skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Deriving Rupture Scenarios From Interseismic Locking Distributions Along the Subduction Megathrust
Abstract

Given recent advances in geodetic data, interseismic locking models along the megathrust now become useful to qualitatively evaluate future earthquake potential. However, an individual earthquake's true rupture potential is challenging, as it depends on more than just a static image of prior locking. Here, we test the determinism of interseismic locking models using spontaneous rupture simulations and the well‐resolved processes associated with the 2012 moment magnitude (Mw) 7.6 Nicoya earthquake. To do so, we estimate initial megathrust stress from locking by assuming that the entire slip deficit will be released in the next megathrust earthquake. Then we initiate spontaneous ruptures at the hypocenter of the 2012 Nicoya earthquake. We find scenarios that approximate the same coseismic slip distribution and final earthquake moment magnitude as obtained from seismic and geodetic observations, demonstrating that deriving potential rupture scenarios from interseismic locking is feasible. We also find that spontaneous rupture scenarios from different locking models differ in moment rate duration and thus ground motion prediction, although the final slip distribution and moment magnitude were similar. The results highlight that quantifying rupture scenarios and ground motions from reliable locking models by dynamic rupture simulations can be an effective tool for seismic hazard assessment in subduction zones.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10372261
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume:
124
Issue:
10
ISSN:
2169-9313
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 10376-10392
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    From California to British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest coast bears an omnipresent earthquake and tsunami hazard from the Cascadia subduction zone. Multiple lines of evidence suggests that magnitude eight and greater megathrust earthquakes have occurred ‐ the most recent being 321 years ago (i.e., 1700 A.D.). Outstanding questions for the next great megathrust event include where it will initiate, what conditions are favorable for rupture to span the convergent margin, and how much slip may be expected. We develop the first 3‐D fully dynamic rupture simulations for the Cascadia subduction zone that are driven by fault stress, strength and friction to address these questions. The initial dynamic stress drop distribution in our simulations is constrained by geodetic coupling models, with segment locations taken from geologic analyses. We document the sensitivity of nucleation location and stress drop to the final seismic moment and coseismic subsidence amplitudes. We find that the final earthquake size strongly depends on the amount of slip deficit in the central Cascadia region, which is inferred to be creeping interseismically, for a given initiation location in southern or northern Cascadia. Several simulations are also presented here that can closely approximate recorded coastal subsidence from the 1700 A.D. event without invoking localized high‐stress asperities along the down‐dip locked region of the megathrust. These results can be used to inform earthquake and tsunami hazards for not only Cascadia, but other subduction zones that have limited seismic observations but a wealth of geodetic inference.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) is known to host M9 megathrust ruptures; however, no such event has occurred in historical observation. The distribution and characteristics of small‐ to moderate‐sized earthquakes can be used to determine the behavior of the megathrust fault but are notably absent offshore the CSZ due to the distance from onshore seismometers. We use automated subspace detection coupled with an onshore‐offshore seismic deployment to find small‐magnitude earthquakes in the offshore seismogenic zone and analyze their locations in the context of interseismic locking and seismogenic zone extent. We detected and located 5,282 earthquakes, 4,096 of which had been previously undetected. We find that the downdip extent of the seismogenic zone as defined by interplate seismicity agrees with the 20% locking contour of the Schmalzle et al. (2014,https://doi.org/10.1002/2013GC005172) geodetic model and extends deeper than predicted by previous thermal models. We cannot determine the updip extent of the seismogenic zone; this may be due to a lack of templates for detection in the updip source area, stress shadows updip of asperity loading, and/or strong locking to the trench. We present a map of possible asperities determined by the small earthquakes in this study. Our asperity locations and extents show some, but not complete, agreement with the asperities modeled from the 1700 M9 rupture and geodetic locking models, and good agreement with the paleo‐rupture extents determined from offshore turbidites and forearc basin‐based asperity estimates. This highlights the need of continued offshore observations over time, and to elucidate fine‐scale variation in locking.

