Earthquake Report Lite: M 7.0 near Acapulco, Mexico

I don’t always have the time to write a proper Earthquake Report. However, I prepare interpretive posters for these events.

Because of this, I present Earthquake Report Lite. (but it is more than just water, like the adult beverage that claims otherwise). I will try to describe the figures included in the poster, but sometimes I will simply post the poster here.

Last afternoon (my time) there was an M 7.0 earthquake near Acapulco, Mexico. This event generated a tsunami, landslides, building damage, casualties (one fatality as I write this), and many emotions.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us7000f93v/executive

I present my interpretive poster and a few figures. Read more about the tectonics of this region here, in a report for an M 7.4 earthquake in 2020.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1921-2021 with magnitudes M ≥ 7.0 in one version.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures.

  • In the upper left corner is a small scale map showing the major plate boundaries.
  • Below the plate tectonic map is a plot showing the tide gage data from Acapulco, Mexico. Note the clear tsunami signal.
  • To the right of the plate tectonic map is a large scale map showing aftershocks in the region of the M 7.1 mainshock. Note that these aftershocks are from the Servicio Sismológico Nacional (SSN) Catálogo de sismos and that there are two mainshock locations (USGS M 7.0 and SSN M 7.1).
  • In the lower right corner is a map that shows a comparison of earthquake intensity between the USGS models and the Did You Feel It observations.
  • Above the intensity comparison map is a plot showing these same data, intensity is on the vertical axis an distance from the earthquake [Hypocenter] is on the horizontal axis.
  • In the upper right corner is a map that shows the results of an earthquake induced liquefaction model. Read more about this model here.
  • Here is the map with a week’s seismicity plotted.

Tide Gage Data – Acapulco

Earthquake Intensity

  • Below is a comparison of earthquake shaking intensity between the USGS Model results and the Did You Feel It observations.

    References:

    Basic & General References

  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
  • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
  • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
  • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
  • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
  • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
  • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
  • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
  • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
  • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
  • Specific References

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in earthquake, education, geology, mexico, plate tectonics, subduction, tsunami

Earthquake Report: M 7.2 in Haiti

I don’t always have the time to write a proper Earthquake Report. However, I prepare interpretive posters for these events.

Because of this, I present Earthquake Report Lite. (but it is more than just water, like the adult beverage that claims otherwise). I will try to describe the figures included in the poster, but sometimes I will simply post the poster here.

On 14 August ’21 there was a magnitude M 7.2 oblique strike-slip earthquake in Haiti. This earthquake was along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, which also ruptured in 2010. Here is my report for the 2010 Haiti earthquake (see more about the tectonics of this region of the world).

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us6000f65h/executive

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1921-2021 with magnitudes M ≥ 7.0 in one version.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures.

  • in the lower right corner is a small scale plate tectonic map.
  • Above that map is a plot showing the USGS finite fault slip model. This shows the location of the fault and color represents how much the fault slipped during the earthquake.
  • In the upper right corner is a map that compares the USGS earthquake intensity models (the contoured lines) with the USGS Did You Feel It? observations from real people.
  • In the lower center is a map that shows the aftershocks from the M 7.2 earthquake and from the 2010 M 7.0 earthquake.
  • In the upper left are two maps that show models of earthquake triggered landslides and earthquake induced liquefaction for this M 7.2 event. Read more about these models here.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

Earthquake Aftershocks

  • Below a map showing the aftershocks from the 2021 M 7.2 and 2010 M 7.0 Haiti earthquakes.

Ground Failure Models

    References:

    Basic & General References

  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
  • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
  • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
  • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
  • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
  • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
  • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
  • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
  • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
  • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
  • Specific References

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in caribbean, earthquake, education, geology, plate tectonics, strike-slip

Earthquake Report Lite: South Sandwich Islands

I don’t always have the time to write a proper Earthquake Report. However, I prepare interpretive posters for these events.

Because of this, I present Earthquake Report Lite. (but it is more than just water, like the adult beverage that claims otherwise). I will try to describe the figures included in the poster, but sometimes I will simply post the poster here.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1921-2021 with magnitudes M ≥ 3.0 in one version.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures.

  • In the upper left corner is a small scale plate tectonic map showing the major plate boundaries.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s (and a week’s) seismicity plotted.

Seismicity Cross Sections

  • Here is a map and cross section of the aftershocks.

Tide Gage Data

  • Here are plot of the tide gage data from nearby gages.


    References:

    Basic & General References

  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
  • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
  • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
  • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
  • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
  • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
  • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
  • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
  • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
  • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
  • Specific References

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in atlantic, earthquake, education, geology, subduction, tsunami

Earthquake Report: M 8.2 near Perryville, Alaska

A few days ago, I was passed out on my couch (sleep apnea) and for some reason I awoke and noticed that I had gotten a CSEM notification of a large earthquake offshore of Alaska. Well, after looking into that, I sent my boss, Rick, a text message: “8.2.”

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us6000f02w/executive

Rick Wilson runs the tsunami program at the California Geological Survey (CGS) and works with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to use official forecasts of tsunami size from the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) to alert coastal emergency managers about the level of potential evacuation that they may want to act upon.

More about this process can be found here. Take a look at the CGS Special Report 236 to learn about the Tsunami Playbooks and the “FASTER” approach for tsunami evacuation guidance. Evacuation is something that is done at the local level, so CGS and Cal OES can only provide recommendations.

Needless to say, we were both at the ready to respond. Rick has hourly phone calls with the NTWC and follows up with phone calls and emails to specific interested parties (e.g. the emergency managers). We each went into tsunami response mode. I manage the Tsunami Event Response Team, which may be activated to collect observations of tsunami inundation or ocean currents.

I started looking at tide gage and DART Buoy data to see how large the tsunami was in the epicentral region. The M 8.2 was in the region of the 1938 M 8.2 earthquake which generated a transoceanic tsunami. I also looked into the literature about the 1938 tsunami, to see what size that tsunami was. The 1938 tsunami had a decimeter scale wave height (peak to trough) for gages in Alaska and in California (Johnson and Satake, 1994). Jeff Freymueller et al. (2021) had also recently worked on the 1938 earthquake source area and tsunami modeling as well.

The nearest tide gage for this 2021 event is at Sand Point, but the nearest gage in 1938 was in Unalaska. So, in order to get a modest comparison between 1938 and 2021, I felt a need to wait for the Unalaska data to trickle in. This may give us some idea whether the 1938 tsunami recorded in Crescent City and San Francisco might be a decent analogue. Of course, we need to get the official forecast from the NTWC prior to sending out any information. But, that process can take hours (over 3 hours in this case). So, we need to get our minds wrangled around the possibilities in the absence of more information.

Earthquake and Tectonic Background:

The plate boundary in the north Pacific is a convergent (pushing together) plate boundary where the Pacific plate on the south ‘subducts’ northwards beneath the North America plate on the north. The Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone forms a deep sea trench which can be seen in maps of the region. The subduction zone fault dips into the Earth, getting deeper to the north.

Between earthquakes (the interseismic period), the megathrust fault is seismogenically coupled (i.e. ‘locked’) just like velcro has the ability to hold together one’s wallet. The plates are always moving towards each other. Because the fault is locked, the crust surrounding the fault bends elastically to accommodate this convergent motion.

As the crust bends and flexes, it stores energy (i.e. tectonic strain). The part of the fault closest to the seafloor (the southernmost part of this subduction zone fault) gets pulled downwards, while the part of the crust further to the north flexes upwards.

The materials along the earthquake fault have properties that resist motion (like the velcro). But, as the plates converge and increase the amount of energy stored, the forces on the fault may exceed the strength of the fault. At this time, the fault slips, causing an earthquake.

The part of the fault that was being pulled downwards gets pushed upwards during the earthquake (the coseismic period), while the crust that was being flexed upwards between earthquakes thus subsides downwards during the earthquake.

The Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone has a history of subduction zone earthquakes and tsunami, plus there exists a prehistory of earthquakes and tsunami in some parts of this plate boundary. Geologists are often asked to determine the potential hazard of future earthquakes and tsunami and their answers are based on what we know from the past (using both historic and prehistoric data).

The 2021 M 8.2 earthquake happened in the same location as a 1938 M 8.2 earthquake, just to the east of a sequence of earthquakes from last year (22 July and 19 October 2020).

Tsunami:

When the earthquake fault slips, and the upper plate deforms, the vertical motion of the plate can elevate (or lower) the overlying ocean water. After the water changes position, it seeks to return to sea-level (an equipotential surface). If elevated, the water drops downwards and then oscillates up and down. This is the process that generates waves that radiate from the area with seafloor deformed by the earthquake.

    Things that make a tsunami larger are [generally]:

  1. More vertical land motion (possibly from larger slip on the fault, e.g. from a larger magnitude earthquake)
  2. Deeper water (deeper water = more volume of water moving = more energy to create larger tsunami waves)

So let’s take a look at the things that may have affected the size of the tsunami from this 2021 M 8.2 earthquake.

First of all, based on the earthquake slip models (estimates of how the earthquake slipped, in meters, and how that slip varied along the fault) suggest that a majority of the largest slip happened beneath the continental shelf. The water depth on the shelf is similar to many shelfs worldwide, shallower than about 200 meters. How does this affect the size of the tsunami?

Well, I guess that is the main point, the ground deformation that generated the tsunami was beneath shallow water.

These slip models are based on a variety of data and most of the data are seismic data. Some tsunami are generated by slow slip (not generating seismic waves) on the shallow part of the fault. These are called tsunami earthquakes.

Because tsunami earthquakes may be generated by slip in this way, slip models using seismic data cannot resolve the location of the slip on the fault that created these tsunami. However, the tsunami from this 2021 M 8.2 earthquake were small. Therefore the updip part of the fault probably did not contribute significantly to the tsunamigenic ground deformation.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I also include earthquake epicenters from 1921-2021 with magnitudes M ≥ 7.5.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.
  • I include outlines of the historic subduction zone earthquakes as prepared by Peter Haeussler from the USGS in Anchorage. He appears in the video about the 1964 earthquake below.
  • Some of the tide gage and DART buoy locations are labeled.
  • Note how there are still aftershocks from the 2018 M 7.9 earthquake sequence.

    I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below. I present 3 posters, each with slightly different information.

  • This is the first poster I prepared.
  • In the upper center is a low-angle oblique view of the plate boundary. Note the oceanic Pacific plate is subducting beneath the continental North America plate. As the plate goes down, the water embedded in the rocks and sediment are released into the overlying mantle wedge. This water causes the mantle to melt, which rises, erupts as lava and forms the volcanic chain we call the Aleutian Islands. I place a green star in the “epicentral” location of the 2021 M 8.2 earthquake.
  • In the upper left corner is part of a figure from Witter et al. (2019) that shows sections of the megathrust fault relative to how much the fault is thought to be locked. This is called the coupling ratio. For a fault that is fully coupled (or locked), the ratio is 1.0. For a fault that is slipping about 50% and accumulating about 50% of the plate motion rate, the coupling ratio is 0.5. Many subduction zones have low coupling ratios of 0.2-0.6. The region of the fault west of the 1938 and 2021 M 8.2 earthquakes is called the Shumagin Gap, thought to be possibly aseismic (with a coupling ratio closer to 0). But the 2020 sequence of M 7.8 and 7.9 earthquakes filled much of this gap.
  • In the upper right corner is a plot showing the earthquake shaking intensity using the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI). This is a USGS model based on observations of intensity from thousands of earthquakes. Read more about MMI here.
  • In the center right is a plot showing the aftershocks within a couple hours of the mainshock
  • In the lower right corner is the initial record of the tsunami at the Sand Point tide gage (see map for gage location).
  • I labeled the USGS slab 2.0 slab contours (Hayes et al., 2018). These depth contours represent the depth of the megathrust fault at these locations. The M 8.2 hypocentral depth is 32.2 km and the slab2 depth is about 35 km. Nice!
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted. There are 3 posters. The first one is something I put together around 2 hours after I awoke on the couch (abt 2am my time). I prepared the 2nd poster an hour later, which includes some information about tsunami prehistory. I prepared the 3rd poster late Sunday evening, about 3 days after the earthquake.

  • This is the second map I prepared and some figures are the same as in the first poster.
  • Below the low-angle oblique map is a slip model from the USGS. The color represents the amount of slip on the fault. Note that the maximum slip is close to the epicenter. This is not always the case, as for the 1938 event, it appears that the maximum slip was not where the mainshock epicenter was.
  • In the upper left corner is a map from Nelson et al. (2015). Those authors studied the prehistoric tsunami records at Chrikof Island, an island about 200 km to the east of the 2021 M 8.2 epicenter. The lower map shows GPS derived plate motion rates.
  • In the lower right corner is also from Nelson et al. (2015). On this plot, the vertical axis represents time with “today” at the top and over 5000 years ago at the bottom. The horizontal axis is space, west to east from left to right. Each colored symbol represents the time of a prehistoric tsunami. The vertical size of these symbols represents the uncertainty (or “error”) associated with those chronologic data. We can take the number of earthquakes or tsunami over a period of time to estimate how frequently those process happen over time.
  • To the left is a more updated version of the Sand Point tide gage, showing a wave height (peak to trough) of about 45 cm. We cannot compare this to the 1938 tsunami as there was not a tide gage at Sand Point in 1938

  • I prepared a 3rd poster, but updated it to this 4th poster.
  • In the Intensity Data area, I added USGS “Did You Feel It?” data, which come from reports from real people. Learn more about dyfi here. The model data are the colored lines labeled in white and the dyfi data are colored polygons labeled in yellow.
  • In the aftershocks plot, I added epicenters from the several days after the mainshock. I also added a transparent overlay of the USGS finite fault model (the slip model). Compare the overlap, or non-overlap, of the slip region and the aftershocks. Why do you think that they are not completely overlapping?
  • In the lower right section are tide gage records from gages in the area included in the poster. I plot the tidal forecast (dark blue), the tide gage observed water surface elevation (medium blue), and the difference between these data (in light blue) which is a record of the tsunami (and other waves, like wind waves). I made a rough approximation estimate of the maximum wave height and labeled this in yellow. The San Point tide gage has a mx wave height of about 0.8 m!
  • I also plot the data from the DART buoy 46403, which is the closest DART buoy to the mainshock epicenter. The DART buoy network is used to help calibrate tsunami forecast models during tsunami events. These are basically pressure transducers on the seafloor that measure changes in pressure caused by waves and atmospheric processes. The data plotted here are not tsunami data, but seismic wave data. One reason we know that this is not a tsunami is that the waveform initiated about 3 minutes after the earthquake. A tsunami would take longer to get to the buoy.
  • In the upper left corner is a pair of maps that show USGS earthquake induced ground failure models. The map on the right shows what areas have likelihood of having landslides triggered by the 2021 M 8.2 earthquake. The panel on the right shows the possibility that areas might experience liquefaction induced by the earthquake.
  • I added aftershocks associated with the 2020 M 7.8/7.5 sequence that filled the Shumagin Gap (green circles) and outlined the aftershock region for both 2020 and 2021 sequences. The 2021 sequence is not yet over. The largest aftershock so far has only been M 6.1. The 1938 M 8.2 event had a M~7 event 5 days after the mainshock. Stay tuned?

Tectonic Overview

Below is an educational video from the USGS that presents material about subduction zones and the 1964 earthquake and tsunami in particular.
Youtube Source IRIS

mp4 file for downloading.

    Credits:

  • Animation & graphics by Jenda Johnson, geologist
  • Directed by Robert F. Butler, University of Portland
  • U.S. Geological Survey consultants: Robert C. Witter, Alaska Science Center Peter J. Haeussler, Alaska Science Center
  • Narrated by Roger Groom, Mount Tabor Middle School

This is a map from Haeussler et al. (2014). The region in red shows the area that subsided and the area in blue shows the region that uplifted during the earthquake. These regions were originally measured in the field by George Plafker and published in several documents, including this USGS Professional Paper (Plafker, 1969).


Here is a cross section showing the differences of vertical deformation between the coseismic (during the earthquake) and interseismic (between earthquakes).


This figure, from Atwater et al. (2005) shows the earthquake deformation cycle and includes the aspect that the uplift deformation of the seafloor can cause a tsunami.


Here is a figure recently published in the 5th International Conference of IGCP 588 by the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Dept. of Natural Resources, State of Alaska (State of Alaska, 2015). This is derived from a figure published originally by Plafker (1969). There is a cross section included that shows how the slip was distributed along upper plate faults (e.g. the Patton Bay and Middleton Island faults).


Here is a graphic showing the sediment-stratigraphic evidence of earthquakes in Cascadia, but the analogy works for Alaska also. Atwater et al., 2005. There are 3 panels on the left, showing times of (1) prior to earthquake, (2) several years following the earthquake, and (3) centuries after the earthquake. Before the earthquake, the ground is sufficiently above sea level that trees can grow without fear of being inundated with salt water. During the earthquake, the ground subsides (lowers) so that the area is now inundated during high tides. The salt water kills the trees and other plants. Tidal sediment (like mud) starts to be deposited above the pre-earthquake ground surface. This sediment has organisms within it that reflect the tidal environment. Eventually, the sediment builds up and the crust deforms interseismically until the ground surface is again above sea level. Now plants that can survive in this environment start growing again. There are stumps and tree snags that were rooted in the pre-earthquake soil that can be used to estimate the age of the earthquake using radiocarbon age determinations. The tree snags form “ghost forests.


This is a photo that I took along the Seward HWY 1, that runs east of Anchorage along the Turnagain Arm. I attended the 2014 Seismological Society of America Meeting that was located in Anchorage to commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake. This is a ghost forest of trees that perished as a result of coseismic subsidence during the earthquake. Copyright Jason R. Patton (2014). This region subsided coseismically during the 1964 earthquake. Here are some photos from the paleoseismology field trip. (Please contact me for a higher resolution version of this image: quakejay at gmail.com)


This is another video about the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and how we learned about what happened.

  • Here is a map that shows historic earthquake slip regions as pink polygons (Peter Haeussler, USGS). Dr. Haeussler also plotted the magnetic anomalies (grey regions), the arc volcanoes (black diamonds), and the plate motion vectors (mm/yr, NAP vs PP).

  • Here is the figure from Sykes et al. (1980) that shows the space time relations for historic earthquakes in relation to the map.

  • Above: Rupture zones of earthquakes of magnitude M > 7.4 from 1925-1971 as delineated by their aftershocks along plate boundary in Aleutians, southern Alaska and offshore British Columbia [after Sykes, 1971]. Contours in fathoms. Various symbols denote individual aftershock sequences as follows: crosses, 1949, 1957 and 1964; squares, 1938, 1958 and 1965; open triangles, 1946; solid triangles, 1948; solid circles, 1929, 1972. Larger symbols denote more precise locations. C = Chirikof Island. Below: Space-time diagram showing lengths of rupture zones, magnitudes [Richter, 1958; Kanamori, 1977 b; Kondorskay and Shebalin, 1977; Kanamori and Abe, 1979; Perez and Jacob, 1980] and locations of mainshocks for known events of M > 7.4 from 1784 to 1980. Dashes denote uncertainties in size of rupture zones. Magnitudes pertain to surface wave scale, M unless otherwise indicated. M is ultra-long period magnitude of Kanamori 1977 b; Mt is tsunami magnitude of Abe[ 1979]. Large shocks 1929 and 1965 that involve normal faulting in trench and were not located along plate interface are omitted. Absence of shocks before 1898 along several portions of plate boundary reflects lack of an historic record of earthquakes for those areas.

