Magnetotelluric characterization of the Alhama de Murcia Fault (Eastern Betics, Spain) and study of magnetotelluric interstation impedance inversion

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The Lorca earthquake (May 11th, 2011, Mw 5.2) stands as the most destructive one in Spain over the last 50 years, interpreted as having occurred in an intersegment zone of the strike–slip Alhama de Murcia Fault (AMF) (Eastern Betics, Spain). Magnetotelluric data were acquired along a profile to the SW of Lorca (La Torrecilla profile), to characterize its signature at depth, as part of the multidisciplinary project “INTERGEOSIMA”. Given the short distance between stations, some station pairs were recorded simultaneously, with magnetic sensors in only one of them. In order to properly understand the resulting impedances (called interstation impedances), and the effects of inverting them, we used synthetic models to compare the impedances and the interstation impedances and to analyze the corresponding inversion results, together with the inversion of the quasi-impedance (inversion of the interstation impedances, considering them as impedances). The results are sensitive to the location of the magnetic sensors and the resistivity underneath, but in general the use of the quasi-impedances in the inversion can be considered a valid procedure. Both the 2D and the 3D resistivity models obtained through the inversion allowed us to complement the previous ERT models and represent the continuation of the main fault gouge in depth showing its extension towards the SE.