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research updates

Journey to the Roof of the World: how fast does the Pamir Frontal Thrust move?

Ben Johnson, a PhD student from the University of Oxford, describes his experiences from fieldwork over the summer of 2021. Read on to find out more about the Alai valley, glacial histories, and shortening across the northern margin of the Pamir.

The Pamir and Tien Shan are colliding along the Alai valley as part of the wider India-Eurasia continental collision. The Pamir are moving northwards along the Pamir Frontal Thrust (PFT), closing the valley. The rate of shortening across the PFT is contested, with short-term geodetic rates from GPS giving faster rates from those measured from palaeoseismology.
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research updates

New paper: Slip-Rate of the Main Kopeh Dagh Fault and active tectonics of the South Caspian

The South Caspian Basin (SCB) is an aseismic block that moves independently to its surroundings. Together with the Arabia-Eurasia collision, it controls the active tectonics of Turkmenistan. The directions, rates, and rotation poles of the SCB relative to Iran and Eurasia are not well resolved. In a new paper recently published in TECTONICS, we constrain the motion of the SCB by measuring the slip rate of the Main Kopeh Dagh Fault (MKDF) in Turkmenistan. Here’s what we found:

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Active faulting and earthquake hazard in Azerbaijan – a collaboration between Oxford University and the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences

In November 2021 two of us (Ian Pierce and Richard Walker) were able to travel to Baku to begin a collaborative project between the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the University of Oxford addressing regional tectonics, active faulting, and earthquake hazard. The project was due to begin in early 2020 but was postponed due to travel restrictions.

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The COMET Central Asia Fault Database: Progress Report

The COMET Central Asia Fault Database integrates decades of fault mapping and field-studies by researchers from the UK NERC Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), and global collaborators.

Central Asia is home to one of the world’s great mountain ranges–the Tien Shan–which is formed by vigorous crustal convergence across a multitude of tectonic faults. Here we describe the motivation to assemble the database and the choices that we have made in its structure, which are based on utility, necessity, and limitations in available information. We are working towards a full public release of the dataset, so keep an eye out!