Articles | Volume 22, issue 11
Research article
07 Nov 2022
Research article |  | 07 Nov 2022

Geologic and geodetic constraints on the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes along Malawi's active faults: the Malawi Seismogenic Source Model (MSSM)

Jack N. Williams, Luke N. J. Wedmore, Åke Fagereng, Maximilian J. Werner, Hassan Mdala, Donna J. Shillington, Christopher A. Scholz, Folarin Kolawole, Lachlan J. M. Wright, Juliet Biggs, Zuze Dulanya, Felix Mphepo, and Patrick Chindandali

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Cited articles

Accardo, N. J., Shillington, D. J., Gaherty, J. B., Scholz, C. A., Nyblade, A. A., Chindandali, P. R. N., Kamihanda, G., McCartney, T., Wood, D., and Wambura Ferdinand, R.: Constraints on Rift Basin Structure and Border Fault Growth in the Northern Malawi Rift From 3-D Seismic Refraction Imaging, J. Geophys. Res.-Sol. Ea., 123, 10003–10025,, 2018. 
Accardo, N. J., Gaherty, J. B., Shillington, D. J., Hopper, E., Nyblade, A. A., Ebinger, C. J., Scholz, C. A., Chindandali, P. R. N., Wambura-Ferdinand, R., Mbogoni, G., Russell, J. B., Holtzman, B. K., Havlin, C., and Class, C.: Thermochemical Modification of the Upper Mantle Beneath the Northern Malawi Rift Constrained From Shear Velocity Imaging, Geochem. Geophy. Geosy., 21, 1–19,, 2020. 
Acocella, V., Faccenna, C., Funiciello, R., and Rossetti, F.: Sand-box modelling of basement-controlled transfer zones in extensional domains, Terra Nov., 11, 149–156,, 1999. 
Agostini, A., Bonini, M., Corti, G., Sani, F., and Mazzarini, F.: Fault architecture in the Main Ethiopian Rift and comparison with experimental models: Implications for rift evolution and Nubia-Somalia kinematics, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 301, 479–492,, 2011. 
Ambraseys, N. N.: The Rukuwa Earthquake of 13 December 1910 in East-Africa, Terra Nov., 3, 202–211,, 1991. 
Short summary
We use geologic and GPS data to constrain the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes that occur along active faults in Malawi. These faults slip in earthquakes as the tectonic plates on either side of the East African Rift in Malawi diverge. Low divergence rates (0.5–1.5 mm yr) and long faults (5–200 km) imply that earthquakes along these faults are rare (once every 1000–10 000 years) but could have high magnitudes (M 7–8). These data can be used to assess seismic risk in Malawi.
Final-revised paper