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  1. Abstract

    Earthquakes can be dynamically triggered by the passing waves of other distant events. The frequent occurrence of dynamic triggering offers tangible hope in revealing earthquake nucleation processes. However, the physical mechanisms behind earthquake dynamic triggering have remained unclear, and contributions of competing hypotheses are challenging to isolate with individual case studies. To gain a systematic understanding of the spatiotemporal patterns of dynamic triggering, we investigate the phenomenon in southern California from 2008 to 2017. We use the Quake Template Matching catalog and an approach that does not assume an earthquake occurrence distribution. We develop a new set of statistics to examine the significance of seismicity‐rate changes as well as moment‐release changes. Our results show that up to 70% of 1,388 globalM ≥ 6 events may have triggered earthquakes in southern California. The triggered seismicity often occurred several hours after the passing seismic waves. The Salton Sea Geothermal Field, San Jacinto fault, and Coso Geothermal Field are particularly prone to triggering. Although adjacent fault segments can be triggered by the same earthquakes, the majority of triggered earthquakes seem to be uncorrelated, suggesting that the process is primarily governed by local conditions. Further, the occurrence of dynamic triggering does not seem to correlate with ground motion (e.g., peak ground velocity) at the triggered sites. These observations indicate that nonlinear processes may have primarily regulated the dynamic triggering cases.

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    Backprojection has proven useful in imaging large earthquake rupture processes. The method is generally robust and requires relatively simple assumptions about the fault geometry or the Earth velocity model. It can be applied in both the time and frequency domain. Backprojection images are often obtained from records filtered in a narrow frequency band, limiting its ability to uncover the whole rupture process. Here, we develop and apply a novel frequency-difference backprojection (FDBP) technique to image large earthquakes, which imitates frequencies below the bandwidth of the signal. The new approach originates from frequency-difference beamforming, which was initially designed to locate acoustic sources. Our method stacks the phase-difference of frequency pairs, given by the autoproduct, and is less affected by scattering and -time errors from 3-D Earth structures. It can potentially locate sources more accurately, albeit with lower resolution. In this study, we first develop the FDBP algorithm and then validate it by performing synthetic tests. We further compare two stacking techniques of the FDBP method, Band Width Averaged Autoproduct and its counterpart (BWAP and non-BWAP), and their effects in the backprojection images. We then apply both the FDBP and conventional backprojection methods to the 2015 M7.8 Gorkha earthquake as a case study. The backprojection results from the two methods agree well with each other, and we find that the peak radiation loci of the FDBP non-BWAP snapshots have standard error of less than 0.33° during the rupture process. The FDBP method shows promise in resolving complex earthquake rupture processes in tectonically complex regions.

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  3. Abstract

    Understanding earthquake foreshocks is essential for deciphering earthquake rupture physics and can aid seismic hazard mitigation. With regional dense seismic arrays, we identify immediate foreshocks of 527 0.9M5.4 events of the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence, including 48 earthquakes with series of immediate foreshocks. These immediate foreshocks are adjacent to the mainshocks occurring within 100 s of the mainshocks, and their P waves share high resemblances with the mainshock P waves. However, attributes of the immediate‐foreshock P waves, including the amplitudes and preceding times, do not clearly scale with the mainshock magnitudes. Our observations suggest that earthquake rupture may initiate in a universal fashion but evolves stochastically. This indicates that earthquake rupture development is likely controlled by fine‐scale fault heterogeneities in the Ridgecrest fault system, and the final magnitude is the only difference between small and large earthquakes.

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  4. Abstract

    A devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Southern Haiti on 14 August 2021. The earthquake caused severe damage and over 2000 casualties. Resolving the earthquake rupture process can provide critical insights into hazard mitigation. Here we use integrated seismological analyses to obtain the rupture history of the 2021 earthquake. We find the earthquake first broke a blind thrust fault and then jumped to a disconnected strike‐slip fault. Neither of the fault configurations aligns with the left‐lateral tectonic boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates. The complex multi‐fault rupture may result from the oblique plate convergence in the region, so that the initial thrust rupture is due to the boundary‐normal compression and the following strike‐slip faulting originates from the Gonâve microplate block movement, orienting SW‐NE direction. The complex rupture development of the earthquake suggests that the regional deformation is accommodated by a network of segmented faults with diverse faulting conditions.