     
    more » « less
  3. So far in this century, six very large–magnitude earthquakes ( M W ≥ 7.8) have ruptured separate portions of the subduction zone plate boundary of western South America along Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. Each source region had last experienced a very large earthquake from 74 to 261 y earlier. This history led to their designation in advance as seismic gaps with potential to host future large earthquakes. Deployments of geodetic and seismic monitoring instruments in several of the seismic gaps enhanced resolution of the subsequent faulting processes, revealing preevent patterns of geodetic slip deficit accumulation and heterogeneous coseismic slip on the megathrust fault. Localized regions of large slip, or asperities, appear to have influenced variability in how each source region ruptured relative to prior events, as repeated ruptures have had similar, but not identical slip distributions. We consider updated perspectives of seismic gaps, asperities, and geodetic locking to assess current very large earthquake hazard along the South American subduction zone, noting regions of particular concern in northern Ecuador and Colombia (1958/1906 rupture zone), southeastern Peru (southeasternmost 1868 rupture zone), north Chile (1877 rupture zone), and north-central Chile (1922 rupture zone) that have large geodetic slip deficit measurements and long intervals (from 64 to 154 y) since prior large events have struck those regions. Expanded geophysical measurements onshore and offshore in these seismic gaps may provide critical information about the strain cycle and fault stress buildup late in the seismic cycle in advance of the future great earthquakes that will eventually strike each region. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Slow slip events (SSEs) have been observed in spatial and temporal proximity to megathrust earthquakes in various subduction zones, including the 2014Mw7.3 Guerrero, Mexico earthquake which was preceded by aMw7.6 SSE. However, the underlying physics connecting SSEs to earthquakes remains elusive. Here, we link 3D slow‐slip cycle models with dynamic rupture simulations across the geometrically complex flat‐slab Cocos plate boundary. Our physics‐based models reproduce key regional geodetic and teleseismic fault slip observations on timescales from decades to seconds. We find that accelerating SSE fronts transiently increase shear stress at the down‐dip end of the seismogenic zone, modulated by the complex geometry beneath the Guerrero segment. The shear stresses cast by the migrating fronts of the 2014Mw7.6 SSE are significantly larger than those during the three previous episodic SSEs that occurred along the same portion of the megathrust. We show that the SSE transient stresses are large enough to nucleate earthquake dynamic rupture and affect rupture dynamics. However, additional frictional asperities in the seismogenic part of the megathrust are required to explain the observed complexities in the coseismic energy release and static surface displacements of the Guerrero earthquake. We conclude that it is crucial to jointly analyze the long‐ and short‐term interactions and complexities of SSEs and megathrust earthquakes across several (a)seismic cycles accounting for megathrust geometry. Our study has important implications for identifying earthquake precursors and understanding the link between transient and sudden megathrust faulting processes.

     
    more » « less
  5. SUMMARY

    Plate-coupling estimates and previous seismicity indicate that portions of the Makran megathrust of southern Pakistan and Iran are partially coupled and have the potential to produce future magnitude 7+ earthquakes. However, the GPS observations needed to constrain coupling models are sparse and lead to an incomplete understanding of regional earthquake and tsunami hazard. In this study, we assess GPS velocities for plate coupling of the Makran subduction zone with specific attention to model resolution and the accretionary prism rheology. We use finite element model-derived Green's functions to invert for the interseismic slip deficit under both elastic and viscoelastic Earth assumptions. We use the model resolution matrix to characterize plate-coupling scenarios that are consistent with the limited spatial resolution afforded by GPS observations. We then forward model the corresponding tsunami responses at major coastal cities within the western Indian Ocean basin. Our plate-coupling results show potential segmentation of the megathrust with varying coupling from west to east, but do not rule out a scenario where the entire length of the megathrust could rupture in a single earthquake. The full subduction zone rupture scenarios suggest that the Makran may be able to produce earthquakes up to Mw 9.2. The corresponding tsunami model from the largest earthquake event (Mw 9.2) estimates maximum wave heights reaching 2–5 m at major port cities in the northern Arabian Sea region. Cities on the west coast of India are less affected (1–2 m). Coastlines bounding eastern Africa, and the Strait of Hormuz, are the least affected (<1 m).

     
    more » « less