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Fault activity in north-west Europe and its relationship to seismic activity

Research project MO/33/011 (Research action MO)

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Knowledge of the long-term seismic activity of a region is important for assessing seismic risk and understanding current tectonic deformations. In north-west Europe, the historical data only provides reliable information on severe earthquakes since the 14th century. For this reason, since 1995, part of the seismology research effort at the Belgian Royal Observatory has been devoted to the study of active faults in "stable" continental zones. These investigations have so far been conducted in the Roer Valley graben system which is the most seismically active region of north-west Europe and where the geology and morphology are in part modelled by recent and current fault activity. Seismic risk assessment on the scale of north-west Europe calls for region-wide reconnaissance and improved characterisation of the activity of faults capable of generating large earthquakes. This is the main them of this research.

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