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Koen Van Noten, Thomas Lecocq, Anjana Shah and Thierry Camelbeeck (2015)

Seismotectonic significance of the 2008-2010 Walloon Brabant seismic swarm in the Brabant Massif (Belgium)

Tectonophysics, 656:20-38.

Between 12 July 2008 and 18 January 2010 a seismic swarm occurred close to the town of Court-Saint-Etienne, 20 km SE of Brussels (Belgium). The Belgian network and a temporary seismic network covering the epicentral area established a seismic catalogue in which magnitude varies between ML -0.7 and ML 3.2. Based on waveform cross-correlation of co-located earthquakes, the spatial distribution of the hypocentre locations was improved considerably and shows a dense cluster displaying a 200 m-wide, 1.5-km long, NW-SE oriented fault structure at a depth range between 5 and 7 km, located in the Cambrian basement rocks of the Lower Palaeozoic Anglo-Brabant Massif. Waveform comparison of the largest events of the 2008–2010 swarm with an ML 4.0 event that occurred during swarm activity between 1953 and 1957 in the same region shows similar P- and S-wave arrivals at the Belgian Uccle seismic station. The geometry depicted by the hypocentral distribution is consistent with a nearly vertical, left-lateral strike-slip fault taking place in a current local WNW–ESE oriented local maximum horizontal stress field. To determine a relevant tectonic structure, a systematic matched filtering approach of aeromagnetic data, which can approximately locate isolated anomalies associated with hypocentral depths, has been applied. Matched filtering shows that the 2008–2010 seismic swarm occurred along a limited-sized fault which is situated in slaty, low-magnetic rocks of the Mousty Formation. The fault is bordered at both ends with obliquely oriented magnetic gradients. Whereas the NW end of the fault is structurally controlled, its SE end is controlled by a magnetic gradient representing an early-orogenic detachment fault separating the low-magnetic slaty Mousty Formation from the high-magnetic Tubize Formation. The seismic swarm is therefore interpreted as a sinistral reactivation of an inherited NW–SE oriented isolated fault in a weakened crust within the Cambrian core of the Brabant Massif.
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