  • Here is a great illustration that shows how forearc sliver faults form due to oblique convergence at a subduction zone (Lange et al., 2008). Strain is partitioned into fault normal faults (the subduction zone) and fault parallel faults (the forearc sliver faults, which are strike-slip). This figure is for southern Chile, but is applicable globally.

  • Proposed tectonic model for southern Chile. Partitioning of the oblique convergence vector between the Nazca plate and South American plate results in a dextral strike-slip fault zone in the magmatic arc and a northward moving forearc sliver. Modified after Lavenu and Cembrano (1999).

In 2016, there was an earthquake along the Alaska Peninsula, a M 7.1 on 2016.01.24. Here is my earthquake report for this earthquake. Here is a map for the earthquakes of magnitude greater than or equal to M 7.0 between 1900 and today. This is the USGS query that I used to make this map. One may locate the USGS web pages for all the earthquakes on this map by following that link.


Tsunami Data

I plot tide gage data for gages in the north and northeast Pacific Ocean. These data are from NOAA Tides and Currents, though are also available via the eu tide gage website here.

    Each plot includes three datasets:

  1. The tidal forecasts are shown as a dark blue line.
  2. The actual observed water surface elevation is plotted in medium blue.
  3. By removing (subtracting) the tide forecast from the observed data, we get the signal from wind waves, tsunami, and atmospheric phenomena. This residual is plotted in light blue.

The scale for the tsunami wave height is on the right side of the chart.
Note the all tsunami wave height plots are the same vertical scale, except for Sand Point.
I measured the largest wave heights for each site, displayed in yellow.

Alaska








Here are the data from the DART buoy nearest the M 8.2. People often mistake these data for tsunami data, but this is generated by seismic waves.

One way to test one’s hypothesis about whether these buoy data are seismic waves or tsunami waves, one simply need to take a look at the time that the wave begins to be recorded by the DART buoy.

Seismic waves travel through water at about 1.5 kms per second. While tsunami wave velocity (based on the shallow water wave equation) for depths ranging from 200-4000 meters is between ~0.02 to 0.2 kms per second, much slower than seismic waves.


Surface Deformation

Below are surface deformation data generated by the USGS based on their finite fault model. The three panels show surface deformation in the north, east, and vertical directions.

North, East, and Up are positive (blue) while South, West, and Down are negative (red).

Note the upper panel and how the Pacific plate is moving to the north and the North America is moving south. Does this make sense?

The middle panel is interesting too, but skip to the lower panel, vertical. The accretionary prism (forming the continental slope), directly above the aftershocks and mainshock, rises up during the earthquake. The upper North America plate landward of the slip patch subsides. Does this make sense?

Earlier in this report we took a look at the geologic evidence for megathrust subduction zone earthquakes, evidence that records this “coseismic” subsidence.


Shaking Intensity and Potential for Ground Failure

  • Below are a series of maps that show the shaking intensity and potential for landslides and liquefaction. These are all USGS data products.
  • There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). The ratio of resisting forces to driving forces is called the Factor of Safety (FOS). We can write this ratio like this:

    FOS = Resisting Force / Driving Force

    When FOS > 1, the slope is stable and when FOS < 1, the slope fails and we get a landslide. The illustration below shows these relations. Note how the slope angle α can take part in this ratio (the steeper the slope, the greater impact of the mass of the slope can contribute to driving forces). The real world is more complicated than the simplified illustration below.


    Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.

    Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.

    An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.

    Below is a diagram showing how an increase in pore pressure can push against the sediment particles so that they are not touching any more. This allows the particles to move around and this is why our feet sink in the sand in the analogy above. This is also what changes the strength of earth materials such that a landslide can be triggered.


    Below is a diagram based upon a publication designed to educate the public about landslides and the processes that trigger them (USGS, 2004). Additional background information about landslide types can be found in Highland et al. (2008). There was a variety of landslide types that can be observed surrounding the earthquake region. So, this illustration can help people when they observing the landscape response to the earthquake whether they are using aerial imagery, photos in newspaper or website articles, or videos on social media. Will you be able to locate a landslide scarp or the toe of a landslide? This figure shows a rotational landslide, one where the land rotates along a curvilinear failure surface.


  • Below is the liquefaction susceptibility and landslide probability map (Jessee et al., 2017; Zhu et al., 2017). Please head over to that report for more information about the USGS Ground Failure products (landslides and liquefaction). Basically, earthquakes shake the ground and this ground shaking can cause landslides.
  • I use the same color scheme that the USGS uses on their website. Note how the areas that are more likely to have experienced earthquake induced liquefaction are in the valleys. Learn more about how the USGS prepares these model results here.

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Johnson and Satake (1994) studied tsunami waveforms from the 10 November 1938 Alaska M 8.2 earthquake. Their analysis was designed to estimate the source for the tsunami. Below are some figures from their paper, with figure captions beneath each figure.
  • This first plot shows the tsunami records from tide gages. This is the plot I used to consider the potential impact to the coast from the 2021 M 8.2 tsunami.

  • Digitized marigrams from 1938 Alaskan earthquake recorded in Crescent City, San Diego, and San Francisco. The tidal componenht asn ot beenr emoved.S tartt ime listedf or each record is the time in minutes from the origin time of the earthquaketo the startt ime of the digitizedr ecord.

  • Here is a map that shows the fault model that they used, as well as the amount of slip that they used for each fault element.

  • Location of subfaults used in inversion of tsunami waveforms. Graph shows slip distribution in meters.

  • This is a figure comparing their model results (synthetic = dashed) compared to the tide gage records (solid lines).

  • Observed and synthetic waveforms from inversion for four subfaults. Start time of each record is different. The arrows indicate the parts of the waveforms used for the inversion.

  • Freymueller et al. (2021) also studied the 1938 M 8.2 event, seeking to resolve the slip on the fault using tsunami modeling.
  • Below are figures with their captions in blockquote.
  • Here are some maps showing 2 of the slip distrubutions that they used for their modeling.

  • Example slip distributions for two of the slip models, shallow eastern and shallow far eastern. For each model the slip is the product of a function f(x) representing the along-strike variation and g(y) representing the downdip variation, and then scaled to a constant magnitude MW 8.25. The functions f(x) and g(y) are based on relations in Freund and Barnett [1976]. For the central and western models, the rupture area is the same as for the eastern model, but the area of higher slip is shifted to the west. For the mid-depth and deep models, the main area of high slip is shifted downdip.

  • Here are some maps showing vertical seafloor displacements for some of their tsunami scenarios.

  • Vertical seafloor displacements caused by representative slip scenarios. On the left side, the slip is concentrated in the east and the deep, mid-depth and shallow slip distribution scenarios are shown. On the right, the Western, Central and Far Eastern slip distribution scenarios are shown assuming the shallow rupture. Displacements are in meters. Red contours show depth to the plate interface from 0 to 80 km with a 10 km increment.

  • Here are plots that show some results of their modeling. The tide gage data are plotted in black and their simulated waves are plotted with red and blue lines.

  • Tide gauge data and model predictions for the eastern and far eastern source models.

    Here is an animation from one of the Ferymueller et al. (2021) models for the 1938 M 8.2 tsunami.

  • Nelson et al. (2015) presented their evidence for prehistoric tsunami on Chirikof Island, an island in the forearc in the eastern part of the 1938 earthquake slip patch.
  • They found evidence for many tsunami over a timespan from before 5000 years ago.
  • Below are some figures from their paper, with figure captions in blockquote.
  • This figure shows the tectonic setting and the area of their field study.

  • A) Location of Chirikof Island within the plate tectonic setting of the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Rupture areas for great twentieth century earthquakes on the megathrust are in pink. (B) Velocity field of the Alaska Peninsula and the eastern Aleutian Islands observed by global positioning system (GPS) (Fournier and Freymueller, 2007). Colors show inferred rupture areas for earthquakes in 1788 (green) and 1938 (orange). Both A and B are modified from Witter et al. (2014). The section of the megathrust between Kodiak Island and the Shumagin Islands has been referred to as the Semidi segment (e.g., Shennan et al., 2014b). (C) Physiography of Chirikof Island (Google Earth image, 2012) showing the location of our study area at Southwest Anchorage, a prominent moraine, a fault scarp (facing southeast) that probably records the 1880 earthquake, the New Ranch valley reconnaissance core site, and UNAVCO GPS station AC13 (http:// pbo .unavco .org /station /overview /AC13). In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Chirikof Island was known to native Alutiiq and Russians as Ukamuk Island.

  • Here is a plot that shows the timing for the prehistoric tsunami inferred by these authors. The vertical axis is the time scale, with “today” at the top. Each colored pattern represents the age range for a tsunami deposit.
  • These data are plotted left to right, west to east, so we can compare tsunami records at different locations along the margin. These comparisons are important so that we can test different hypotheses about how subduciton faults may slip over time. In the 2021 case, the slip area was close to the 1938 earthquake. But, did has this always occured here?

  • Age probability distributions for probable (red) and possible (orange) tsunami deposits at Southwest Anchorage (labels as in Fig. 11) compared with age distributions for possible tsunami deposits at Sitkinak Island (Briggs et al., 2014a) and with age estimates for great earthquakes and tsunamis on Kodiak Island (from studies referenced on this figure;
    Fig. 1). Dotted horizontal lines show our correlation of evidence for some younger earthquakes and tsunamis. Times of great earthquakes inferred from episodes of village abandonment determined from archaeological stratigraphy in the eastern Alaska-Aleutian megathrust region are also shown (Hutchinson and Crowell, 2007).

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in alaska, earthquake, geology, pacific, plate tectonics, subduction, tsunami

Earthquake Report: Central China – Tibetan Plateau

Wow, we are lucky that a region of central China is sparsely populated because this M 7.3 earthquake could have caused many more to suffer.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us7000e54r/executive

Tectonic Background

Central China here, part of the Tibetan Plateau, is dominated by the plate tectonics and climate.

To the south is the India plate that is moving northwards, pummeling into the southern part of the Eurasia plate, at a rate of about 25 to 50 mm per year, depending upon the reference frame (Pusok and Stegman, 2020). The India plate began moving northward from Antarctica since before 80 million years ago.

The details of the story has changed as more geological information is interpreted. But the general story is that the India plate moved away from Antarctica as an oceanic spreading center formed between these plates. The India plate moved towards Asia.

Prior to about 45-50 Ma, there was oceanic crust between India and Eurasia. But at this time, the continental crust of the India and Eurasia plates collided. This collision would eventually cause uplift of the Himalaya mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau to the north of the Himalaya.

There are marine fossils on the top of the mountains in the Himalaya! (this is how we know there was ocean between these plates in the past)

Here is a time series showing the convergence of these two plates modified from Pusok & Stegman (2020) and the USGS.


A part of the tectonic story is told by one of the rock stars of plate tectonics, Dr. Paul Tapponier. Tapponier conducted experiments that showed how north-south convergence, like that of India and Asia, coupled with a backstop (something that is more difficult to move) from the west, would lead to some crust to squish out to the east.

This is called extrusion tectonics as the crust of eastern Asia is being extruded to the east, like a watermelon seed is extruded from between one’s fingers when they squeeze on the wet seed.

Below is a color version of the results from Tapponier’s experiment. Compare this with maps showing the GPS motion of the crust in this region.


Note that the plastic has numerous faults develop as part of the extrusion. We can see how the blue and yellow lines show lateral offset along these faults.

Many of these faults are left-lateral strike-slip faults. Strike-slip means that the curst moves side-by-side when looking down on the crust from outer space (or an airplane, or Google Earth).

Left-lateral means that, when standing on one side of the fault, looking across the fault at something, that thin one is looking at is moving to the left during an earthquake. More about tectonic fundamentals here.

In the map on the right ^^^ we can see that these left-lateral strike-slip faults that are mapped in the region are just like the faults in the blue-yellow plastic.

One of the major left-lateral strike-slip faults along the Tibetan Plateau is the Kunlun fault, which has been well studied in places. A tectonic history of the region, and how the Kunlun fault fits into this history, is presented by Staisch et al., 2020.

Earthquake!

The earthquake yesterday was a magnitude M 7.3 earthquake that happened along the Kunlun fault system. The earthquake mechanism is that of an oblique strike-slip fault. Earthquake mechanisms (focal mechanisms or moment tensors) are derived from seismic wave data surrounding the earthquake.

These mechanisms are visual depictions of the orientation of the fault that slipped and there are always two possible fault planes shown on these mechanisms (also called beach balls).

Without additional information, we don’t know which potential fault plane is the correct one. Because the mapped faults in the region are left-lateral strike-slip faults, and the mechanism is oriented (relative to north) to these fault lines, one can use these faults as a basis to interpret which fault is the correct fault on the mechanism and the type of earthquake that happened. Which type of earthquake do you think slipped yesterday?

I interpret (as have many others) that this M 7.3 was a left-lateral strike-slip earthquake. There is a splay fault off the Kunlun fault system called the Maduo Grande fault (e.g. Chen Xia et al., 2011).

The aftershocks align with this mapped fault, supporting my interpretation. The fault is mapped for about 150 km and the aftershocks span about 160 km. Using Wells and Coppersmith empirical fault relations (i.e. using the relations between earthquake fault surface rupture length and earthquake magnitude), we can take the length of the fault that has cut through to the surface to estimate the earthquake magnitude.

Using these relations, taking 150-160 km would produce a M 7.5-7.6 earthquake. This is much larger than an M 7.3. However, the actual surface rupture length is probably less than the span of the aftershocks. regardless, this magnitude and mapped fault are compatible with each other (the length and the magnitude of the earthquake are a moderate match).

There are probably secondary effects from this M 7.3, like maybe landslides or liquefaction. The epicenter is in a part of the river valley where the river has a braided form. Basically, there is more sediment that the water available to move it. In places like this, there are lots of wetlands and swamps. The waterlogged subsurface can tend to promote liquefaction, so there is a high possibility that evidence of liquefaction will be found. Because this is an arid region, InSAR satellite imagery analysis may reveal evidence of liquefaction (in addition to revealing tectonic deformation).

There may have even been a seiche or tsunami in the nearby lake.

Of note is a M 6.1 earthquake that occurred hundreds of kilometers to the south before the M 7.3. While these two earthquakes are unlikely to be related (because of the distance), it is interesting because they are both evidence supporting the extrusion tectonics interpretation.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1921-2021 with magnitudes M ≥ 7.0.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

  • In the upper left corner is a plate tectonic map that shows the major faults, plates, and plate boundaries. The Gray arrows show the ways the plates are moving (compare with the Extrusion Tectonics figure).
  • Below that tectonic map is the photo of the Tapponier et al. (1982) experiment on the left and a map showing the faults that really exist that match faults from the model.
  • On the right is a diagram that shows the evolution of faulting in the region that are the result of changes in driving forces (e.g. broad scale tectonic plate motions and how their relative motions cause different types of faults at different times; also that these older faults remain and may be reactivated as different types of faults later (Staisch et al., 2020).
  • In the lower left center is a map that has red and blue arrows (Tayler and Lin, 2009). These arrows represent places that are moving as measured by GPS observations. The orientation of the arrow shows the direction the plate is moving relative to “stable” Eurasia (data are from Zhang et al., 2004). I place a yellow star in the location of the M 7.5 epicenter.
  • In the upper left-center there is a map that shows some of the mapping of faults in the area (Chen Xia et al., 2011). The Kunlun fault is the main fault line with a thicker width. I place a yellow star in the location of the M 7.5 epicenter.
  • In the upper right corner are maps that display data from the USGS event page. On the left is the modeled landslide probability for this earthquake. On the right is a map that shows the susceptibility (chance of) liquefaction from this M 7.3 earthquake. The headwaters of the Yellow River feed the lakes to the west of the earthquake and this river valley is where the Maduo Grande fault is mapped.
  • In the lower right corner is a map that shows the earthquake shaking intensity modeled for this earthquake. The colors use the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (MMI), which is listed in the upper right margin (compare the numbers on the map with the data in the table). I also plot the aftershocks here to show how they relate to the mapped fault.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

Global and Regional Tectonic Faults

  • Here is an excellent overview of the faults in the region from Taylor and Yin (2009).
  • I especially like this figure as it helps us understand what the fault patterns mean by looking at the fault types. For example, I thought that the faults in the northwest Tarim Bain would have been strike-slip, but they appear to be predominantly thrust or reverse faults (e.g. the Southern Tian Shan thrust).

  • A color-shaded relief map with active to recently active faults related to the Indo-Asian collision zone and surrounding regions. (The paper lists the sources of their fault data, but are “augmented by our own kinematic interpretations.”)
    Thrust faults have barbs on the upper plate, normal faults have bar and ball on the hanging wall, arrows indicate direction of horizontal motion for strike-slip faults. Dashed white lines are Mesozoic suture zones: IYS—Indus Yalu suture zone; BNS—Bangong Nujiang suture zone; JS—Jinsha suture zone; SSZ—Shyok suture zone; TS—Tanymas suture zone; AMS—Anyimaqen-Kunlun-Muztagh suture zone.

  • Here is the map from ChenXia et al, (2011) that shows the faults in teh area of the M 7.3 earthquake (located near the MD-GD F fault label. See the interpretive poster.

  • Geometric distribution map of the mid-eastern part of the Kunlun Fault [5, 9, 12], Diebu-Wudu Fault and Awancang Fault [12]. Other faults are drawn according to ref. [21], the areal geological map with scale 1:200000 [20] and interpretation of ETM satellite imagery. Topography is generated from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data (http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/SELECTION/ listImages.asp). HDSW, Huaideshuiwai; ELS F, Elashan Fault; RYS F, Riyueshan Fault; LT-TC F, Lintan-Tanchang Fault; DB-WD F, Diebu-Wudu Fault; TZ F, Tazang Fault; MD-GDF, Maduo-Gande Fault; MDSF, the southern Maduo Fault; Dari F, Dari Fault; LRB F, Longriba Fault; MJ F, Minjiang Fault; XGZ, Xigongzhou; TZ, Tazang.

  • Here is a map that shows some earthquake mechanisms (centroid moment tensors) for earthquakes from 1977 to 2009 (Taylor and Yin, 2009).
  • Compare this map with the one above and the mechanisms match pretty well with the types of faults mapped in the above map.

  • Color-shaded relief map overlain with Harvard centroid moment tensor (CMT) earthquake focal mechanisms from 1 January 1977 to 1 January 2009 and background seismicity from Engdahl and Villasenor (2002) with events >M5.5 for both data sets. Green, purple, and light-blue earthquake focal mechanisms are locations of 2008 western Kunlun, Nima, and Wenchuan events, respectively.

  • Here is a map from Zhu et al. (2019) that shows the slip rates for some of the faults. Paleoseismologists (geologists who study the prehistoric record of earthquakes) dig holes into the Earth to excavate and expose earthquake faults. They are in search of evidence of past earthquakes, generally in the form of discrete offsets of geologic materials (like rocks, soils, and other stuff).
  • The timing of earthquakes can be interpreted and numerical ages (like radiocarbon ages) can be used as a basis for this timing. If there are ways to measure how much the fault is offset during these earthquakes, the distance and time information can be used to calculate a “slip rate” for the fault
  • The slip rate tells us how fast the fault slips over time. The map below shows the slip rates calculated from these studies. Also, geologists can take older geologic units, measure the offset of these units, and calculate a long term geologic slip rate. The map below presents long term geologic slip rates.
  • For example, The Kunlun fault (the thick red line) has a slip rate of 10+-1.05 mm per year near the 2001 M 8.1 earthquake (labeled M 7.8 on the interpretive poster).

