We have mapped in detail surface ruptures of the 1912 magnitude 7.0 strike-slip earthquake in south Iceland. This earthquake ruptured fresh basalt flows that had covered the pre-existing fault. The observed style of surface fracturing closely matches both theoretical predictions of the first stages of shear fracture development and microscopic-scale observations from laboratory experiments. The shear offset distributed across the zone of surface fractures produced by this earthquake is right-lateral and is in the range of 1 to 3 m. Total mapped rupture length is 9 km, but total rupture length is probably at least approximately 20 km. This interplate earthquake had an exceptionally high ratio of slip to fault length and, by inference, stress drop. The north-south trending rupture of the 1912 earthquake is part of the ''bookshelf'' faulting in the east-west trending South Iceland Seismic Zone. We ascribe the ''bookshelf'' faulting in the South Iceland Seismic Zone to a combination of the early development stage of the transform and regional strength anisotropy of the crust.
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