Breaking up the hanging wall of a rift-border fault: The 2009 Karonga earthquakes, Malawi

Biggs, J. and Nissen, E. and Craig, T. J. and Jackson, J. and Robinson, D. P. (2010) Breaking up the hanging wall of a rift-border fault: The 2009 Karonga earthquakes, Malawi. Geophysical Research Letters, 37. L11305. DOI


Download (5MB) | Preview
Official URL:


The southern East African Rift has an unusually large seismogenic thickness (35–40 km), which is responsible for wide tilted basins and extremely long faults with the potential for M7-8 normal-faulting earthquakes. From 6–19 December 2009, a shallow earthquake sequence (four of Mw > 5.5) hit the Karonga region of northern Lake Malawi. The location is 50 km west of the rift-bounding Livingstone Fault, within the hanging-wall. We used seismology and InSAR to obtain source parameters and combined this with information on rift structure from geomorphology and seismic profiles. The deformation is consistent with rupture of a shallow, west-dipping fault, with no evidence for the involvement of magmatic fluids. Although the Livingstone Fault dominates local geomorphology, the Karonga earthquakes demonstrate that the hanging-wall block is actively breaking up, reflecting temporal and spatial migration of activity or the release of stresses within it.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NCEO: National Centre for Earth Observation
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2010AREP; IA60;
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 37
Page Range: L11305
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2010 08:25
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:57

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

About cookies