Blumberg, S et al. (2008): Turbiditic trench deposits at the South-Chilean active margin. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.691407, Supplement to:Blumberg, Susanne; Lamy, Frank; Arz, Helge W; Echtler, Helmut; Wiedicke, Michael; Haug, Gerald H; Oncken, Onno (2008): Turbiditic trench deposits at the South-Chilean active margin: A Pleistocene-Holocene record of climate and tectonics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 268(3-4), 526-539, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.02.007
The active plate margin of South America is characterized by a frequent occurrence of large and devastating subduction earthquakes. Here we focus on marine sedimentary records off Southern Chile that are archiving the regional paleoseismic history over the Holocene and Late Pleistocene. The investigated records - Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1232 and SONNE core 50SL - are located at ~40°S and ~38°S, within the Perú-Chile trench, and are characterized by frequent interbedded strata of turbiditic and hemipelagic origin. On the basis of the sedimentological characteristics and the association with the active margin of Southern Chile, we assume that the turbidites are mainly seismically triggered, and may be considered as paleo-megaearthquake indicators. However, the long-term changes in turbidite recurrence times appear to be strongly influenced by climate and sea level changes as well. During sea level highstands in the Holocene and Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5, recurrence times of turbiditic layers are substantially higher, primarily reflecting a climate-induced reduction of sediment availability and enhanced slope stability. In addition, segmented tectonic uplift changes and related drainage inversions likely influenced the postglacial decrease in turbidite frequencies. Glacial turbidite recurrence times (including MIS 2, MIS 3, cold substages of MIS 5, and MIS 6), on the other hand, are within the same order of magnitude as earthquake recurrence times derived from the historical record and other terrestrial paleoseismic archives of the region. Only during these cold stages sediment availability and slope instability were high enough to enable recording of the complete sequence of large earthquakes in Southern Chile. Our data thus suggest that earthquake recurrence times on the order of 100 to 200 years are a persistent feature at least during the last glacial period.