Paleostress and kinematic evolution of the orogen-parallel NW-SE striking faults in the NW External Dinarides of Slovenia unraveled by mesoscale fault-slip data anaysis

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Lea Žibret
Marko Vrabec


The late Eocene to Recent dynamics of the NW External Dinarides in Slovenia are described. The study is focused on the orogen-parallel NW-SE striking family of faults, which represent the main source of seismic hazard in the NW External Dinarides today. Approximately 1700 fault-slip datasets were collected at 70 locations and used for palaeostress analysis. Structural relationships observed in the field, allowed the construction of a relative chronology between the documented fault and shear joint sets, facilitating the reconstruction of their kinematic evolution and the chronology of palaeostress phases. Four post-Palaeocene stress tensor groups are documented corresponding to four distinct tectonic phases. The first phase is marked by NE-SW directed compression attributed to Late Eocene top-to-SW thrusting of External Dinarides. The second phase is characterized by NE-SW oriented tension, documented by normal slips recorded on NW-SE striking faults. This tension is interpreted as an expression of the Early to Middle Miocene back-arc extension in the Pannonian basin system that also affected the studied part of the External Dinarides. The third phase is manifested by approximately E-W oriented compression with approximately N-S oriented tension in a strike-slip stress regime, causing sinistral reactivation of NW-SE trending faults. Geodynamically, this phase can be correlated with the Late Miocene short pulse of E-W directed compression, documented in parts of the Pannonian basin system. The youngest phase is characterized by approximately N-S oriented compression and approximately E-W oriented tension in a strike-slip stress regime, which caused dextral reactivation of NW-SE striking faults. This phase correlates with the recent inversive/transpressive phase, well-established from seismological data.


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