  • Structural background of the East Kunlun Fault, seismic activity, and long-term geologic slip rate.

  • Dr. Lydia Staisch and her colleagues (Staisch et al., 2020) use geologic and fault mapping to interpret the tectonic geologic history of this region of central Asia. The next few figures walk us through this story, but read their paper for more information. I will try to update these figures with better quality versions when i get a good copy of the paper (this one is from sci-hub).
  • This first map shows their interpretation of when each fault system had initiated through time.

  • Map of major active strike-slip and normal faults in the Tibetan Plateau, adapted from Styron et al. (2010) and Fu et al. (2011). The estimated initiation age of each fault system is denoted, along with abbreviated names. Abbreviations for strike-slip faults are as follows; cKF: central Kunlun Fault, eKF: east Kunlun Fault , wKF: west Kunlun Fault, wHF: west Haiyuan Fault, EF: Elashan Fault, RF: Riyueshan Fault, ATF: Altyn Tagh Fault, JF: Jiali Fault, RRF: Red River Fault; KF: Karakoram Fault, XF: Xianshuihe Fault, RCF: Riganpei Co Fault, GCF: Gyaring Co Fault, BCFS: Bue Co Fault System. Abbreviations for normal faults are as follows; TG: Thakkola Graben, ADR: Ama Drime Rift, KCR: Kung Co Rift, GMR: Gurla Mandhata Rift, RG: Ringbung Graben, YR: Yadong Rift, LR: Lunggar Rift, NR: Nyainqentanghlah Rift, LKR: Lopukangri Rift, TYCR: Tangra Yum Co Rift, PXR: Pumqu-Xainza Rift, GR: Gulu Rift, SHG: Shuang Hu Graben.

  • Here is their low-angle oblique view of the cut-away view (cross-section) of the fault bound tectonic blocks in the region of the Dongdatan Valley (a valley formed by the Kunlun fault system).
  • In the Late Triassic, the dominant tectonic forcing was North-South shortening.
  • Over time, the tectonic forcing shifted to include lateral motion (i.e. strike-slip faulting) in the Miocene.

  • Schematic block diagrams showing the evolution of deformation within the Dongdatan Valley. (A) Field observations of Permian carbonates thrust over Triassic metapelites and regional dating of plutons and metamorphic cooling episodes (Mock et al., 1999; Liu et al., 2005; Wu et al., 2019) suggest that the East Kunlun Shan experienced late Triassic north-south oriented compression from the northward accretion of the Qiangtang block. (B) North-south compression may have been reactivated during Jurassic – Cretaceous accretion of the Lhasa block based on the timing of Yangqu Group deposition and a separate regional cooling event documented in the West and East Kunlun Shan (Liu et al., 2005; Li et al., 2019). Permian marbles and Triassic metapelites were exposed at the time of Yangqu deposition. (C) Late Cretaceous to Eocene shortening from collision between India and Eurasia resulted in thrust faulting along the Wenquan Hu thrust fault and burial of terrestrial strata in the footwall. Shortening and exhumation may have continued elsewhere in the East Kunlun Shan into late Eocene time, but ceased along the Wenquan Hu thrust fault by 43 Ma. (D) East-west oriented strike-slip faulting locally causes exhumation and erosion. Thermochronologic modeling suggest that strike-slip faulting initiated by ~20 Ma. Miocene – present strike-slip faulting results in basin subsidence in the East Wenquan basin, deposition of terrestrial strata, and juxtaposition of Jurassic – Cretaceous and Cenozoic strata.

  • Here they present a more detailed cross section of the region through time.

  • Schematic orogen-scale cross section of the geodynamic evolution of the Tibetan Plateau. (a) The onset of crustal shortening and thickening in northern Tibet soon after the Indo-Asian collision continued into late Oligocene time with moderate elevation gain. (b) Shortening in northern Tibet continues as a southward sweep of magmatism suggests the onset of slab rollback in southern Tibet. (c) Shortening ceases within the Hoh Xil Basin by 27 Ma and likely by 24 Ma in the East Kunlun Shan. Surface uplift may have continued due to crustal thickening via lower crustal flow in northern Tibet. Continued slab rollback may have destabilized the northern Tibetan mantle root by removing is southern buttress. (d) The onset of strike-slip faulting in the East Kunlun Shan between 23 and 20 Ma is coincident with proposed slab breakoff and elevation gain in southern Tibet, and proposed mantle root loss, surface uplift and increased magmatism within the northern Tibet. (e) After 20 Ma, strike-slip and normal faulting expanded throughout the Tibetan Plateau, coincident with the proposed onset of eastward-directed lower crustal flow.

  • This is an excellent figure that shows how Haibing et al. (2005) used fluvial geomorphologic features (shapes in the landscape formed by fluvial or other physical processes) to derive slip rates.
  • Basically, there are features in the landscape that are formed over time and their formation is abandoned at some time. Also, these “geomorphic” features (like river banks) can be offset by the earthquake fault during earthquakes.
  • If we know something about the age of a feature (when it was abandoned or when it was formed) and we know the amount that feature was offset during an earthquake, we can calculate the slip rate of that fault. The more slip rate calculations that can be made provides us with knowledge about how the slip rate can vary through time.
  • This figure shows a Satellite image of an area with the Kunlun fault curring through river banks. Can you see the fault? Hint, the river banks are on the left and are generally running north-south. The fault cuts across these river banks (and other features)
  • The lower part of the figure is their interpretation of these features and the ages of them. Harkins et al. (2010) has an excellent compilation of similar features for the eastern Kunlun fault.

  • (A) Enlarged Ikonos image of eastern part of Hongshui Gou confluence with (B) corresponding geomorphic field map, showing different terrace levels offset by the Kunlun fault. Black dots indicate locations of sampling pits for thermo-luminescence dating on T2 and T3, with corresponding ages

  • Here Haibing et al. (2005) present the results from their analysis (offsets at different times) and these data all support an interpretation of 10 mm per year of slip on the western Kunlun fault.

  • (A) Enlarged Ikonos image of eastern part of Hongshui Gou confluence with (B) corresponding geomorphic field map, showing different terrace levels offset by the Kunlun fault. Black dots indicate locations of sampling pits for thermo-luminescence dating on T2 and T3, with corresponding ages

Geodetic Analyses

  • Geodesy is the study of the motion of the Earth. The data used to measure how the Earth moves can be from GPS data, tide gage data, benchmark surveys, and satellite remote sensing data (e.g. InSAR, LiDAR, etc.). The motion can be partitioned into different directions (e.g. horizontal, vertical, and rotational).
  • The maps below are from Taylor and Yin (2009, lower map) and Zhang et al. (2004, upper map) shows the velocity (speed) of locations where GPS locations (positions) have been collected over a period of time (probably decades). The arrows called vectors represent the direction of motion and the rate of motion (speed or velocity). The GPS sites are where the dots are and the uncertainty (sometimes called error) of the velocity calculation is represented by the ellipse at the tip of the arrow.
  • These arrows represent motion relative to stable Eurasia. So, arrows that are pointing to the north tell us that that GPS site is moving north relative to Eurasia. Unfortunately there is no scale, but based on the Zhang et al. (2004) paper (also shown below), the most southwest GPS site (in India) has a velocity of about 25 mm per year (mm/yr)
  • We can make some simple observations and interpretations from these data. Look at the lower map with the red and blue arrows (vectors).
    1. GPS sites in northern India (in the lower left (southwest) part of the map) show that this region is moving north-northeast relative to Eurasia. This matches the long term motion of the India plate we discussed in the introduction to this report above.
    2. GPS sites in the Tian Basin (the low, green colored area in the central upper left (northwest) part of the map) are also moving north relative to Asia. However, they are moving to the north more slowly than the sites in India
    3. Because the GPS sites (and the crust in that location) are moving slower in the north, north of the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau. This tells us that the crust is slowing down between India and the Tarim Basin. Why is this?
    4. The crust is slowing down because the crust is deforming, either elastically where the deformation of the crust buldges up or flexes sideways, or anelastically where the deformation is accommodated by fault slip on tectonic compressional faults (e.g. reverse or thrust faults).
    5. Note how these GPS plate motion vectors (the red and blue arrows) change whether they are slightly to the east or slightly to the west of North. In northeast India, the motion is slightly to the northeast and in the Tarim Basin some of them are moving slightly to the west. If this difference is larger than the error ellipses, it would tell us that the crust may also be experiencing changes in lateral motion through this region. This type of lateral motion may be accommodated by strike-slip faults (see the arrow shaped figure from Taylor and Yin (2009) below).


  • Caption from Zhang et al., 2004)
  • Global positioning system (GPS) velocities (mm/yr) in and around Tibetan Plateau with respect to stable Eurasia, plotted on shaded relief map using oblique Mercator projection. Ellipses denote 1s errors. Blue polygons show locations of GPS velocity profiles in Figures 3 and DR1 (see footnote 1). Dashed yellow polygons show regions that we used to calculate dilatational strain rates. Yellow numbers 1–7 represent regions of Himalaya, Altyn Tagh, Qilian Shan, Qaidam Basin, Longmen Shan, Tibet, and Sichuan and Yunnan, respectively.

  • Caption from Taylor and Yin (2009), Figure 4 is the arrow shaped figure below.
  • Color-shaded relief map of the Indo-Asian collision zone with global positioning system (GPS) velocities (arrows) from the Zhang et al. (2004) compilation. Blue arrows indicate data used in Figure 4A and line indicates data used in Figure 4B.

  • Here is the cross section of the India-Eurasia plate convergence through time from Pusok and Stegman (2020) shown above. They use numerical modeling of the mantle convection to try to interpret the data presented in this cross section.

  • Proposed convergence history between India and Eurasia. (A) Schematic diagram for the evolution of Neo-Tethys Ocean as a sequence of stages with approximate times for important events. (B) Hypothesized convergence rate versus age, with numbered segments corresponding to stages in (A), superimposed on the relative plate motions between India-Africa and India-Antarctica (dotted blue and green lines, respectively) (4).

  • Here Pusock and Stegman (2020) present the long term geodetic data (geologic rates) and compare the results of their modeling with these source data.

  • India-Eurasia convergence data and results of numerical models. (A) Observed spreading rates versus age for the CIR (black lines) and SEIR (gray lines). Solid lines use the geomagnetic polarity time scale GTS04 and a three-plate algorithm to calculate Euler rotations (2, 4), while dotted lines use the GTS12 time scale and a two-plate rotation algorithm (17). Blue line shows computed convergence rate between the left plate and the overriding plate in the reference model (ConvIndia35). Colored markers correspond to model snapshots in Fig. 3. (B) Speedup over time: Observational data are scaled to a velocity of 70 mm/year, representative of the present-day global subduction. Numerical data (blue line) are scaled to velocities in single subduction experiments (ConvIndia31). (C) Convergence velocity versus the DSF (see Materials and Methods and the Supplementary Materials) for all simulations. Time-averaged values given for single subduction (black), periods of plume push (white), and periods of free double subduction (blue) including reference model (red). Maximum/minimum values during model evolution shown with gray bars. (D) Speedup versus the DSF for all numerical simulations [colors same as (C)]. Least-squares fit (dashed lines) for periods of forced convergence (white markers) and periods of free double subduction (blue markers).

  • Here Pusok and Stegman (2020) present the details from their numerical modeling. What do you think about this?

  • Time evolution of the reference model ConvIndia35. The system is composed of three plates representing India (left plate), an intraoceanic plate (middle plate), and Eurasia (overriding plate). This model was performed with plume-like influx boundary conditions imposed for 9 Ma (Influx BC06) and a mantle density and viscosity profile (25, RLLB15-Mean_norm; see details in Materials and Methods and the Supplementary Materials). Frames correspond to colored markers in Fig. 2A, and full-time evolution is available in movie S1. The dynamic pressure (background field) indicates when each regime dominates. (A) During the plume push regime, the entire system is dominated by the influx velocity, seen by positive dynamic pressures throughout the domain. (B) During the double subduction regime, the mantle flow and plate convergence are dominated by interaction between the two slabs, as indicated by pressure increasing within the region confined between them. Changes in driving forces are also seen by the mantle velocity field (uniformly spaced arrows). The influx boundary conditions, which mimic the stages of a plume push, gradual arrival (1), peak activity (2), and decline (3), are sufficient to initiate a secondary subduction at a weak zone. As the plume push force wanes, the secondary subduction becomes self-sustaining, transitioning the system into a double subduction–driven system (4). The pull from both slabs drives fast convergence and then slows when the middle plate is consumed during arc-continent collision (5) and continental collision (6). Relative motion between the red markers is used to calculate convergence rates.

  • Here is a map that shows the Zhang et al. (2004) interpretation of how the GPS motion is accommodated in different areas.

  • Simplified tectonic map showing active faults and movements of Tibetan Plateau and its margins constrained by global positioning system measurements. Numbers are rates of movement (mm/yr). Map covers same region as Figure 1. Bold black lines show active faults. Bold purple arrows indicate N208E shortening across interior of plateau. Blue arrows indicate shortening perpendicular to margins of plateau. Green arrows indicate extension in western and central Tibet. Red arrows indicate strikeslip faulting. Open black arrows denote relative motion with respect to stable Eurasia. Colored numbers show respective amounts

  • Here Zhang et al (2004) show how they interpret these GPS data to be accommodated along strike-slip fault systems.

  • Components velocities of global positioning system (GPS) control points along profiles perpendicular to northeastern and eastern margins of Tibet with respect to stable Eurasia. A: Velocity components parallel to N208E vs. distance (in km) from south to north (left to right) along each of four profiles in Figure 1. Blue—profile A-A9, red— B-B9, green—C-C9, and orange—D-D9. Squares show GPS stations on Indian plate; triangles— within Himalaya; diamonds— in interior of Tibetan Plateau; stars— in Qaidam and Qilian Shan; dots—in Tarim or Gobi Alashan regions north of Tibetan Plateau. B: Velocity components parallel to N1108E at stations between 31.58N and 348N and between 798E and 1008E (profile E- 9). Yellow bars denote ranges of velocity measurements. C: Velocity components normal to N208E, inferred India-Eurasia relative motion. Symbols as in A. Curves of different colors sketch approximately eastward flow of each respective profile. D: N108E trending profile orthogonal to Kunlun fault showing components of east-west motion (profile FF9,
    Fig. 1). Yellow bars mark range of measurement (~1 standard deviation). Thick red line marks Kunlun fault. Red arrows denote locations of other active faults within this ~400 km zone.

  • This is the Taylor and Yin (2009) plot that shows their interpretation of the GPS data.
  • Note how they further note that the strike-slip relative motion can be seen as right-lateral in the south and left-lateral in the north.

  • Zhu et al. (2019) attempted to use GPS data to model the faults to see where they are accumulating tectonic strain. This map shows how they separated the Earth into different rigid tectonic blocks.

  • Observed crustal deformation and optimal inversion values. a The fit conditions of the 1999–2013 GPS data. The three inserts are the frequency distributions of north–south and east–west residuals, respectively. Black arrows are observed values, and blue arrows are fitted GPS values. b The location of leveling profile. EP, WP, and MP indicate the best fit of 1970–2013 long-term leveling data. Blue dots show the original observed leveling data, and red dots are fit data from west to east along the three leveling lines. c, d The best fit velocity of 2013–2015 and 2015–2017 GPS data, respectively

  • Here is a result from Zhu et al. (2019) that shows their estimate of the slip rate on the East Kunlun fault. This is based on an “inversion” of the GPS data along with their block model.
  • Their paper includes additional analyses to incorporate knowledge about earthquakes that happened during the time GPS data had been recorded.

  • Slip velocities along the East Kunlun Fault calculated using 1999–2013 GPS velocity data. The 3D drawings represent the results obtained using the inversion strategy proposed in this paper. P1–P4 are the long-term slip velocities and locking depths calculated using the arc tangent method (Savage and Burford 1973). In P1–P4, the blue curves are the fitted curves. The red dots are the observed slip rates parallel to the fault (including errors)

  • Kirby et al. (2007) use GPS velocities to also interpret strike-slip motion through the region.
  • The upper map shows the source data for cross sections of those data in the lower plots. Note that there is abundant evidence for strike-slip shear in the western cross sections, but this appears to diminish to the east. Do you agree with this interpretation?

  • Geodetic velocities across the Kunlun fault. (a) Map of velocity vectors relative to a stable Eurasian reference frame. Data compiled from Shen et al. [2005] and Zhang et al. [2004]. (b–d) Fault-parallel velocities (110 azimuth) in transects located across the central portion of the fault (Figure 6b), the eastern fault tip (Figure 6c), and the Tazang
    fault (Figure 6d). Solid lines represent velocities predicted from a dislocation model in an elastic half-space with a locking depth of 15 km and serve to illustrate the range of reasonable slip rates permitted by the data. Position of Kunlun fault shown as vertical line.

  • Here Kirby et al. (2007) compare their results with the slip-rate estimates from other studies.

  • Compilation of slip rate estimates and recent seismicity along the Kunlun fault. Open and shaded boxes represent slip rate estimates from previous studies, dark circles new slip rates presented in this work, and heavy vertical lines represent the allowable range of slip rates from geodetic velocities. The lateral extent of previous ruptures along the Kunlun fault are depicted for earthquakes in 1937 [Li et al., 2005; Tapponnier and Molnar, 1977] and 1963 [Tapponnier and Molnar, 1977] and for the 2001 Kokoxili event [Lin et al., 2002; Van der Woerd et al., 2002a]. Note that slip rates (gray shading) decrease markedly toward the eastern tip of the fault, coincident with an absence of historic seismicity and imply strain accumulation in the surrounding Tibetan Plateau.

InSAR Analyses (stay tuned for more)

Shaking Intensity and Potential for Ground Failure

  • Below are a series of maps that show the shaking intensity and potential for landslides and liquefaction. These are all USGS data products.
  • There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). The ratio of resisting forces to driving forces is called the Factor of Safety (FOS). We can write this ratio like this:

    FOS = Resisting Force / Driving Force

    When FOS > 1, the slope is stable and when FOS < 1, the slope fails and we get a landslide. The illustration below shows these relations. Note how the slope angle α can take part in this ratio (the steeper the slope, the greater impact of the mass of the slope can contribute to driving forces). The real world is more complicated than the simplified illustration below.


    Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.

    Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.

    An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.

    Below is a diagram showing how an increase in pore pressure can push against the sediment particles so that they are not touching any more. This allows the particles to move around and this is why our feet sink in the sand in the analogy above. This is also what changes the strength of earth materials such that a landslide can be triggered.


    Below is a diagram based upon a publication designed to educate the public about landslides and the processes that trigger them (USGS, 2004). Additional background information about landslide types can be found in Highland et al. (2008). There was a variety of landslide types that can be observed surrounding the earthquake region. So, this illustration can help people when they observing the landscape response to the earthquake whether they are using aerial imagery, photos in newspaper or website articles, or videos on social media. Will you be able to locate a landslide scarp or the toe of a landslide? This figure shows a rotational landslide, one where the land rotates along a curvilinear failure surface.


