Lateral Offset Quality Rating along Low Slip Rate Faults: Application to the Alhama de Murcia Fault (SE Iberian Peninsula)
Seismic hazard assessment of strike-slip faults is based partly on the identification and mapping of landforms laterally offset due to fault activity. The characterization of these features affected by slow-moving faults is challenging relative to studies emphasizing rapidly slipping faults. We propose a methodology for scoring fault offsets based on subjective and objective qualities. We apply this methodology to the Alhama de Murcia fault (SE Iberian Peninsula) where we identify 138 offset features that we mapped on a high-resolution (0.5 × 0.5 m pixel size) Digital Elevation Model (DEM). The amount of offset, the uncertainty of the measurement, the subjective and objective qualities, and the parameters that affect objective quality are independent variables, suggesting that our methodological scoring approach is good. Based on the offset measurements and qualifications we calculate the Cumulative Offset Probability Density (COPD) for the entire fault and for each fault segment. The COPD for the segments differ from each other. Tentative interpretation of the COPDs implies that the slip rate varies from one segment to the other (we assume that channels with the same amount of offset were incised synchronously). We compare the COPD with climate proxy curves (aligning using the very limited age control) to test if entrenchment events are coincident with climatic changes. Channel incision along one of the traces in Lorca-Totana segment may be related to transitions from glacial to interglacial periods.