This observation also argues for the occurrence of previous events during the Quaternary. Along die part of the fault we investigated east of Lago Fagnano, the horizontal component of the 1949 rupture does not exceed 4 m and is likely lower than 0.4 m, which is consistent with the kinematics of a local releasing bend, or at the end of a strike-slip rupture zone. © 2006 Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina.

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Revista de la Asociacion Geologica Argentina

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