  • Below is the liquefaction susceptibility and landslide probability map (Jessee et al., 2017; Zhu et al., 2017). Please head over to that report for more information about the USGS Ground Failure products (landslides and liquefaction). Basically, earthquakes shake the ground and this ground shaking can cause landslides. We can see that there is a low probability for landslides. However, we have already seen photographic evidence for landslides and the lower limit for earthquake triggered landslides is magnitude M 5.5 (from Keefer 1984)
  • I use the same color scheme that the USGS uses on their website. Note how the areas that are more likely to have experienced earthquake induced liquefaction are in the valleys. Learn more about how the USGS prepares these model results here.

    References:

    Basic & General References

  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
  • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
  • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
  • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
  • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
  • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
  • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
  • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
  • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
  • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
  • Specific References

  • Harkins, N., Kirby, E., Shi, X., Burbank, D., and Chun, F., 2010. Millennial slip rates along the eastern Kunlun fault: Implications for the dynamics of intracontinental deformation in Asia in Lithosphere, v. 2, no. 4, p. 247-266, doi: 10.1130/L85.1
  • Kirby, E., Harkings, N., Wang, E., Shi, X., Fan, C., and Burbank, D., 2007. Slip rate gradients along the eastern Kunlun fault in Tectonics, v. 26, TC2010, doi:10.1029/2006TC002033
  • Pusok, A.E. and Stegman, D.R., 2020. The convergence history of India-Eurasia records multiple subduction dynamics processes in Science Advances, v. 6 : eeaz8681, 8 p., DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8681
  • Staisch, L.M., Niemi, N.A., Clark, M.K., and Hong, C., 2020. The Cenozoic evolution of crustal shortening and left-lateral shear in the central East
    Kunlun Shan: implications for the uplift history of the Tibetan Plateau in Tectonics, v. 39, no. 9, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020TC006065
  • Tapponier, P., Peltzer, G., Le Dain, A.Y., Armijo, R., and Cobbold, P., 1982. Propagating extrusion tectonics in Asia: New insights from simple experiments with plasticine in Geology, v. 10, p. 611-616, doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(1982)10<611:PETIAN>2.0.CO;2
  • Taylor, M. and Yin, A., 2009. Active structures of the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen and their relationships to earthquake distribution, contemporary strain field, and Cenozoic volcanism in Geosphere, v. 5, no. 3, doi: 10.1130/GES00217.1
  • Zhang, P-Z., Shen, Z., Wang, M., Gan, W., Bürgmann, R., Molnar, P., Wang, Q., Niu, Z., Sun, J., Wu, J., Hanrong, S., Xinzhao, Y, 2004. Continuous deformation of the Tibetan Plateau from global positioning system data in Geology, v. 23, no. 9, p. 809-812, https://doi.org/10.1130/G20554.1

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Earthquake Report: Tōhoku-oki Earthquake Ten Years Later

This year we look back and remember what happened ten years ago in Japan and across the entire Pacific Basin.

There are numerous web experiences focused on this type of reflection. Here is a short list, some of which I have been involved in.

I have several reports from previous years that have reviews of the earthquake and tsunami.

I focus mostly on new material I prepared for the following report.

Updated Interpretive Poster

  • I plot the seismicity from the year after the M 9.1, as well as large events from the past century, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend).
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures.

  • In the upper left corner is a small scale plate tectonic map showing the plate boundary faults with the magnetic anomalies overlain in transparency. There is an inset low angle oblique illustrative map showing how these plates interact in the subsurface (Lin et al., 2016).
  • In the lower right corner is a map that shows a comparison between the USGS modeled earthquake intensity and the USGS Did You Feel It? observations. These data are also included in a web map lower down in this update.
  • To the left of the intensity map are two tide gage plots that show a tsunami record. The upper plot is from Crescent City, California. The lower plot is from Naha, a location southwest of the earthquake, labeled on tectonic map. These and other tide gage records are viewable in the tide gage web map below.
  • In the upper right corner are two maps displaying the results from ground failure models from the USGS. The map on the left shows the potential for landslides triggered by the M 9.1 earthquake. The map on the right shows the chance that an area may have experienced liquefaction. These are included in a web map below.
  • Here is the map with a year’s and century’s seismicity plotted.

Seismicity

Web Map

Use this map to see the magnitudes of different earthquakes experienced in Japan. The map shows earthquake epicenters for large-magnitude historic events of the past century. It also includes epicenters for all aftershocks and triggered earthquakes for a year after the M 9.1 earthquake, and an outline of the aftershocks, which illustrates the area of the fault that slipped during the M 9.1 earthquake.

  • If you want to see this map in a larger window, click here.

Earthquake Intensity

Earthquake intensity is a measure of how strongly earthquake shaking is felt by people and objects. The further away from the epicenter, the lower the earthquake intensity. Seismologists use computer models to estimate what the intensity will be from an earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey uses its “Did You Feel It?” (DYFI) system to collect observations about how strongly people in different places felt an earthquake.

  • Here is a figure that shows a more comparison between the modeled intensity and the reported intensity. Both data use the same color scale, the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI). More about this can be found here. The colors and contours on the map are results from the USGS modeled intensity. The DYFI data are plotted as colored dots (color = MMI, diameter = number of reports).
  • The 3 panels, from left to right, show the USGS Shakemap (the model estimate), the DYFI reports, and an overlay comparing both of these data.

Web Map

Use this map to see the level of intensity people felt in different parts of Japan. The map displays the USGS intensity model for the M 9.1 earthquake as transparent colors. The map also shows, as colored circles, the “Did You Feel It?” report results from people who experienced shaking from this earthquake.

  • If you want to see this map in a larger window, click here.

Tsunami

Tsunami can be caused by a variety of processes, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and meteorological phenomena. Earthquakes, eruptions, and landslides cause tsunami when these processes displace water in some way. We may typically associate tsunami with subduction zone earthquakes because these earthquakes are the type that generate vertical land motion along the sea floor.

  • Here is a great illustration of how a subduction zone earthquake can generate a tsunami (Atwater et al., 2005).


We think that the earthquake slipped at least 50 meters (165 feet) during several minutes. This is the largest coseismic measurement of any subduction zone earthquake (so far).

When the fault slipped, it caused the seafloor to deform and move. This motion also displaced the overlying water column.

As the water column is elevated, it gains potential energy. As this uplifted water expends this energy by oscillating up and down, it radiates energy in the form of tsunami waves.

Tsunami were observed across the entire Pacific Basin, causing extensive damage and casualties in Japan, but also in other places too. There was about $100 million damage to coastal infrastructure in California alone.

This is an animated model of the Great East Japan tsunami of ten years ago. The warmer the colors, the larger the wave. The first surges reached the closest Japan coasts in about 25 minutes. The first surges reached Crescent City in 9.5 hours. (modified text from Dr. Lori Dengler)

This is the same map used as an overlay in the web map below.

    Here is the tide gage record from Crescent City, California, USA.

    Time is represented by the horizontal axis and elevation is represented on the vertical axis. The darker blue line in this image represents NOAA’s tidal forecast. The data recorded by the tide gage are represented by the light blue colored lines. Wave height is the distance measured between the wave crest and trough. Wave amplitude is the level of water above sea level.

    Some of these data came from the IOC sea level monitoring website.


Web Map

Use this map to see tsunami wave data as recorded by tide gages across the entire Pacific Basin. Click on a white triangle and there is a link to open the tide gage data as a graphic.

There is an overlay of color that represents the size of the tsunami as it travelled across the ocean. Learn more about these data here.

  • If you want to see this map in a larger window, click here.

Ground Failure

  • Below are a series of maps that show the shaking intensity and potential for landslides and liquefaction. These are all USGS data products.
  • There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). The ratio of resisting forces to driving forces is called the Factor of Safety (FOS). We can write this ratio like this:

    FOS = Resisting Force / Driving Force

    When FOS > 1, the slope is stable and when FOS < 1, the slope fails and we get a landslide. The illustration below shows these relations. Note how the slope angle α can take part in this ratio (the steeper the slope, the greater impact of the mass of the slope can contribute to driving forces). The real world is more complicated than the simplified illustration below.


    Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.

    Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.

    An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.

    Below is a diagram showing how an increase in pore pressure can push against the sediment particles so that they are not touching any more. This allows the particles to move around and this is why our feet sink in the sand in the analogy above. This is also what changes the strength of earth materials such that a landslide can be triggered.


    Below is a diagram based upon a publication designed to educate the public about landslides and the processes that trigger them (USGS, 2004). Additional background information about landslide types can be found in Highland et al. (2008). There was a variety of landslide types that can be observed surrounding the earthquake region. So, this illustration can help people when they observing the landscape response to the earthquake whether they are using aerial imagery, photos in newspaper or website articles, or videos on social media. Will you be able to locate a landslide scarp or the toe of a landslide? This figure shows a rotational landslide, one where the land rotates along a curvilinear failure surface.


  • Below is the liquefaction susceptibility and landslide probability map (Jessee et al., 2017; Zhu et al., 2017). Please head over to that report for more information about the USGS Ground Failure products (landslides and liquefaction). Basically, earthquakes shake the ground and this ground shaking can cause landslides. We can see that there is a low probability for landslides. However, we have already seen photographic evidence for landslides and the lower limit for earthquake triggered landslides is magnitude M 5.5 (from Keefer 1984)
  • I use the same color scheme that the USGS uses on their website. Note how the areas that are more likely to have experienced earthquake induced liquefaction are in the valleys. Learn more about how the USGS prepares these model results here.

    Use this map to see the magnitudes of different earthquakes experienced in Japan. The map shows earthquake epicenters for large-magnitude historic events of the past century. It also includes epicenters for all aftershocks and triggered earthquakes for a year after the M 9.1 earthquake, and an outline of the aftershocks, which illustrates the area of the fault that slipped during the M9.1 earthquake.

Web Map

  • If you want to see this map in a larger window, click here.

    References:

    Basic & General References

  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
  • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
  • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
  • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
  • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
  • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
  • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
  • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
  • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
  • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
  • Specific References

  • Ammon et al., 2011. A rupture model of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku Earthquake in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 693-696.
  • Fujitsu et al., 2011
  • Gusman et al., 2012. Source model of the great 2011 Tohoku earthquake estimated from tsunami waveforms and crustal deformation data in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 341-344, p. 234-242.
  • Hirose et al., 2011. Outline of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake (Mw 9.0) Seismicity: foreshocks, mainshock, aftershocks, and induced activity in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 655-658
  • Iinuma et al., 2012. Coseismic slip distribution of the 2011 off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake (M9.0) refined by means of seafloor geodetic data in Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 117, DOI: 10.1029/2012JB009186
  • Ikuta et al., 2012. A small persistent locked area associated with the 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, deduced from GPS data in Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 117, DOI: 10.1029/2012JB009335
  • Ito et al., 2011. Slip distribution of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake inferred from geodetic data in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 627-630
  • Koper et al., 2011. Frequency-dependent rupture process of the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake: Comparison of short-period P wave back projection images and broadband seismic rupture models in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 599-602.
  • Kosuga et al, 2011. Seismic activity around the northern neighbor of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake with emphasis on a potentially large aftershock in the area in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 719-723.
  • Lay et al., 2011 a. The 2011 Mw 9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake: Comparison of deep-water tsunami signals with finite-fault rupture model predictions in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 797-801.
  • Lay et al., 2011 b. Possible large near-trench slip during the 2011 Mw 9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 687-692.
  • Lay et al., 2011 c. Outer trench-slope faulting and the 2011 Mw 9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 713-718.
  • Lee et al., 2011. Evidence of large scale repeating slip during the 2011 Tohoku‐Oki earthquake in Geophysical Research Letters, v. 38, DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049580.
  • Newman et al., 2011. Hidden depths in Nature, v. 474, p. 441-443.
  • Nishimura et al., 2011. The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake and its aftershocks observed by GEONET in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 631-636.
  • Orzawa et al., 2011. Coseismic and postseismic slip of the 2011 magnitude-9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake in Nature, v. 000, p. 1-4.
  • Satake et al., 2013. Time and Space Distribution of Coseismic Slip of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake as Inferred from Tsunami Waveform Data in Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 1032, p. 1473-1492.
  • Shao et al., 2011. Focal mechanism and slip history of the 2011 Mw 9.1 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake, constrained with teleseismic body and surface waves in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 559-564.
  • Simons et al., 2011. The 2011 Magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake: Mosaicking the Megathrust from Seconds to Centuries in Science, v. 332, p. 1421-1425.
  • Terakawa et al., 2013. Changes in seismic activity following the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake: Effects of pore fluid pressure in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 365, p. 17-24.
  • Toda et al., 2011. Using the 2011 Mw 9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake to test the Coulomb stress triggering hypothesis and to calculate faults brought closer to failure in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 725-730.
  • Uchida and Matsuzawa, 2011. Coupling coefficient, hierarchical structure, and earthquake cycle for the source area of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake inferred from small repeating earthquake data in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 675-679.
  • Wang et al., 2013. The 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake: Comparison of GPS and Strong-Motion Data in Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 103, p. 1336-1347.
  • Yagi and Fukahata, 2011. Rupture process of the 2011 Tohoku‐oki earthquake and absolute elastic strain release in Geophysical Research Letters, v. 38, DOI: 10.1029/2011GL048701
  • Yamazaki et al., 2011. Modeling near‐field tsunami observations to improve finite‐fault slip models for the 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Geophysical Research Letter,s v. 38, DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049130
  • Yomogida et al., 2011. Along-dip segmentation of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake and comparison with other megathrust earthquakes in Earth Planets Space, v. 63, p. 697-701.
  • Yue and Lay, 2013. Source Rupture Models for the Mw 9.0 2011 Tohoku Earthquake from Joint Inversions of High-Rate Geodetic and Seismic Data in Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 103, p. 1242-1255.

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Posted in earthquake, education, geology, landslides, pacific, plate tectonics, subduction, tsunami

Earthquake Report: Croatia!

Yesterday as I was signing into work, my colleague Jackie Bott (a seismologist, seismic hazard/geology mapper, and on my tsunami team at CGS) mentioned the outer rise earthquake offshore of Chile that caused a small tsunami.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us6000d3i9/executive

I checked this out and found a 20 cm wave height tsunami observed on a tide gage directly east of the earthquake epicenter. This was interesting as the earthquake was an “outer rise” event (seaward of the subduction zone trench, where the Nazca plate flexes downward prior to being subducted.

As the plate flexes downward, the upper part of the plate gets stretched and extensional faults can form here (or cause pre-existing faults to be reactivated as extensional/normal faults). For more background about different types of faults, head here: Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

And, this M 6.7 earthquake was a normal fault earthquake (based on the earthquake mechanism). The largest tsunami waves can be generated by landslides or subduction zone faults, but other fault types can generate tsunami too (albeit smaller in size). Interesting indeed (there is more, like it is in a region of a triggered outer rise events following the 1960 M 9.5 Chile earthquake; is this M 6.7 an aftershock?, probably not).

BUT, this earthquake report is about the earthquake in Croatia that Jackie also mentioned in her email. Upon quick review, looking at the USGS PAGER Alert page, I knew that there was a high likelihood for casualties.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us6000d3zh/executive

PAGER provides shaking and loss estimates following significant earthquakes anywhere in the world. These estimates are generally available within 30 minutes and are updated as more information becomes available. Rapid estimates include the number of people and names of cities exposed to each shaking intensity level as well as the likely ranges of fatalities and economic losses.

Yesterday’s M 6.4 is a strike-slip earthquake (look at the earthquake mechanism legend on the top center of the poster) and appears to have slipped along the Petrinja fault. This fault has different names in different papers (which is common), but this name comes from the European Database of Seismogenic Faults.

According to the database, the Petrinja fault is capable of a M 6.5 earthquake.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 3.0 in one version.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

  • In the upper right corner is a map showing the crustal and plate boundary tectonic faults in the eastern Mediterranean region. Note the seismicity (1 century M≥6) dominates the area to the southeast of today’s earthquake.
  • In the lower left corner is the legend. Above the legend is a map from Woudlopper (2009) that shows the Alpide belt in Europe and the Middle East. This “belt” is a convergent plate boundary (plates pushing together) that extends from Australia/Indonesia, through Miyanmar and India, across Iraq and Iran, through Europe, and possibly extending as far as offshore west of Portugal. The tectonics in the eastern Mediterranean is dominated by this north-south oriented compression and how this tectonic strain interacts with existing tectonic structures.
  • In the right center top is a geologic map from Schmid et al. (2019) that shows the main crustal faults and geologic units in the region. These geologic units all reflect the tectonic history of this region.
  • In the center left bottom is a plot that shows earthquake intensity (vertical axis) as it decreases with distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis with the earthquake source at 0km distance). Two types of data are plotted here:
    1. The USGS uses a model that uses seismometer (accelerometer) observations from thousands of earthquakes to estimate the intensity of the earthquake based on its magnitude (generally). The USGS uses the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI)scale. The green and brown lines show the average intensity for models based on earthquakes in the western USA (brown) and the eastern USA (green). These models are used to create the intensity map in the lower right corner.
    2. The USGS has a webpage for each earthquake where people can enter their location and observations. These observations are used to estimate the MMI at the location of the person. These Did You Feel It? results are plotted individually as blue dots and statistically as orange and larger blue dots.
  • In the lower right corner is a map that shows the earthquake intensity as derived from the USGS models. I also placed the Did You Feel It? results as colored dots (some are labeled).
  • In the right middle is a map that shows the liquefaction susceptibility from this earthquake. This is generated from a model that relates earthquake size and the potential for an area to experience liquefaction.
  • In the upper left corner are two maps: seismic hazard and seismic risk. I review this type of information below. I labeled the range in ground shaking (pga) and normalized construction costs (millions of dollars) for the area of the M 6.4 earthquake.
  • Here is the map with a years’ (EMSC) and century’s (USGS) seismicity plotted.

  • Note that there have been very few earthquakes in the past century M≥6. But there are some along the eastern Adriatic Sea that show this to be a region of northeast-southwest oriented compression. The 1979 doublet and 1996 M 6.
  • Also, check out the M 5.3 from earlier this year. This is a thrust (compressional/convergent) fault earthquake that happened on a fault that exists to the north of Zagreb. This region has a complicated tectonic history, but the 5.3 matches the overall north-south convergence of the Alpide belt (the Africa plate moving relatively north and the Eurasia plate moving relatively south).
  • Bewcause these thrust faults are oblique to the relative plate motion, the tectonic strain is partitioned onto different faults. The thrust faults accommodate some of the convergence, while strike-slip faults accommodate other portions of the convergence. This M 6.4 earthquake has accommodated some of the strike-slip motion.

UPDATE: 2021.01.03 Aftershocks and Intensity Comparison.

  • I use the EMSC database to plot aftershocks (1 monthish) for the two earthquakes in central Croatia, the 22 March ’20 M 5.3 near Zagreb and the 29 Dec ’20 M 64 near Petrinja.
  • The locations are aliased (see how they align in rows and columns) due to rounding of the lat long coordinates provided by EMSC (rounded to 1km spacing).
  • Also note the scale on the intensity maps are different.
  • I list the potential magnitudes for the faults from the SHARE fault database.

Other Report Pages

    Shaking Intensity and Potential for Ground Failure

    • Below are a series of maps that show the shaking intensity and potential for landslides and liquefaction. These are all USGS data products.
    • There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). The ratio of resisting forces to driving forces is called the Factor of Safety (FOS). We can write this ratio like this:

      FOS = Resisting Force / Driving Force

      When FOS > 1, the slope is stable and when FOS < 1, the slope fails and we get a landslide. The illustration below shows these relations. Note how the slope angle α can take part in this ratio (the steeper the slope, the greater impact of the mass of the slope can contribute to driving forces). The real world is more complicated than the simplified illustration below.


      Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.

      Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.

      An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.

      Below is a diagram showing how an increase in pore pressure can push against the sediment particles so that they are not touching any more. This allows the particles to move around and this is why our feet sink in the sand in the analogy above. This is also what changes the strength of earth materials such that a landslide can be triggered.


      Below is a diagram based upon a publication designed to educate the public about landslides and the processes that trigger them (USGS, 2004). Additional background information about landslide types can be found in Highland et al. (2008). There was a variety of landslide types that can be observed surrounding the earthquake region. So, this illustration can help people when they observing the landscape response to the earthquake whether they are using aerial imagery, photos in newspaper or website articles, or videos on social media. Will you be able to locate a landslide scarp or the toe of a landslide? This figure shows a rotational landslide, one where the land rotates along a curvilinear failure surface.


    • Below is the liquefaction susceptibility and landslide probability map (Jessee et al., 2017; Zhu et al., 2017). Please head over to that report for more information about the USGS Ground Failure products (landslides and liquefaction). Basically, earthquakes shake the ground and this ground shaking can cause landslides. We can see that there is a low probability for landslides. However, we have already seen photographic evidence for landslides and the lower limit for earthquake triggered landslides is magnitude M 5.5 (from Keefer 1984)
    • I use the same color scheme that the USGS uses on their website. Note how the areas that are more likely to have experienced earthquake induced liquefaction are in the valleys. Learn more about how the USGS prepares these model results here.

    Seismic Hazard and Seismic Risk

    • As a reminder, this region is in the most seismically hazardous region of the Mediterranean. Here is the 50% probability of exceedance map (for 50 yrs) from Giardini et al. (2013).

    • I put together this figure that shows the seismic hazard and seismic risk for Europe.
    • The GEM Seismic Hazard and the GEM Seismic Risk maps from Pagani et al. (2018) and Silva et al. (2018).
    • I list the general range of values for hazard (pga) and risk (construction cost). The USGS shaking models suggest that there were ground accelerations exceeding 50% g (gravity at sea level). This is higher than the hazard map suggests, but this is just a model.

    • The GEM Seismic Hazard Map:


    • The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Global Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1) depicts the geographic distribution of the Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) with a 10% probability of being exceeded in 50 years, computed for reference rock conditions (shear wave velocity, VS30, of 760-800 m/s). The map was created by collating maps computed using national and regional probabilistic seismic hazard models developed by various institutions and projects, and by GEM Foundation scientists. The OpenQuake engine, an open-source seismic hazard and risk calculation software developed principally by the GEM Foundation, was used to calculate the hazard values. A smoothing methodology was applied to homogenise hazard values along the model borders. The map is based on a database of hazard models described using the OpenQuake engine data format (NRML); those models originally implemented in other software formats were converted into NRML. While translating these models, various checks were performed to test the compatibility between the original results and the new results computed using the OpenQuake engine. Overall the differences between the original and translated model results are small, notwithstanding some diversity in modelling methodologies implemented in different hazard modelling software. The hashed areas in the map (e.g. Greenland) are currently not covered by a hazard model. The map and the underlying database of models are a dynamic framework, capable to incorporate newly released open models. Due to possible model limitations, regions portrayed with low hazard may still experience potentially damaging earthquakes.

    • The GEM Seismic Risk Map:


    • The Global Seismic Risk Map (v2018.1) presents the geographic distribution of average annual loss (USD) normalised by the average construction costs of the respective country (USD/m2) due to ground shaking in the residential, commercial and industrial building stock, considering contents, structural and non-structural components. The normalised metric allows a direct comparison of the risk between countries with widely different construction costs. It does not consider the effects of tsunamis, liquefaction, landslides, and fires following earthquakes. The loss estimates are from direct physical damage to buildings due to shaking, and thus damage to infrastructure or indirect losses due to business interruption are not included. The average annual losses are presented on a hexagonal grid, with a spacing of 0.30 x 0.34 decimal degrees (approximately 1,000 km2 at the equator). The average annual losses were computed using the event-based calculator of the OpenQuake engine, an open-source software for seismic hazard and risk analysis developed by the GEM Foundation. The seismic hazard, exposure and vulnerability models employed in these calculations were provided by national institutions, or developed within the scope of regional programs or bilateral collaborations. This global map and the underlying databases are based on best available and publicly accessible datasets and models. Due to possible model limitations, regions portrayed with low risk may still experience potentially damaging earthquakes.

Human Impact

  • Copernicus is an organization that is part of the European Union that has many programs devoted to helping people mitigate, prepare, and respond to natural disasters.
  • Below is a poster that summarizes the impacts from the M 6.4 earthquake as of 30 December 2020.

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Here is another map of the region showing the compression in this region (Burchfiel et al., 2008 ). I include the figure caption below in blockquote.

  • Location of the South Balkan extensional system (SBER) withing the eastern European region. The system today is within the southern Balkan region north of the North Anatolian fault (NAF), shown by the horizontal line patter. Retreating subduction zones and related backarc extensional areas for the Mediterranean region are shown in blue , and advancing subduction zones an related are a of backarc shortening are shown in red). Backarc extensional regions are shown by dotted pattern. KF = Kefalonia fault zone.

  • Here is a map showing the active faults in Croatia (Markušić and Herak_1998). They prepared thsi figure to help explain how they subdivided Croatia for seismic hazard zoning.

  • Map of the most important seismogenic faults

  • The area impacted by the M 6.4 is in the western part of a large sedimentary basin called the Pannononian Basin. The geographic name for this place is the Great Hungarian Plain. The map below shows Zagreb in the lower left part of the map. The fault involved with yesterday’s M 6.4 are at the boundary of the Pannononian Basin and the Dinarides Mountains (Horváth et al., 2015).

  • Digital terrain model of the Pannonian basin to show its position within the Alpine mountain belt and the location of different subunits.

  • Here is a low angle oblique view of a tectonic model for this region (Horváth et al., 2015). Their paper describes the tectonic history that led to the development of the Pannononian Basin.

  • Block model depicting the present position of the Alcapa and Tisza-Dacia terranes in the Carpathian embayment and the associated lithospheric and asthenosphericprocesses down to the upper mantle transition zone (inspired after Ustaszewski et al., 2008).

  • This is a map that shows the Neogene-Quaternary (time periods) sedimentary basin deposits, and how thick they are (Dolton, 2006). The river that runs between Zagreb, Sisak, and Petrinja is the blue line in the southwest of the basin (outlined in a red line). Note that there are thick (over 4km) sedimentary deposits here.

  • Map of the Neogene Pannonian Basin, showing depocenters of the subbasins. The associated Transylvanian (TR) and Vienna (V) basins are shown. Modified from Horvath (1985a).

  • Here is a similar map that shows the main fault systems where there are regions of tectonic subsidence (we need subsidence to create space for sediments to deposit, called accommodation space). Note the area of subsidence that straddles the sedimentary basin deposits and river in the previous map. Also, note that the faults bounding this subsiding area are strike-slip faults (note the arrows).
  • Sedimentary basins can amplify ground shaking, thus leading to increased liquefaction susceptibility. Note how the higher liquefaction susceptibility areas for the M 6.4 are associated with the mapped sedimentary deposits and the region of subsidence.

  • Tectonic map of the Pannonian Basin and surrounding regions showing the main extensional faults of Neogene age. After Rumpler and Horvath (1988). Area of Pannonian Basin Tertiary rocks within the Alpine-Carpathian fold belts shown as white.

  • To understand the tectonic stresses that cause earthquakes in this region, Bada et al. (1998) prepared a numerical model. The next several figures help us walk through the basics of their modeling.
  • This first figure shows their configuration, with the boundary conditions and relative plate motions that cause the tectonic stresses.

  • Model geometry and boundary conditions used in the finite element procedure. Note that a larger framework was created to minimize edge effects and errors. As a result, the ‘free’ edges are buffered but can be deformed on a small scale. For further discussion see text. The Adria–Europe rotation pole was taken from Ward (1994).

  • These two panels compare two versions of their model results, showing the orientation of maximum stress compared with their calculations of maximum stress. The region south of Zagreb is in an area with north-south compression, in the western part of the Pannanonian Basin.

  • Best-fitting resultant stress pattern reflecting the combined effects of the applied boundary conditions (see insets), changing crustal thickness and two predefined weakness zones. (a), ( b) The edge at the Bohemian Massif is fixed and slightly deforming, respectively. In order to make direct comparison possible, the smoothed (observed) and calculated stress directions are superimposed.

  • This is a map showing the major faults in the region and how their tectonic stresses are oriented relative to these faults (the gray arrows at the boundary of the model).

  • Cartoon summarizing the main stress sources in the Alpine–Carpathian–Pannonian–Dinaric system applied in our finite element models. Buttresses are rigid crustal blocks indenting or blocking their surroundings. Dashed lines represent faults that were included during modelling. The kinematics of some major faults showing present-day activity are also shown (after Gerner et al. 1997) 1: Molasse belt; 2: Flysch belt; 3: internal units; 4: Neogene and Quaternary
    volcanites; 5: Pieniny Klippen Belt; 6: strike-slip faults; 7: normal faults; 8: thrust faults.

Earthquake Report: Turkey!

I awakened to be late to attending the GSA meeting today. I had not checked the time. 7am is too early, but i understand the time differences…

As i was logging into Zoom, my coworker emailed our Tsunami Unit group about a M7 in the eastern Mediterranean. So, I shifted gears a bit. But i had my poster to present, so i had to stay somewhat focused on that.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us7000c7y0/executive

Today, in the wee hours (my time in California), there was a M 7.0 earthquake offshore of western Turkey in the Icarian Sea. The earthquake mechanism (i.e. focal mechanism or moment tensor) was for an extensional type of an earthquake, slip along a normal fault.

I immediately thought about some quakes/deprems that happened there several years ago. This area is an interesting and complicated part of the world, tectonically.

To the north is a strike-slip plate boundary localized along the North Anatolia fault system. This is a right lateral fault system, where the plates move side by side, relative to each other. See the introductory information links below to learn more about different types of faults.

To the south is a convergent plate boundary (plates are moving towards each other) related to (1) the Alpide Belt, a convergent plate boundary formed in the Cenozoic that extends from Australia to Morocco. On the southern side of Greece and western Turkey, there are subduction zones where the Africa plate dives northward beneath the Eurasia and Anatolia plates.

The region of today’s earthquake is in a zone of north-south oriented extension. This extension appears to be in part due to gravitational collapse of uplifted metamorphic core complexes.

There are several “massifs” that were emplaced in the past, lifted up, creating gravitational potential. The normal faults may have formed as the upper crust extended. It is complicated here, so i am probably missing some details. But, with the references i provide below, y’all can read more on your own. Feel free to contact me if i wrote something incorrect. I love my peer reviewers (you).

So, this N-S extension creates east-west oriented valleys/basins with E-W striking (trending) faults. There are south dipping faults on the north sides and north dipping faults on the south side of these valleys.

These structures are called rifts. A famous rift is the East Africa Rift.

There are two main rifts in western Turkey, the Büyük Menderes Graben and the Küçük Menderes Graben Systems. If we project these rifts westward, we can see another rift, the rift that forms the Gulf of Corinth in Greece, the Gulf of Corinth Rift. This is one of the most actively spreading rifts in the world.

In addition to the large earthquake, which caused lots of building damage and also caused over a dozen deaths so far (sadly), there was recorded a tsunami on the tide gages in the region. I use the IOC website to obtain tide gage data. This is an excellent service. There are only a few national tide gage online websites that rival this one.

It is also highly likely that there were landslides or that there was liquefaction somewhere in the region. The USGS models i present below show a high likelihood for these earthquake triggered processes.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 7.0 in one version.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page. I have improved these posters over time and some of this background information applies to the older posters.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

  • On the left is a map from Armijo et al. (1999) that shows the plate boundary faults and tectonic plates in the region. This M 7.0 earthquake, denoted by the blue circle.
  • In the upper left corner is a map that shows the tectonic strain in the region. Areas of red are deforming more from tectonic motion than are areas that are blue. Learn more about the Global Strain Rate Map project here.
  • To the right of the strain map is a comparison of the shaking intensity modeled by the USGS and the shaking intensity based on peoples’ “boots on the ground” observations. A modeled estimate of intensity is shown by the color overlay and labels MMI 4, 5, 6, 7. The USGS Did You Feel It observations are the colored circles (color = intensity) and labeled dyfi 6.2 for example.
  • On the upper right and right center are two maps that show (bottom) liquefaction susceptibility and (top) landslide probability. These are based on empirical models from the USGS that show the chance an area may have experienced these processes that may have happened as a result of the ground shaking from the earthquake. I spend more time explaining these types of models and what they represent in this Earthquake Report for the recent event in Albania.
  • Faults shown on these maps come from the DISS fault database from INGV and their collaborators. These data have been incorporated into the Global Earthquake Model. The red lines represent the top of the fault plane and the green shapes represent the fault planes as they dip into the Earth. Note how the North Anatolia fault, which is a vertically dipping strike-slip fault, appears to not have fault planes. Why do you think that is?
  • In the lower right corner is a map showing epicenters for earthquakes since 30 July 2020 (from EMSC).
  • Along the bottom of the poster are several tsunami plots from the region. The Bodrum tide gage is on a south facing shoreline, so the waves are not directed directly at this gage. The Kos Marina and Hrakleio gages are more directly facing the earthquake. Note which gages have larger waves. Why do you think this is so?
  • Here are the main tide gages that have decent tsunami records in the Aegean region. I offset these records vertically a modest amount for the plot, so disregard the absolute elevation values.
  • I made a crude measurements for the wave height of these tsunami records (neglecting to take into account changes in tide). The locations are shown in the map.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Here is a lovely plate tectonic overview map, highlighting the plate boundary faults, as well as the crustal faults (Taymaz et a., 2007).

  • Seismicity of the Eastern Mediterranean region and surroundings reported by USGS–NEIC during 1973–2007 with magnitudes for M . 3 superimposed on a shaded relief map derived from the GTOPO-30 Global Topography Data taken after USGS. Bathymetry data are derived from GEBCO/97–BODC, provided by GEBCO (1997) and Smith & Sandwell (1997a, b).

  • Here is the tectonic map from Dilek and Sandvol (2009).

  • Tectonic map of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean region showing the main plate boundaries, major suture zones, fault systems and tectonic units. Thick, white arrows depict the direction and magnitude (mm a21) of plate convergence; grey arrows mark the direction of extension (Miocene–Recent). Orange and purple delineate Eurasian and African plate affinities, respectively. Key to lettering: BF, Burdur fault; CACC, Central Anatolian Crystalline Complex; DKF, Datc¸a–Kale fault (part of the SW Anatolian Shear Zone); EAFZ, East Anatolian fault zone; EF, Ecemis fault; EKP, Erzurum–Kars Plateau; IASZ, Izmir–Ankara suture zone; IPS, Intra–Pontide suture zone; ITS, Inner–Tauride suture; KF, Kefalonia fault; KOTJ, Karliova triple junction; MM, Menderes massif; MS, Marmara Sea; MTR, Maras triple junction; NAFZ, North Anatolian fault zone; OF, Ovacik fault; PSF, Pampak–Sevan fault; TF, Tutak fault; TGF, Tuzgo¨lu¨ fault; TIP, Turkish–Iranian plateau (modified from Dilek 2006).

  • This is a fantastic figure, yet quite complicated. This map shows teh plate boundaries, the GPS motions, and the tectonic strain for the region (Perouse et al., 2012).
  • We use GPS sites at specific locations to measure how fast the Earth’s crust moves due to plate tectonics and other reasons. These GPS sites are almost constantly recording their geographic position. If a GPS site is moving, we can take two observations (lets say a year apart), measure their relative distance, and divide the time between the measurements to get the velocity (the speed) that this GPS site is moving. The white vectors (the arrows) show the direction those GPS sites are moving and the length of the vector represents its velocity. The black arrows show what the plate motion rates are at the plate boundaries and these are modeled using lots of different data sources (not just GPS).
  • Tectonic strain is a measure of how much the Earth’s crust is deforming over time. The higher the tectonic strain rate (i.e. red), the more tectonic stress is being accumulated in the crust and along faults. Areas of higher strain are places where there are more likely to be larger or more (or both) earthquakes.

  • Present-day kinematic and tectonic map encompassing the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, summarizing our main results and interpretations. Our kinematic model includes rigid-block motions as well as localized and distributed strain. Central-SW Aegean block (CSW AEG block) and East Anatolian block (East Anat. block) are purely kinematic and directly results from strain modeling (Figure 5). AP-IO Block is our Apulian-Ionian block with tentative tectonic boundaries. Rotation pole of this Apulian-Ionian block relative to Nubia (Nu WAp-Io) and to Eurasia (Eu WAp-Io) are shown with their 95% confidence ellipse.

  • This is the Ersoy et al. (2014) map showing their interpretation of the modern deformation in the northern Aegean Sea and western Turkey.

  • Geological map showing the distribution of the Menderes Extensional Metamorphic Complex (MEMC), Oligocene–Miocene volcanic and sedimentary units and volcanic centers in the Aegean Extensional Province (compiled from geological maps of Greece (IGME) and Turkey (MTA), and adapted from Ersoy and Palmer, 2013). Extensional deformation field with rotation (rotational extension) is shown with gray field, and simplified from Brun and Sokoutis (2012), Kissel et al. (2003) and van Hinsbergen and Schmid (2012). İzmir–Balıkesir Transfer zone (İBTZ) give the outer limit for the rotational extension, and also limit of ellipsoidal structure of the MEMC. MEMC developed in two stages: the first one was accommodated during early Miocene by the Simav Detachment Fault (SDF) in the north; and the second one developed during Middle Miocene along the Gediz (Alaşehir) Detachment Fault (GDF) and Küçük Menderes Detachment Fault (KMDF). Extensional detachments were also accommodated by strike-slip movement along the İBTZ (Ersoy et al., 2011) and Uşak–Muğla Transfer Zone (Çemen et al., 2006; Karaoğlu and Helvacı, 2012). Other main core complexes in the Aegean, the Central Rhodope (CRCC), Southern Rhodope (SRCC), Kesebir–Kardamos Dome (KKD) and Cycladic (CCC) Core Complexes are also shown. The area bordered with dashed green line represents the surface trace of the asthenospheric window between the Aegean and Cyprean subducted slabs (Biryol et al., 2011; de Boorder et al., 1998). See text for detail.

  • This is a great figure showing another interpretation to explain the extension in this region (slab rollback and mantle flow) from Brun and Sokoutis (2012).

  • Mantle flow pattern at Aegean scale powered by slab rollback in rotation around vertical axis located at Scutary-Pec (Albania). A: Map view of fl ow lines above (red) and below (blue) slab. B: Three-dimensional sketch showing how slab tear may accommodate slab rotation. Mantle fl ow above and below slab in red and blue, respectively. Yellow arrows show crustal stretching.

  • Below is a series of figures from Jolivet et al. (2013). These show various data sets and analyses for Greece and Turkey.
  • Upper Panel (A): This is a tectonic map showing the major faults and geologic terranes in the region. The fault possibly associated with today’s earthquake is labeled OU on the map, for the Ula-Oren fault.
  • Lower Panel (B): This shows historic seismicity for the region. Note the general correlation with the faults in the upper panel.