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  5. Abstract

    Dynamic triggering of earthquakes has been reported at various fault systems. The triggered earthquakes are thought to be caused either directly by dynamic stress changes due to the passing seismic waves, or indirectly by other nonlinear processes that are initiated by the passing waves. Distinguishing these physical mechanisms is difficult because of the general lack of high‐resolution earthquake catalogs and robust means to quantitatively evaluate triggering responses, particularly, delayed responses. Here we use the high‐resolution Quake Template Matching catalog in Southern California to systematically evaluate teleseismic dynamic triggering patterns in the San Jacinto Fault Zone and the Salton Sea Geothermal Field from 2008 to 2017. We develop a new statistical approach to identify triggered cases, finding that approximately 1 out of every 5 globalMw ≥ 6 earthquakes dynamically trigger microearthquakes in Southern California. The triggering responses include both instantaneous and delayed triggering, showing a highly heterogeneous pattern and indicating possible evolving triggering thresholds. We do not observe a clear peak ground velocity triggering threshold that can differentiate triggering earthquakes from nontriggering events, but there are subtle differences in the frequency content of the ground motion that may differentiate the earthquakes. In contrast to the depth distribution of background seismicity, the identified triggered earthquakes tend to concentrate at the edges of the seismogenic zones. Although instantaneously triggered earthquakes are likely a result of dynamic Coulomb stress changes, the cases of delayed‐dynamic triggering are best explained by nonlinear triggering processes, including cyclic material fatigue, accelerated transient creep, and stochastic frictional heterogeneities.

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  6. Abstract We identify 51 near-contemporaneous earthquake pairs along a 100 km segment of California’s San Andreas fault south of San Juan Bautista between 1981 and 2021 that are separated by 5–50 s in time and 5–50 km in space. The event pairs are found throughout the time period and generally involve events smaller than magnitude 2. For 42 of these pairs (82%), the later earthquake is northwest of the earlier event—an asymmetry that is hard to explain with standard earthquake triggering models and suggests an underlying physical connection between the events. We explore possible origins for these observations but are unable to identify a definitive explanation. 
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  7. SUMMARY In the Gulf of California, Mexico, the relative motion across the North America–Pacific boundary is accommodated by a series of marine transform faults and spreading centres. About 40 M> 6 earthquakes have occurred in the region since 1960. On 2009 August 3, an Mw 6.9 earthquake occurred near Canal de Ballenas in the region. The earthquake was a strike-slip event with a shallow hypocentre that is likely close to the seafloor. In contrast to an adjacent M7 earthquake, this earthquake triggered a ground-motion-based earthquake early warning algorithm being tested in southern California (∼600 km away). This observation suggests that the abnormally large ground motions and dynamic strains observed for this earthquake relate to its rupture properties. To investigate this possibility, we image the rupture process and resolve the slip distribution of the event using a P-wave backprojection approach and a teleseismic, finite-fault inversion method. Results from these two independent analyses indicate a relatively simple, unilateral rupture propagation directed along-strike in the northward direction. However, the average rupture speed is estimated around 4 km s−1, suggesting a possible supershear rupture. The supershear speed is also supported by a Rayleigh wave Mach cone analysis, although uncertainties in local velocity structure preclude a definitive conclusion. The Canal de Ballenas earthquake dynamically triggered seismicity at multiple sites in California, with triggering response characteristics varying from location-to-location. For instance, some of the triggered earthquakes in California occurred up to 24 hr later, suggesting that nonlinear triggering mechanisms likely have modulated their occurrence. 
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  8. Abstract Puerto Rico is a highly seismically active island, where several damaging historical earthquakes have occurred and frequent small events persist. It situates at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates, featuring a complex fault system. Here, we investigate the seismotectonic crustal structure of the island by interpreting the 3D compressional-wave velocity VP and compressional- to shear-wave velocity ratio VP/VS models and by analyzing the distribution of the relocated earthquakes. The 3D velocity models are obtained by applying the simul2000 tomographic inversion algorithm based on the phase arrivals recorded by the Puerto Rico seismic network. We find high-VP and low-VP/VS anomalies in the eastern and central province between the Great Northern Puerto Rico fault zone and the Great Southern Puerto Rico fault zone, correlating with the Utuado pluton. Further, there are low-VP anomalies beneath both the Great Southern Puerto Rico fault zone and the South Lajas fault, indicating northerly dipping structures from the southwest to the northwest of the island. We relocate 19,095 earthquakes from May 2017 to April 2021 using the new 3D velocity model and waveform cross-correlation data. The relocated seismicity shows trends along the Investigator fault, the Ponce faults, the Guayanilla rift, and the Punta Montalva fault. The majority of the 2019–2021 Southwestern Puerto Rico earthquakes are associated with the Punta Montalva fault. Earthquakes forming 17° northward-dipping structures at various depths possibly manifest continuation of the Muertos trough, along which the Caribbean plate is being subducted beneath the Puerto Rico microplate. Our results show complex fault geometries of a diffuse fault network, suggesting possible subduction process accommodated by faults within a low-velocity zone. 
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