About this Research Topic
Despite decades of international progress toward mitigating seismic hazard, characterizing the seismic potential of an area remains a complex process. It is challenging to meld information from the different earthquake science disciplines due to their differences in spatial and temporal resolutions and data types. Unveiling seismogenic faults and characterizing their Late Quaternary activity is often not straightforward.
Particularly challenging are seismically active regions characterized by low slip rate faults which can give rise to weak geomorphic expressions when combined with high erosion or sedimentation rates. At the same time, even in well-expressed active fault environments, non-tectonic signals may lead to errors when assessing the degree of preservation of coseismic signals in the landscape. Similar compounding issues may also manifest in densely populated areas where anthropogenic modifications, or vegetation cover, further challenge assessment of fault activity. In other cases, even if the ongoing active tectonic processes are well known, structural complexities (e.g. fault system maturity, structural barriers, and fault interaction in earthquake rupture process) may contribute to multiple interpretations with different implications for seismic hazard.
Noticeable contributions in understanding faulting processes have been provided by recent advances in remote sensing technology. High-resolution topography (e.g. lidar and Structure from Motion) now helps to reveal fault geometry and fault zone structure at the appropriate scale to document coseismic earthquake and even some creep-related deformation patterns. Nevertheless, ambiguities persist in measuring offsets on low amplitude long-lived geomorphic features. Refinement of standard methodologies for assessing the epistemic uncertainty and between-operator variability of measurements remains a challenge.
Geodetic measurements provide high-resolution observations for coseismic and postseismic displacements. Decadal measurements of loading-rate of fault systems may indicate bulk permanent deformation. Furthermore, the steady secular deformation recorded by geodetic measurements allows for comparison with geological deformation rates. Nevertheless, short-term transients can completely hide the tectonic signal.
Finally, advances in dating Late Quaternary landforms and sediments, along with formalized statistical methods, continue to narrow the constraints for earthquake event ages and provide more precise recurrence and slip rates.
With the aim to gather scientific advances that are useful for addressing seismic hazard assessment problems, this Frontiers Research Topic welcomes contributions that present examples and approaches which strive to improve our understanding of active faulting processes over diverse geological settings and at broad spatial scales of investigation.
We encourage the submission of research papers from a wide range of geoscience disciplines (field geology, structural geology, tectonic geomorphology, paleoseismology, seismology, remote sensing, numerical modeling) and from the scale of a field site to regional scale analyses. We welcome contributions reporting multidisciplinary approaches and/or outstanding methodologies that have been successful in identifying, mapping and/or geometrically characterizing late Quaternary active faults and highlight their deformation patterns in various tectonic settings. Case studies arising from and/or addressing inconsistencies between different methods are welcome. The main goal of this topical volume is to bridge the gap between our observations, fundamental understanding of faulting processes, and effective seismic hazard assessment.
Keywords: Active faulting, earthquake geology, seismic hazard, structural complexities, Quaternary geochronology, high resolution topography, tectonic geodesy, multidisciplinary approaches
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.