  • A: Tectonic map of the Aegean and Anatolian region showing the main active structures
    (black lines), the main sutures zones (thick violet or blue lines), the main thrusts in the Hellenides where they have not been reworked by later extension (thin blue lines), the North Cycladic Detachment (NCDS, in red) and its extension in the Simav Detachment (SD), the main metamorphic units and their contacts; AlW: Almyropotamos window; BD: Bey Daglari; CB: Cycladic Basement; CBBT: Cycladic Basement basal thrust; CBS: Cycladic Blueschists; CHSZ: Central Hellenic Shear Zone; CR: Corinth Rift; CRMC: Central Rhodope Metamorphic Complex; GT: Gavrovo–Tripolitza Nappe; KD: Kazdag dome; KeD: Kerdylion Detachment; KKD: Kesebir–Kardamos dome; KT: Kephalonia Transform Fault; LN: Lycian Nappes; LNBT: Lycian Nappes Basal Thrust; MCC: Metamorphic Core Complex; MG: Menderes Grabens; NAT: North Aegean Trough; NCDS: North Cycladic Detachment System; NSZ: Nestos Shear Zone; OlW: Olympos Window; OsW: Ossa Window; OSZ: Ören Shear Zone; Pel.: Peloponnese; ÖU: Ören Unit; PQN: Phyllite–Quartzite Nappe; SiD: Simav Detachment; SRCC: South Rhodope Core Complex; StD: Strymon Detachment; WCDS: West Cycladic Detachment System; ZD: Zaroukla Detachment. B: Seismicity. Earthquakes are taken from the USGS-NEIC database. Colour of symbols gives the depth (blue for shallow depths) and size gives the magnitude (from 4.5 to 7.6).

  • Upper Panel (C): These red arrows are Global Positioning System (GPS) velocity vectors. The velocity scale vector is in the lower left corner. The main geodetic (study of plate motions and deformation of the earth) signal here is the westward motion of the North Anatolian fault system as it rotates southward as it traverses Greece. The motion trends almost south near the island of Crete, which is perpendicular to the subduction zone.
  • Lower Panel (D): This map shows the region of mid-Cenozoic (Oligo-Miocene) extension (shaded orange). It just happens that there is still extension going on in parts of this prehistoric extension.

  • C: GPS velocity field with a fixed Eurasia after Reilinger et al. (2010) D: the domain affected by distributed post-orogenic extension in the Oligocene and the Miocene and the stretching lineations in the exhumed metamorphic complexes.

  • Upper Panel (E): This map shows where the downgoing slab may be located (in blue), along with the volcanic centers associated with the subduction zone in the past.
  • Lower Panel (F): This map shows the orientation of how seismic waves orient themselves differently in different places (anisotropy). We think seismic waves travel in ways that reflects how tectonic strain is stored in the earth. The blue lines show the direction of extension in the asthenosphere, green lines in the lithospheric mantle, and red lines for the crust.

  • E: The thick blue lines illustrate the schematized position of the slab at ~150 km according to the tomographic model of Piromallo and Morelli (2003), and show the disruption of the slab at three positions and possible ages of these tears discussed in the text. Velocity anomalies are displayed in percentages with respect to the reference model sp6 (Morelli and Dziewonski, 1993). Coloured symbols represent the volcanic centres between 0 and 3 Ma after Pe-Piper and Piper (2006). F: Seismic anisotropy obtained from SKS waves (blue bars, Paul et al., 2010) and Rayleigh waves (green and orange bars, Endrun et al., 2011). See also Sandvol et al. (2003). Blue lines show the direction of stretching in the asthenosphere, green bars represent the stretching in the lithospheric mantle and orange bars in the lower crust.

  • Upper Panel (G): This is the map showing focal mechanisms in the poster above. Note the strike slip earthquakes associated with the North Anatolian fault and the thrust/reverse mechanisms associated with the thrust faults.

  • G: Focal mechanisms of earthquakes over the Aegean Anatolian region.

    • Here is another map showing the GPS plate motion rates from Perouse et al. (2012). Note the scale on the two map panels are different. The rates on the map on the right are much faster than the rates in Africa.

    • Input GPS velocities of the model. Velocities are in Eurasia fixed reference frame with their respective 95% confidence ellipse. Velocity vectors are color coded relative to the study they have been taken from (see paper for more details). (a) GPS velocities of the entire Nubian plate used to constrain the Nubia–Eurasia relative motion. Nubia–Eurasia rotation pole defined in this and previous studies are shown with their 1s confidence ellipse: circle, Calais et al. [2003]; diamond, Le Pichon and Kreemer [2010]; open square, D’Agostino et al. [2008]; triangle, Argus et al. [2010]; filled square, Reilinger et al. [2006]; red star, present study. Parameters of these rotation poles are summarized in Table 2. (b) Focus on the GPS velocities in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean region.

    • Here is a map that shows historic earthquake mechanisms (Perouse et al., 2012).

    • Input seismic moment tensors of the model. Fault plane solutions are from the Harvard CMT catalog (from 1976 to 2007) and the Regional Centroid Moment Tensor (RCMT) catalog (from 1995 to 2007). Location and hypocenter depth of the events are relocalized according to the Engdahl et al. [1998] catalog.

    Those Rifts

    • First we can see this map that highlights all the grabens mapped in the region. A graben is basically a block of Earth that has moved relatively down, forming a valley.
    • These grabens are bound on at least one side by a normal fault (shown here with stippled lines pointing in the direction that the faults dip into the Earth.

    • Outline geological map of western Anatolia showing Neogene and Quaternary basins [simplified from Bingo1 (1989).

    • Here is a map of the western part of the Buyuk Menderes Graben valley (Bozcurt 2000). The main reason to show this is because it shows the location of the cross-section shown next (in the box labeled “Figure 6b”).
    • The island labeled Chios here is also called Samos on other maps.

    • Simplified geological map of the northern margin of the Btiytik Menderes Graben in the area between Germencik and Umurlu.

    • Here is the cross section that shows their interpretation of the tectonic faults in the subsurface.

    • Geological cross-section of the northern margin of the Bt~yt~k Menderes Graben (see Fig. 6b for location) based on fig. llb of Cohen et al. (1995). This cross-section indicates a total of c. 5 km of extension. Assuming a uniform extension rate, the age of the fault zone is (c. 5 km/1 mm a -1) 5 Ma. More details in the paper.

    • Here is a low-angle oblique illustrative view of the Graben forming basin common in the region (Emre and Sozbilir, 2007..

    • Let’s now venture offshore into the ocean. This map shows some geologic units, some mapped crustal faults, and some seismic lines (Ocakoglu et al., 2005). These seismic lines are shown as rows of dots.
    • Each straight dotted line represents a path that a research vessel took to make observations about the subsurface using seismic waves. The 30 Oct 2020 M 7.0 earthquake was to the north of Samos.
    • None of the seismic lines are optimally located to look for the fault that ruptured earlier today, but they may help us learn about what might be possible here.

    • Geology map of the study area (simplified from MTA 1: 500,000 scale geology map) and location of the seismic lines. Active faults are marked onland with bold lines.

    • Here are some seismic lines (seismic reflection profiles), whose locations are shown on the above map. The upper two panels are relevant (see line 10 on the map). These are consistent with normal faults on the north side of the basin.

    • Time migrated seismic sections, offshore Teke and Karaburun, showing active normal faults marked with white lines and strike-slip faults with black lines (see Fig. 3A for locations). Vertical exaggeration is ~2. Observed vertical displacement on the seafloor and basement surface by normal fault (marked with bold circle on Line-10) looks the same, thus this normal fault is Quaternary age. On line-18, vertical displacement seen on basement units are greater than displacement on Pliocene–Quaternary deposits due to fault marked with a bold circle thus this normal fault can be interpreted as Later Miocene–Pliocene age.

    • I include this map to show that there are lots of faults in this area. This is their final fault map based on the interpretations of many seismic lines.

    • (A) The correlations between offshore and onshore active fault systems in the study region. N–S, NE–SW and NW–SE oriented lines and dashed-lines show interpreted active strike-slip faults and their possible extensions. These faults are annotated with dNT for those at north and dST for those at south. E–W oriented lines and dashed lines show interpreted active normal faults and their possible continuations, with footwalls indicated by the plus symbol. (B) Simplified active fault map of the study area. The bold lines show the master active faults. (C) Pureshear model can explain the development of active structures in the study area.

    • Below are a map and a cross section further to the east, in the eastern part of the Büyük Menderes Graben (Kaya, 2015). They were studying geotherm water in the region as it relates to the fault geometry and other factors. and, well, who doesn’t like a little pre-planning at a hot spring?

    • Geological map of western Turkey showing the Menderes massif and its subdivision into the AG Alasehir graben, the BMG Büyük Menderes graben, the CMM Central Menderes massif, the KMG Küçük Menderes graben, the NMM Northern Menderes massif and the SMM Southern Menderes massif, modified from Sengör and Bozkurt (2013).

    • Here is the cross-section, showing normal faults bounding the graben.

    • (a) A conceptual model of geothermal circulation in the study area, (b) a deep seismic profile with the N–S direction taken from a 30 km west of study area (Nazilli region) (Çifçi et al., 2011). Roman numerals indicate the different sedimentary sequences.

    • Let’s look at this yet another way. Below is a map and series of cross sections along the Küçük Menderes Graben (KMG). Rojay et al. (2005) take a look at the Plio-Quaternary history of the KMG. The KMG is the rift to the north of the Buyuk Menderes Graben.

    • Simplified geological map of the KMG showing the positions of geological cross-sections.

    • Here is a series of cross sections along this basin, locaions are shown on the previous map.

    • Series of geological cross-sections showing various sectors of the KMG depicting horst and graben structures overprinted onto the huge synclinal structure (see Fig. 3 for positions of geological cross-sections).

    • Here is their model of how the regional deformation is driven by the metamorphic core complex process.

    • Schematic tentative cross-sections showing the Miocene to Quaternary evolution of the KMG (modified from Erinç [66]). Note the continuing extension since Miocene.

    Regional Cross Sections

    • The following three figures are from Dilek and Sandvol, 2006. The locations of the cross sections are shown on the map as orange lines. Cross section G-G’ is located in the region of today’s earthquake.
    • Here is the map (Dilek and Sandvol, 2006). I include the figure caption below in blockquote.

    • Simplified tectonic map of the Mediterranean region showing the plate boundaries, collisional zones, and directions of extension and tectonic transport. Red lines A through G show the approximate profile lines for the geological traverses depicted in Figure 2. MHSZ—mid-Hungarian shear zone; MP—Moesian platform; RM—Rhodope massif; IAESZ— Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan suture zone; IPS—Intra-Pontide suture zone; ITS—inner Tauride suture zone; NAFZ—north Anatolian fault zone; KB—Kirsehir block; EKP—Erzurum-Kars plateau; TIP—Turkish-Iranian plateau.

    • Here are cross sections A-D (Dilek and Sandvol, 2006). I include the figure caption below in blockquote.


    • Simplified tectonic cross-sections across various segments of the broader Alpine orogenic belt.

    • (A) Eastern Alps. The collision of Adria with Europe produced a bidivergent crustal architecture with both NNW- and SSE-directed nappe structures that involved Tertiary molasse deposits, with deep-seated thrust faults that exhumed lower crustal rocks. The Austro-Alpine units north of the Peri-Adriatic lineament represent the allochthonous outliers of the Adriatic upper crust tectonically resting on the underplating European crust. The Penninic ophiolites mark the remnants of the Mesozoic ocean basin (Meliata). The Oligocene granitoids between the Tauern window and the Peri-Adriatic lineament represent the postcollisional intrusions in the eastern Alps. Modified from Castellarin et al. (2006), with additional data from Coward and Dietrich (1989); Lüschen et al. (2006); Ortner et al. (2006).
    • (B) Northern Apennines. Following the collision of Adria with the Apenninic platform and Europe in the late Miocene, the westward subduction of the Adriatic lithosphere and the slab roll-back (eastward) produced a broad extensional regime in the west (Apenninic back-arc extension) affecting the Alpine orogenic crust, and also a frontal thrust belt to the east. Lithospheric-scale extension in this broad back-arc environment above the west-dipping Adria lithosphere resulted in the development of a large boudinage structure in the European (Alpine) lithosphere. Modified from Doglioni et al. (1999), with data from Spakman and Wortel (2004); Zeck (1999).
    • (C) Western Mediterranean–Southern Apennines–Calabria. The westward subduction of the Ionian seafloor as part of Adria since ca. 23 Ma and the associated slab roll-back have induced eastward-progressing extension and lithospheric necking through time, producing a series of basins. Rifting of Sardinia from continental Europe developed the Gulf of Lion passive margin and the Algero-Provencal basin (ca. 15–10 Ma), then the Vavilov and Marsili sub-basins in the broader Tyrrhenian basin to the east (ca. 5 Ma to present). Eastward-migrating lithospheric-scale extension and
      necking and asthenospheric upwelling have produced locally well-developed alkaline volcanism (e.g., Sardinia). Slab tear or detachment in the Calabria segment of Adria, as imaged through seismic tomography (Spakman and Wortel, 2004), is probably responsible for asthenospheric upwelling and alkaline volcanism in southern Calabria and eastern Sicily (e.g., Mount Etna). Modified from Séranne (1999), with additional data from Spakman et al. (1993); Doglioni et al. (1999); Spakman and Wortel (2004); Lentini et al. (this volume).
    • (D) Southern Apennines–Albanides–Hellenides. Note the break where the Adriatic Sea is located between the western and eastern sections along this traverse. The Adria plate and the remnant Ionian oceanic lithosphere underlie the Apenninic-Maghrebian orogenic belt. The Alpine-Tethyan and Apulian platform units are telescoped along ENE-vergent thrust faults. The Tyrrhenian Sea opened up in the latest Miocene as a back-arc basin behind the Apenninic-Maghrebian mountain belt. The Aeolian volcanoes in the Tyrrhenian Sea represent the volcanic arc system in this subduction-collision zone environment. Modified from Lentini et al. (this volume). The eastern section of this traverse across the Albanides-Hellenides in the northern Balkan Peninsula shows a bidivergent crustal architecture, with the Jurassic Tethyan ophiolites (Mirdita ophiolites in Albania and Western Hellenic ophiolites in Greece) forming the highest tectonic nappe, resting on the Cretaceous and younger flysch deposits of the Adria affinity to the west and the Pelagonia affinity to the east. Following the emplacement of the Mirdita- Hellenic ophiolites onto the Pelagonian ribbon continent in the Early Cretaceous, the Adria plate collided with Pelagonia-Europe obliquely starting around ca. 55 Ma. WSW-directed thrusting, developed as a result of this oblique collision, has been migrating westward into the peri-Adriatic depression. Modified from Dilek et al. (2005).
    • (E) Dinarides–Pannonian basin–Carpathians. The Carpathians developed as a result of the diachronous collision of the Alcapa and Tsia lithospheric blocks, respectively, with the southern edge of the East European platform during the early to middle Miocene (Nemcok et al., 1998; Seghedi et al., 2004). The Pannonian basin evolved as a back-arc basin above the eastward retreating European platform slab (Royden, 1988). Lithospheric-scale necking and boudinage development occurred synchronously with this extension and resulted in the isolation of continental fragments (e.g., the Apuseni mountains) within a broadly extensional Pannonian basin separating the Great Hungarian Plain and the Transylvanian subbasin. Steepening and tearing of the west-dipping slab may have caused asthenospheric flow and upwelling, decompressional melting, and alkaline volcanism (with an ocean island basalt–like mantle source) in the Eastern Carpathians. Modified from Royden (1988), with additional data from Linzer (1996); Nemcok et al. (1998); Doglioni et al. (1999); Seghedi et al. (2004).
    • (F) Arabia-Eurasia collision zone and the Turkish-Iranian plateau. The collision of Arabia with Eurasia around 13 Ma resulted in (1) development of a thick orogenic crust via intracontinental convergence and shortening and a high plateau and (2) westward escape of a lithospheric block (the Anatolian microplate) away from the collision front. The Arabia plate and the Bitlis-Pütürge ribbon continent were probably amalgamated earlier (ca. the Eocene) via a separate collision event within the Neo-Tethyan realm. BSZ—Bitlis suture zone; EKP—Erzurum-Kars plateau. A slab break-off and the subsequent removal of the lithospheric mantle (lithospheric delamination) beneath the eastern Anatolian accretionary complex caused asthenospheric upwelling and extensive melting, leading to continental volcanism and regional uplift, which has contributed to the high mean elevation of the Turkish-Iranian plateau. The Eastern Turkey Seismic Experiment results have shown that the crustal thickness here is ~ 45–48 km and that the Turkish-Iranian plateau is devoid of mantle lithosphere. The collision-induced convergence has been accommodated by active diffuse north-south shortening and oblique-slip faults dispersing crustal blocks both to the west and the east. The late Miocene through Plio-Quaternary volcanism appears to have become more alkaline toward the south in time. The Pleistocene Karacadag shield volcano in the Arabian foreland represents a local fissure eruption associated with intraplate extension. Data from Pearce et al. (1990); Keskin (2003); Sandvol et al. (2003); S¸engör et al. (2003).
    • (G) Africa-Eurasia collision zone and the Aegean extensional province. The African lithosphere is subducting beneath Eurasia at the Hellenic trench. The Mediterranean Ridge represents a lithospheric block between the Africa and Eurasian plate (Hsü, 1995). The Aegean extensional province straddles the Anatolide-Tauride and Sakarya continental blocks, which collided in the Eocene. NAF—North Anatolian fault. South-transported Tethyan ophiolite nappes were derived from the suture zone between these two continental blocks. Postcollisional granitic intrusions (Eocone and Oligo-Miocene, shown in red) occur mainly north of the suture zone and at the southern edge of the Sakarya continent. Postcollisional volcanism during the Eocene–Quaternary appears to have migrated southward and to have changed from calc-alkaline to alkaline in composition through time. Lithospheric-scale necking, reminiscent of the Europe-Apennine-Adria collision system, and associated extension are also important processes beneath the Aegean and have resulted in the exhumation of core complexes, widespread upper crustal attenuation, and alkaline and mid-ocean ridge basalt volcanism. Slab steepening and slab roll-back appear to have been at work resulting in subduction zone magmatism along the Hellenic arc.
    • Here is another cross section that shows the temporal evolution of the tectonics of this region in the area of cross section G-G’ above (Dilek and Sandvol, 2009).

    • Late Mesozoic–Cenozoic geodynamic evolution of the western Anatolian orogenic belt as a result of collisional
      and extensional processes in the upper plate of north-dipping subduction zone(s) within the Tethyan realm. See text
      for discussion.

