Late quaternary tectonic activity of the Udine-Buttrio Thrust, Friulian Plain, NE Italy
The NW-SE trending Udine-Buttrio Thrust is a partly blind fault that affects the Friulian plain southeast of Udine in NE Italy. It is part of a wider fault system that accommodates the northward motion of the Adriatic plate. Although seismic reflection data and morphological evidence show that the fault was active during the Quaternary, comparably little is known about its tectonic activity. We used high-resolution digital elevation models to investigate the surface expression of the fault. Measured vertical surface offsets show significant changes along strike with uplift rates varying between 0 and 0.5 mm/yr. We then analyze a topographic scarp near the village of Manzano in more detail. Field mapping and geophysical prospections (Georadar and Electrical Resistivity Tomography) were used to image the subsurface geometry of the fault. We found vertical offsets of 1–3 m in Natisone River terraces younger than 20 ka. The geophysical data allowed the identification of deformation of the fluvial sediments, supporting the idea that the topographic scarp is a tectonic feature and that the terraces have been uplifted systematically over time. Our findings fit the long-term behaviour of the Udine-Buttrio Thrust. We estimate a post-glacial vertical uplift rate of 0.08–0.17 mm/yr recorded by the offset terraces. Our results shed light on the Late Quaternary behaviour of this thrust fault in the complicated regional tectonic setting and inform about its hitherto overlooked possible seismic hazard.