      References:

      Basic & General References

    • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
    • Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
    • Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
    • Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
    • Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
    • Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
    • Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
    • Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
    • Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
    • Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
    • Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
    • Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
    • Specific References

    • Basili R., G. Valensise, P. Vannoli, P. Burrato, U. Fracassi, S. Mariano, M.M. Tiberti, E. Boschi (2008), The Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), version 3: summarizing 20 years of research on Italy’s earthquake geology, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2007.04.014
    • Brun, J.-P., Sokoutis, D., 2012. 45 m.y. of Aegean crust and mantle flow driven by trench retreat. Geol. Soc. Am., v. 38, p. 815–818.
    • Caputo, R., Chatzipetros, A., Pavlides, S., and Sboras, S., 2012. The Greek Database of Seismogenic Sources (GreDaSS): state-of-the-art for northern Greece in Annals of Geophysics, v. 55, no. 5, doi: 10.4401/ag-5168
    • Dilek, Y., 2006. Collision tectonics of the Mediterranean region: Causes and consequences in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 1–13
    • Dilek, Y. and Sandvol, E., 2006. Collision tectonics of the Mediterranean region: Causes and consequences in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 1–13
    • DISS Working Group (2015). Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), Version 3.2.0: A compilation of potential sources for earthquakes larger than M 5.5 in Italy and surrounding areas. http://diss.rm.ingv.it/diss/, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia; DOI:10.6092/INGV.IT-DISS3.2.0.
    • Emre, T. and Sozbilir, H., 2007. Tectonic Evolution of the Kiraz Basin, Küçük Menderes Graben: Evidence for Compression/Uplift-related Basin Formation Overprinted by Extensional Tectonics in West Anatolia in Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 106, p. 441-470
    • Ersoy, E.Y., Cemen, I., Helvaci, C., and Billor, Z., 2014. Tectono-stratigraphy of the Neogene basins in Western Turkey: Implications for tectonic evolution of the Aegean Extended Region in Tectonophysics v. 635, p. 33-58.
    • Jolivet, L., et al., 2013. Aegean tectonics: Strain localisation, slab tearing and trench retreat in Tectonophysics, v. 597-598, p. 1-33
    • Kaya, A., 2015. The effects of extensional structures on the heat transport mechanism: An example from the Ortakçı geothermal field (Büyük Menderes Graben, SW Turkey) in Journal oF african Easth Sciences, v. 108, p. 74-88, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2015.05.002
    • Kokkalas, S., et al., 2006. Postcollisional contractional and extensional deformation in the Aegean region in GSA Special Papers, v. 409, p. 97-123.
    • Kurt, H., Demirbag, E., and Kuscu, I., 1999. Investigation of the submarine active tectonism in the Gulf of Gokova, southwest Anatolia–southeast Aegean Sea, by multi-channel seismic reflection data in Tectonophysics, v. 305, p. 477-496
    • Ocakoglu, N., DEmirbag, E.,. and Kuscu, I., 2005. Neotectonic structures in I˙zmir Gulf and surrounding regions (western Turkey): Evidences of strike-slip faulting with compression in the Aegean extensional regime in Marine Geology, v. 219, p. 155-171, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2005.06.004
    • Papazachos, B.C., Papadimitrious, E.E., Kiratzi, A.A., Papazachos, C.B., and Louvari, E.k., 1998. Fault Plane Solutions in the Aegean Sea and the Surrounding Area and their Tectonic Implication, in Bollettino Di Geofisica Terorica Ed Applicata, v. 39, no. 3, p. 199-218.
    • Pérouse, E., N. Chamot-Rooke, A. Rabaute, P. Briole, F. Jouanne, I. Georgiev, and D. Dimitrov, 2012. Bridging onshore and offshore present-day kinematics of central and eastern Mediterranean: Implications for crustal dynamics and mantle flow, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 13, Q09013, doi:10.1029/2012GC004289.
    • Rojay, B., Toprak, V., Demirci, C., and Süzen, L., 2005. Plio-Quaternary evolution of the Küçük Menderes Graben Southwestern Anatolia, Turkey in Geodinamica Acta, v. 18, no. 3-4, p. 317-331
    • Taymaz, T., Yilmaz, Y., and Dilek, Y., 2007. The geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia: introduction in Geological Society Special Publications, v. 291, p. 1-16.
    • Wouldloper, 2009. Tectonic map of southern Europe and the Middle East, showing tectonic structures of the western Alpide mountain belt. Only Alpine (tertiary) structures are shown.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in collision, earthquake, education, Extension, geology, plate tectonics, tsunami

    Earthquake Report: Southern California

    Late last night there was a sequence of earthquakes in southern California. The mainshock is a M 4.5 earthquake.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci38695658/executive

    This temblor was widely felt across the southland (including by my mom, who was warned by earthquake early warning). This sequence happened in the same area as the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake Sequence (which I felt as a child, growing up in Long Beach, CA).

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci731691/executive

    The tectonics of southern CA are dominated by the San Andreas fault (SAF) system. The SAF system is a right-lateral strike-slip plate boundary fault marking the boundary between the Pacific and North America plates.

    Basically, the Pacific plate is moving northwest relative to the North America plate. Both plates are moving northwest relative to an Earth reference frame, but the Pacific plate is moving faster.

    The SAF system goes through a bend in southern CA, which causes things to get complicated. There are sibling faults to the SAF, also right-lateral strike-slip (e.g. the San Jacinto and Elsinore faults).

    Also, because of the fault geometry, there is considerable north-south compression that forms the mountain ranges to the north of the Los Angeles Basin. Some of the faults formed by this compression are the Sierra Madre, Hollywood, Compton, and Puente Hills faults.

    A recent earthquake (2014) happened along one of these thrust fault systems. On 28 March 2014 (one day after the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska) there was an oblique thrust fault earthquake beneath La Habra, CA. My cousins felt that sequence and I remember them mentioning how their children kept waking up after every aftershock, some epicenters were located within a half km from their house.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci15481673/executive

    This La Habra sequence appears to be related to the Puente Hills Thrust fault system (same for the Whittier Narrows Earthquake). Last night’s M 4.5 also appears to have slipped along a thrust fault on this system. Based on the depth, it looks like the earthquake slipped along the Lower Elysian Park ramp (see poster).

    There were a few aftershocks. However, two of them I would rather interpret them as triggered earthquakes. The M 1.6 and M 1.9 earthquakes have strike-slip earthquake mechanisms (focal mechanisms = orange). These also have shallower [hypocentral] depths. There is mapped the Montebello fault, a right-lateral strike-slip fault, just to the east of the M 4.5 epicenter. The Montebello fault is a strand of the Whittier fault system.

    So, while this may be incorrect, my initial interpretation is that these two M1+ events happened on the Montebello fault system and were triggered by the M 4.5 event.

    There was also an historic earthquake on the Sierra Madre fault system. On 28 June 1991, there was a M 5.8 earthquake beneath the San Gabriel Mountains to the north of the LA Basin. This was also an oblique thrust earthquake.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci2021449/executive

    Something that all these earthquakes share is that they occurred on blind thrust faults. Why are they called blind? Because they don’t reach the ground surface, so we cannot see them at the surface (thus, we are blind to them).

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 4.5.
    • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
    • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page.
    • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

      I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

    • In the upper left corner I include a map that shows the USGS tectonic faults and the USGS seismicity from the past 3 months. I highlight the North America and Pacific plates and their relative motion along the San Andreas fault system.
    • In the lower right corner I plot the epicenters related to this sequence. The topographic data here are high resolution LiDAR data from 2016 (publically available).
    • In the lower center left is a low-angle oblique block diagram from Daout at al. (2016) that shows the geometry of the major faults in this area (along with estimates of the slip rates for these faults).
    • Between the aftershock map and the oblique block diagram are two panels from Rollins et al. (2018). On the left is a map that shows the major fault systems, some historic earthquake mechanisms, and GPS derived plate motion vectors (the direction of relative motion is the orientation of the arrow and the velocity is the length of the arrow). I placed a blue star in the location of last night’s M 4.5. On the right are some cross sections through the subsurface (the location of these cross sections is shown as a dashed gray line on the map). The M 4.5 hypocentral depth is 16.9 km, which clearly plots on the Lower Elysian Park ramp (part of the Puente Hills fault system). Note how the Whittier fault, a strike-slip fault at the surface, soles into the Peunte Hills thrus.
    • In the upper right corner is a map where I plot a comparison of the CSIN intensity model results (using the MMI Intensity scale, read more about that here) and the USGS “Did You Feel It?” (dyfi) reports. The intensity map is based on a model of how intensity diminishes with distance from the earthquake. The dyfi results are from real observations from real people. See the plot below the map to check out how these data compare, but in a plot not a map.
    • To the left of the intensity comparisons is another map from Rollins et al. (2018) that shows how much these thrust fault systems are accumulating energy over time. Basically, the warmer colors (e.g. red) shows an area of the fault that is storing more energy per year relative to part of the fault that have less warm colors (e.g. yellow). The Sierra Madre fault system is storing the most energy, per year, of all thrust faults that Rollins and his colleagues studied.
    • Here is the map with a month’s seismicity plotted.

    • Two of the most notable historic earthquakes in southern CA are the 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge earthquakes. Both earthquakes had a significant impact on the growth of knowledge about earthquake hazards in southern CA (and elsewhere), but they also resulted in major changes in how seismic hazards are recognized, codified, and mitigated throughout the state (with impacts nationwide and worldwide). And, both of these earthquakes also happened on blind thrust faults, just like last night’s M 4.5!
    • The 1906 San Francisco and 1933 Long Beach earthquakes led to major changes in the state too. 1933 Long Beach particularly led to changes in how schools are built and resulted in the strongest building code (relative to earthquakes) in the country as the time. These changes were eventually adopted statewide, nationwide, and globally (via the universal building code). Check out the Field Act to learn more about this.
    • The 1971 Sylmar Earthquake happened on a previously unrecognized fault (because it is blind) and caused lots of damage and many casualties. Perhaps most notably was the veterans hospital which was built across a fault. This fault slipped during the earthquake (triggered by the mainshock). Because the fault slipped beneath the hospital, the hospital was cut in half.
    • This was quite educational, to learn that when an earthquake fault slips beneath a building, the building does not (generally) perform well. After this earthquake, state senators Alquist and Priolo wrote and helped to get passed the Alquist-Priolo Act. This act required the state (via the California Geological Survey (CGS), where I work) to identify all active faults in the state. The Board of Mines and Geology (BMG) prepared regulations that help manage development (i.e. construction of buildings) in AP zones. Read more about the AP Act here.
    • The 1994 Northridge Earthquake, with a similar magnitude as the 1971 Sylmar quake, caused extensive damage throughout the San Fernando Valley (like, totally dude) and beyond. There are famous photos of the damage to bridges of the 5 and 14 interchange (interstate 5 and state route 14). The 1994 Northridge Earthquake led to the development of the Seismic Hazards Mapping Act. The CGS and the BMG both have mandates related to the SHMA (I work as part of the Seismic Hazards Mapping Program at CGS). Read more about the SHMA here.
    • Read more about the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake here.
    • Read more about the 1994 Northridge Earthquake here.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is a great map from Wallace (1990) that shows the major faults associated with the San Andreas fault system.

    • Generalized topographic map of southern California, showing major faults with Quaternary activity in the San Andreas firnit system. Faults dotted where concealed by water: hachures on contours indicate area of closed low.

    • This is a more updated map from Tucker and Dolan (2001) prepared for their study of the Sierra Madre fault.

    • Regional neotectonic map for metropolitan southern California showing major active faults. The Sierra Madre fault is a 75-km-long active reverse fault that extends along the northern edge of the metropolitan region. Fault locations are from Ziony and Jones (1989), Vedder et al. (1986), Dolan and Sieh (1992), Sorlien (1994), and Dolan et al. (1997, 2000b). Closed teeth denote reverse fault surface trace; open teeth on dashed lines show upper edge of blind thrust fault ramps. Strike-slip fault surface traces shown by double arrows. Star denotes location of Oak Hill paleoseismologic trench site of Bonilla (1973). CSI, Clamshell-Sawpit fault; ELATB, East Los Angeles blind thrust system; EPT, Elysian park blind thrust fault; Hol Fl, Hollywood fault; PHT, Puente Hills blind thrust fault; RMF, Red Mountain fault; SCII, Santa Cruz Island fault; SSF, Santa Susana fault; SJcF, San Jacinto fault; SJF, San Jose fault; VF, Verdugo fault; A, Altadena study site of Rubin et al. (1998); LA, Los Angeles; LB, Long Beach; LC, La Crescenta; M, Malibu; NB, Newport Beach; Ox, Oxnard; P, Pasadena; PH, Port Hueneme; S, Horsethief Canyon study site in San Dimas; V, Ventura. Dark shading denotes mountains.

    • This is a great low angle oblique view of the faults in the southland from Fuis et al. (2001). Note that the SAF geometry creates North-South compression in this area (that causes the thrust faults, some of hem are blind).

    • Schematic block diagram showing interpreted tectonics in vicinity of LARSE line 1. Active faults are shown in orange, and moderate and large earthquakes are shown with orange stars and attached dates, magnitudes, and names. Gray half-arrows show relative motions on faults. Small white arrows show block motions in vicinities of bright reflective zones A and B (see Fig. 2A). Large white arrows show relative convergence direction of Pacific and North American plates. We interpret a master de´collement ascending from bright reflective zone A at San Andreas fault, above which brittle upper crust is imbricating along thrust and reverse faults and below which lower crust is flowing toward San Andreas fault (brown arrows) and depressing Moho. Fluid injection, indicated by small lenticular blue areas, is envisioned in bright reflective zones A and B.

    • This is an updated figure from Daout et al. (2016). The slip rates are included for each fault.

    • Three-dimensional schematic block model across the SGM [after Fuis et al., 2001b] superimposed to the digital elevation model, the seismicity (yellow dots), the Moho model (red line), and interpreted active faults summarizing the average interseismic strike-slip (back arrows) and dip-slip (red arrows) rates extracted from the Bayesian exploration. Shallow faults (dashed lines) that formed a complex three-dimensional system at the surface [Plesch et al., 2007] are locked during the interseismic period, while the ramp-décollement system (solid lines) decouples the upper crust from the lower crust and partitioned the observed uniform velocity field (blue vector) at the downdip end of the structures.

    • Here is a summary of the historic earthquakes in southern CA from Hauksson et al. (1995). They include earthquake mechanisms (B) and the regions impacted (A).

    • (a) Significant earthquakes of M > 4.8 that have occurred in the greater Los Angeles basin area since 1920. Aftershock zones are shaded with cross hatching, including the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Dotted areas indicate surface rupture, including the rupture of the 1857 earthquake along the San Andreas fault. (b) Lower hemisphere focal mechanisms (shaded quadrants are compressional) for significant earthquakes that have occurred since 1933 in the greater Los Angeles area.

    • This is an important figure from Leon et al. (2007) that shows their interpretation of the different faults in the Puente Hills fault system. They highlight the location of the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake, which was to the north of last nights M 4.5.

    • This is also an important figure as it shows some additional faults (Shaw et al., 2002). The M 4.5 most likely occurred on the Lower Elysian Park fault.

    • Structure contour map of the PHT in relation to other major thrust and strike-slip systems in the northern LA basin. Contour interval is 1 km; depths are subsea. Map coordinates are UTM Zone 11, NAD27 datum.

    • What follows are a series of figures from Rollins et al. (2018). They studied the strain accumulation (the accumulation of energy in a fault system over time) for the three main thrust fault systems in the LA Basin.
    • Here is their first figure that shows the relative plate motions as observed using GPS sites.

    • (a) Tectonics and shortening in the Los Angeles region. Dark blue arrows are shortening-related GPS velocities relative to the San Gabriel Mountains (Argus et al., 2005). Contours are uniaxial strain rate (rate of change of εxx) in the N ~5° E direction estimated from the GPS using the method of Tape et al. (2009). Background shading is the shear modulus at 100-m depth in the CVM*, a heterogeneous elastic model based on the Community Velocity Model (Süss & Shaw, 2003; Shaw et al., 2015) that we create and use in this study (section 4). Black lines are upper edges of faults, dashed for blind faults. Epicenters of the 1971, 1987, and 1994 earthquakes are from Southern California Earthquake Data Center; focal mechanisms are from Heaton (1982) for 1971 and Global CMT Catalog for 1987 and 1994. Profile A-A0 follows LARSE line 1 (Fuis et al., 2001) onshore and line M-M0 of Sorlien et al. (2013) offshore. SGF = San Gabriel Fault; SSF = Santa Susana Fault. VF = Verdugo Fault. SAF = San Andreas Fault. CuF = Cucamonga Fault. A-DF = Anacapa-Dume Fault. SMoF = Santa Monica Fault. HF = Hollywood Fault. RF = Raymond Fault. UEPF = Upper Elysian Park Fault. ChF = Chino Fault. WF = Whittier Fault. N-IF = Newport-Inglewood Fault. PVF = Palos Verdes Fault. (b) GPS velocities on islands. (c) Tectonic setting. Black lines and pairs of half-arrows, respectively, are major faults and their slip senses. Black arrow is Pacific Plate velocity relative to North American plate from Kreemer et al. (2014). GF = Garlock Fault. SJF = San Jacinto Fault. EF = Elsinore Fault. SB = Santa Barbara. LA = Los Angeles. SD = San Diego.

    • Here is their cross section through this part of the LA Basin. The location of this cross section is marked on the above map as a gray dashed line.

    • (a) Cross sections of faults, structure, north-south contraction, and seismicity along profile A-A0 . Red lines are fault surfaces as meshed here (Figure 3), dashed where uncertain (Shaw & Suppe, 1996; Shaw & Shearer, 1999; Fuis et al., 2012). Geometries of basin, basement, and mantle are from Shaw et al. (2015); geometry of base of Fernando Formation (boundary between beige and tan units of the basin) is interpolated from Sorlien et al. (2013; offshore), Wright (1991; coastline to Whittier Fault), and Yeats (2004; Whittier Fault to Sierra Madre Fault); topography is from Fuis et al. (2012). (b) Projections of Argus et al. (2005) GPS velocities (relative to San Gabriel Mountains) onto the direction N 5° E and 1σ uncertainties. Note that stations on Palos Verdes are plotted left of the coastline as the offshore section of profile A-A0 passes alongside Palos Verdes (Figure 1a). (c) Seismotectonic features. Distribution of shear modulus is from the CVM*, the heterogeneous elastic model used in this study (section 4). Translucent white circles are relocated 1981–2016 M ≥ 2 earthquakes whose epicenters lie within the mesh area of the three thrust faults and decollement (Hauksson et al., 2012 and updated). PVF = Palos Verdes Fault; N-IF = Newport-Inglewood Fault; WF = Whittier Fault.

    • I love this map because it shows how these thrust faults dip into the Earth to the north.

    • geometries of the three main thrust faults beneath the Los Angeles basin (section 4), colored by depth, and 1981–2016 M ≥ 2.5 earthquakes within the mesh area from Hauksson et al. (2012 and updated), scaled by magnitude (white-filled circles). Gray-filled circles are 1981–2016 M ≥ 4.5 earthquakes outside the mesh area. Inferred paleoearthquakes are from Rubin et al. (1998) and Leon et al. (2007, 2009). SAF = San Andreas Fault.

    • Finally, we see how they model the amount of plate tectonic motion is accumulated as tectonic strain on these faults. Chris is one of the smartest plate tectonicists I know, so read his paper (several times).

    • Estimates of moment deficit accumulation rate from combining the four interseismic strain accumulation models. (a) Spatial distribution of moment deficit accumulation rate per area. (Values are on the order of ~108 N m -1 yr -1 as the moment deficit accumulation rate per patch is on the order of 1015 N m -1 yr -1 [Figure S11] and the patches are a few kilometers (a few thousand meters) on a side.) (b) Unified PDF of moment deficit accumulation rate (dark blue object) formed by combining the PDFs from the four strain accumulation models. The PDF would follow the red curve if strain accumulation updip of the tips of the Puente Hills and Compton faults (PHF and CF) were counted.

    Earthquake Report: Owens Valley, CA

    Well, the east side of the Sierra lives up to its reputation for being in earthquake country. From the July 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence (reports here)to some shakers east of Mono Lake, to the May 2020 Monte Cristo Earthquake Sequence (report here) to some earthquakes in the Owens Lake area of California. Residents of Olancha, Lone Pine, and Keeler felt strong shaking from a magnitude M 5.8 earthquake, also preceded by about 2 days with a M 4.6 temblor.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci39493944/executive

    The plate tectonics in the western US is overwhelmingly dominated by the plate boundary between the North America and Pacific plate. The North America plate moves south “relative” to the Pacific plate. Standing on the Pacific plate, looking across the fault, the North America plate moves to your right (a right-lateral strike-slip fault).

    Here, both plates are moving “absolutely” in the northwestern direction, but the Pacific plate is moving slower. Therefore the relative sense of motion results in a right-lateral fault.

    The plates move side-by-side at a velocity (speed) of about 50 mm per year (2 inches per year). In California, most of this relative motion is localized along the San Andreas fault system. But there are sub-parallel “sibling” faults that also share some of the “slip budget” (their proportion of the 50 mm/yr).

    About 20% of the relative plate motion is found along faults on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, along the Eastern California Shear Zone and the Walker Lane system.

    Further to the north, in northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada, the relative plate motion is compressive, forming the Cascadia subduction zone.

    East of California, the plate boundary experiences relative extension, forming the geomorphic province called the Basin and Range. The faults in the Basin and Range are mostly normal faults (extensional faults).

    Read more about the different fault types here.

    On 26 March 1872 there was a large earthquake that ruptured faults from south of Owens Lake near Olancha, CA northwards to Big Pine, CA. This earthquake may be the largest historic earthquake in California with a magnitude of M 7.8 to 7.9 (Hough and Hutton, 2008).

    This earthquake was the result of slip on the Owens Valley fault system (OVF). The majority of slip was right-lateral strike-slip, but because the OVF is not perfectly aligned with the relative plate motion, some of the slip on these faults was normal slip (i.e. extensional).

    There are still preserved remains of structures damaged by the earthquake in Lone Pine, CA.

    The OVF has been mapped and trenched across to learn about the prehistoric record of earthquakes on the fault.

    Also, from measurements of features that have been offset along the fault during earthquakes, along with knowledge of the age of those features, we can estimate how fast the frust is moving relatively across the fault. Below are some figures that help us learn about this historty and activity of the OVF (e.g. Bacon and Pezzopane, 2007; Kirby et al, 2008; Haddon et al., 2013; Bacon et al., 2019).

    Beth Haddon et al. (2013) conducted a very interesting study that compiled and updated previous slip estimates for the 1872 OVF earthquake. Their analysis vastly improved the estimate of how much the fault slipped at different locations along the fault (i.e. the fault slip distribution) and included a novel way to account for uncertainty (a.k.a. error) in the measurements of these offsets.

    California Geological Survey Engineering Geologist Brian Olson was sent to the field to make observations of fault rupture, landslides, and liquefaction related to this earthquake. Some of his tweets from the field are included below in the social media section.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020.
    • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
    • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page.
    • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

      I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

    • In the upper left corner is a map that shows the earthquake faults and historic earthquake locations (epicenters) in the western US. Historic earthquake fault ruptures are mapped as red lines and labeled with their year and magnitude.
    • In the lower right corner is a map that shows a comparison of the California Geological Survey Shakemap (a model of how strong the ground might shake during the M 5.8 earthquake) and results from online web surveys from peoples’ real observations (i.e. “Did You Feel It?” reports. The colored lines show the boundary between different levels of intensity using the Modified Mercalli Intensity (NNI) scale. The areas are colored relative to the DYFI reports, using the same MMI scale and colors shown on the legend).
    • In the lower center is an illustration showing how earthquake intensity is higher closer to the earthquake. With distance, the intensity goes down. This is another comparison between the Shakemap models and the DYFI observations.
    • In the upper right corner is a map that shows the liquefaction susceptibility, or the chance that an area may experience liquefaction during the earthquake. I present a map that also shows the chance that there will be landslides triggered by the earthquake lower in this report. Also, check out social media section to see videos of evidence of these landslides.
    • Here is the map with a year’s seismicity plotted (and a century in the overview map).
    • Something to note is that these Owens Lake earthquakes follow some triggered earthquakes that have been going on in the Coso Mountains and to the west of the reservoirs along the Owens River. Following the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence, the crust near the fault that slipped flexed like our elastic waist bands. This flexing caused the forces acting on faults withing the crust to increase and decrease in different places. These changes are called changes in static coulomb stress.
    • According to some studies (see tweets and the Temblor reports related to Ridgecrest), the area to the northwest of Ridgecrest have increased static coulomb stress changes, which increases the chance that faults might slip in those areas.
    • Guess where these Owens Valley earthquakes are happening? Yup, in an area tha has possibly experienced an increase in stress.

    • Below is an updated map that shows the aftershocks (and foreshocks) related to the M 5.8 earthquake.
    • There have only been two earthquakes in the past century that have magnitudes M ≥ 5. Some earthquakes can have aftershocks that last centuries (like the 1872 central Washington earthquake, which is still popping off aftershocks today). Because of the paucity of seismicity in this area, we may not be able to know if these two events in 2009 are aftershocks from 1872. The same is true for the M 5.8 sectence that is ongoing right now in Owens Valley. I suspect that these are unrelated to 1872 and are directly related to the Ridgecrest Earthquakes.
    • This part of the OVF is at the end of the fault, where it is less organized, so fault lengths are shorter and misaligned. Based on the work of Haddon et al. (2013), the slip on these faults in 1872 was low. So, maybe these faults had more accumulated strain than the rest of the OVF faults, so we would not expect more earthquakes on the OVF system (?). Hard to really know…
      • I include some inset figures. Some of the same figures are located in different places on the larger scale map below.

      • In the upper left corner is a map that shows historic earthquake locations (a century M ≥ 2 and a week M ≥ 0). I highlight areas of recent seismic unrest.
      • In the upper right corner is a map from Bacon et al. (2019) that shows the different faults that they studied in this area. Each different fault is colored and labeled, along with symbology showing what type of relative motion is accommodated on those faults. These authors mapped and dated prehistoric shorelines, then used their location to evaluate slip rates for these faults over a very long time span.
      • In the lower right corner are some cross sections showing how Bacon et al/ (20219) interpret how the tectonic structures are oriented in the subsurface beneath the Owens Valley. The locations for section A-A’ and B-B’ are shown on the main map as yellow-green lines.


    • So what does all this mean about the future? We won’t know until the future becomes the present, and then the past.
    • The Garlock fault south of Ridgecrest. Some of the most detailed paleoseismology studies have taken place along the Garlock fault. Yet, we don’t know if there will be an earthquake there tomorrow or a decade or century from now. Read more about the Garlock fault here.
    • The Blackwater fault south of Ridgecrest. There are numerous faults in the Eastern California Shear Zone between the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence and the Landers and Hector Mine earthquakes from 1992 and 1999 respectively. How do changes in stress following the Ridgecrest earthquake affect the crust south of the Garlock fault? This is a place to watch, but it may take decades, or more, before there is an earthquake here.
    • The Owens Valley fault north of Ridgecrest. This seems like a lesser likelihood. The average time between large earthquakes on the OVF is several thousands of years and 1972 was the last one. It is possible we don’t know everything about this system (as always, our knowledge about prehistoric earthquakes is a minimum estimate; we may find more evidence later).
    • The area north of the 1972 OVF earthquake and south of the Cedar Mountain Earthquake or anywhere along the 395 corridor through Walker, Carson City, Reno, etc. The 2019 Pacific Cell Friends of the Pleistocene field trip reviewed some evidences for recent faulting in this region. So, this is a place to watch for sure.

      Earthquake Triggered Landslides and Liquefaction

    • Here is a suite of maps that use USGS earthquake products to help us learn about how earthquakes may affect the landscape: landslide probability and liquefaction susceptibility (a.k.a. the Ground Failure data products)..
    • First I present the landslide probability model. This is a GIS data product that relates a variety of factors to the probability (the chance of) landslides as triggered by this earthquake. There are a number of assumptions that are made in order to be able to produce this model across such a large region, though this is still of great value (like other aspects from the USGS, e.g. the PAGER alert). Learn more about all of these Ground Failure products here.
    • There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). I spend more time discussing landslides and liquefaction in this recent earthquake report.
    • This model, like all landslide computer models, uses similar inputs. I review these here:
      1. Some information about ground shaking. Often, people use Peak Ground Acceleration, though in the past decade+, it has been recognized that the parameter “Arias Intensity” is a better measure of the energy imparted by the earthquake across the land and seascape. Instead of simply accounting for the peak accelerations, AI integrates the entire energy (duration) during the earthquake. That being said, PGA is a more common parameter that is available for people to use. For example, when I was modeling slope stability for the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone earthquake, the only model that was calibrated to observational data were in units of PGA. The first order control to shaking intensity (energy observed at any particular location) is distance to the earthquake fault that slipped.
      2. Some information about the strength of the materials (e.g. angle of internal friction (the strength) and cohesion (the resistance).
      3. Information about the slope. Steeper slopes, with all other things being equal, are more likely to fail than are shallower slopes. Think about skiing. Beginners (like me) often choose shallower slopes to ski because they will go down the slope slower, while experts choose steeper slopes.
    • I use the same color scheme that is presented by the USGS on their website. Note that the majority of areas that may have experienced earthquake triggered landslides are cream in color (0.3-1%). There are a few places with a slightly higher chance that there were triggered landslides. It is possible that there were no significant landslides from this earthquake. The lower bounds for earthquake triggered landslides on land is about M 5.5 and a M 6.4 releases much more energy than that.
    • Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.
    • Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.
    • An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.
    • Below is the liquefaction susceptibility map. I discuss liquefaction more in my earthquake report on the 28 September 20018 Sulawesi, Indonesia earthquake, landslide, and tsunami here.
    • I use the same color scheme that the USGS uses on their website. Note how the areas that are more likely to have experienced earthquake induced liquefaction are in the valleys. The fact that this earthquake happened in the summer time suggests that there may not have been any liquefaction from this earthquake.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is a figure from Rinke et al. (2012) that shows the global and regional tectonics here. I include the figure captions below as blockquotes. The first map shows the plate boundary scale tectonic regions. This is a generalized map (e.g. don’t pay attention to where the San Andreas and Cascadia faults are located).

    • Simplified tectonic map of the western U.S. Cordillera showing the modern plate boundaries and tectonic provinces. Basin and Range Province is in medium gray; Central Nevada seismic belt (CNSB), eastern California shear zone (ECSZ), Intermountain seismic belt (ISB), and Walker Lane belt (WLB) are in light gray; Mina deflection (MD) is in dark gray.

    • Here is the Amos et al. (2013) plate tectonic map. Check out the location of the historic surface rupturing earthquakes. Their figure caption is below (as for other figures here).

    • Overview of active faults and regional topography of the Eastern California shear zone (ECSZ) and southern Walker Lane belt. Labeled faults are abbreviated as follows: ALF—Airport Lake fault, BF—Blackwater fault, GF—Garlock fault, KCF—Kern Canyon fault, LLF—Little Lake fault, OVF—Owens Valley fault, SNFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault. OL—Owens Lake, IWV—Indian Wells Valley. Major historical earthquake surface ruptures in the Eastern California shear zone and Walker Lane belt are outlined in white, with stars denoting epicentral locations: OV—1872 Owens Valley, L—Landers 1992, HM—1999 Hector Mine. Active fault traces are taken from the U.S. Geological Survey Quaternary fault and fold database, with the exception of the Kern Canyon fault, taken from Brossy et al. (2012).

    • This map extends a little farther to the east (Frankel et al., 2008). This map shows nicely how the Sierra Nevada and Owens Valley faults (the Pacific-North America plate boundary) and Eastern California Shear Zone, aka ECSZ (the maps south of the Garlock fault, 35.5N°) interact with east-west trending left-lateral strike-slip faults like the Garlock fault. The ’92 Landers and ’99 Hector Mine Earthquakes are on faults in the ECSZ.

    • Shaded relief index map of Quaternary faults, roads, towns, and fi eld trip stops in the eastern California shear zone. Most faults are from the U.S. Geological Survey Quaternary fault and fold database (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/qfaults). Arrows indicate relative fault motion for strike slip faults. Bar and circle indicates the hanging wall of normal faults. Field trip stop location numbers are tied to site descriptions in the fi eld guide section. AHF—Ash Hill fault; ALF—Airport Lake fault; B—Bishop; BF—Blackwater fault; BLF—Bicycle Lake fault; BM—Black Mountains; BP—Big Pine; Br—Baker; Bw—Barstow; By—Beatty; CA—California; CF—Cady fault; CLF—Coyote Lake fault; CoF—Calico fault; CRF—Camp Rock fault; DSF—Deep Springs fault; DV-FLVF—Death Valley–Fish Lake Valley fault; EPF—Emigrant Peak fault; EV— Eureka Valley; FIF—Fort Irwin fault; FM—Funeral Mountains; GF—Garlock fault; GFL—Goldstone Lake fault; GM—Grapevine Mountains; HF—Helendale fault; HLF—Harper Lake fault; HMSVF—Hunter Mountain–Saline Valley fault; I—Independence; LF—Lenwood fault; LLF— Lavic Lake fault; LoF—Lockhart fault; LP—Lone Pine; LuF—Ludlow fault; LV—Las Vegas; M—Mojave; MF—Manix fault; NV—Nevada; O—Olancha; OL—Owens Lake; OVF—Owens Valley fault; P—Pahrump; PF—Pisgah fault; PV—Panamint Valley; PVF—Panamint Valley fault; R—Ridgecrest; S—Shoshone; SAF—San Andreas fault; SDVF—southern Death Valley fault; SLF—Stateline fault; SPLM—Silver Peak–Lone Mountain extensional complex; SNF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault; SP—Silver Peak Range; T—Tonopah; TF—Tiefort Mountain fault; TMF—Tin Mountain fault; TPF—Towne Pass fault; WMF—White Mountains fault; YM—Yucca Mountain.

    • This is also from Amos et al. (2013) that shows how some northeast striking normal faults are related to the Little Lake fault, in the northern part of Indian Wells Valley. The Little Lake fault connects to the Sierra Nevada frontal fault.

    • Simplified geologic map of the Little Lake fault, highlighting Quaternary volcanic and alluvial deposits bearing on the Pleistocene drainage of Owens River through the Little Lake area. Map units are named and modified from Duffield and Bacon (1981). The 30 m elevation contours are taken from the National Elevation Database (NED). The 40Ar/39Ar dates are labeled as in Table 1. SNFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault.

    • Here is the Frankel et al. (2008) larger scale fault map, also focusing on the northern Indian Wells Valley.

    • Northward branching of the Holocene-active Airport Lake fault zone in northern Indian Wells Valley, Rose Valley, the Coso Range, and Wild Horse Mesa. AL—Airport Lake playa; BR— basement ridge; CB—Central branch; CWF—Coso Wash fault; EB—Eastern branch; GF—geothermal field; HS— Haiwee Spring; LCF—Lower Cactus Flat; MF—McCloud Flat; UCF—Upper Centennial Flat; WB—Western branch; WHA—White Hills anticline; WHM—Wild Horse Mesa; WHMFZ— Wild Horse Mesa fault zone. Faults with especially prominent scarps in Wild Horse Mesa are highlighted in bold. Late Quaternary faults modified from Duffield and Bacon (1981) and Whitmarsh (1998), with additional original mapping. A and B indicate two faults that display evidence for late Quaternary dextral offset.

    • This is the Stevens et al. (2013) map that shows the sedimentary basins in the region.

    • Map showing interpreted thickness of Cenozoic deposits and major faults outlining the deep basins, based on inversion of gravity data [56]. Connection between West Inyo and Southwest Argus faults from Pluhar et al. [58]. ALFZ = Airport Lake Fault Zone; CWF = Coso Wash Fault; EIF = East Inyo Fault; LLF = Little Lake Fault. A-A’ to H-H’ indicate lines of cross sections and gravity profiles shown in Figure 10.

    • Here are the fault blocks presented by Stevens et al. (2013).

    • Map showing deep basins, relatively shallow down-dropped blocks, extended mountain blocks, and structural zones in the ESVS, which is bounded by largely unextended mountain blocks. CB = Chalfant Basin; NBB = North Bishop Block; RVB = Round Valley Basin

    • Here is a great overview map of the faults in the region from Oskin et al. (2008). Their paper is about their research to quantify the tectonic loading of faults in the Eastern California shear zone. Note that they use about 12 mm per year of Pacific-North America relative plate motion across this region.

    • A: Index map of southwest North America showing geodetic provinces from Bennett et al. (2003) and location of Mojave block. Velocities of geodetically stable regions are shown relative to Colorado Plateau. ECSZ—eastern California shear zone in Mojave block. Shear zone continues northward into western Great Basin province. GF—Garlock fault. B: Index map of the Mojave block with active faults and locations of recent earthquake ruptures. Circles show localities of slip-rate measurements that sum to ≤6.2 ± 1.9 mm/yr across the ECSZ. GPS—global positioning system.

    • Here is another good overview map, showing the faults for which Petersen and Wesnousky (1994) reviewed slip rates in that publication. They present an excellent review of all slip rate and paleoseismic investigations at the time that paper was published.

    • Map showing sites of slip rate studies in southern California for the San Andreas (SAI-14), San Jacinto (SJI-13), Elsinore-Whittier (El-8), Newport- Inglewood (N1-3), Palos Verdes (N4-6), Rose Canyon (N7), Transverse Ranges (T1-50), Mojave (MI-6), and Garlock (G1-9) faults.

    • Oskin and Iriondo studied the Blackwater fault, the right-lateral strike-slip fault system that extends from the south into the region of the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence. The Blackwater fault is connected to the south with the Calico fault (a fault between the 1992 and 1999 earthquakes). This appears to be the major Eastern California Shear zone fault that extends towards the Airport Valley and Little Lake faults (which ruptured during the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence).

    • A: Index map of Pacific–North America plate boundary through southwest North America. Principal faults are shown as thick black lines. Tectonically stable areas are outlined by dotted lines. Walker Lane and Eastern California shear zone, shown as dark gray band encompassing network of active faults, together absorb 9%–23% of total plate boundary shear (Dixon et al., 2000; Dokka and Travis, 1990a). JDF—Juan de Fuca; MTJ— Mendocino triple junction. B: Index map of Eastern California shear zone showing fault slip rates (in parentheses, mm/yr) determined by paleoseismic studies (Klinger and Piety, 2000; Lee et al., 2001; McGill and Sieh, 1993; Rockwell et al., 2000; Zhang et al., 1990). Heavy dark gray lines outline historic earthquake ruptures (Beanland and Clark, 1994; Sieh et al., 1993; Treiman et al., 2002). Heavy, medium gray band highlights Blackwater–Calico fault system. Light gray band surrounding Blackwater fault and passing north of Garlock fault is zone of localized 1.2 6 0.5 mm/yr strain accumulation documented by radar interferometry (Peltzer et al., 2001). C: Neotectonic map of Blackwater fault, showing type and orientation of fault line scarps with ticks on downthrown side. Dark patterned areas are lava flows cut by Blackwater fault (Dibblee, 1968, 1967; Smith, 1964)

    • Peltzer et al. (2001) evaluate the amount of tectonic strain that has accumulated over time (see geodesy section to learn more about strain). First I present their tectonic map.

    • Tectonic map of southern California. Solid lines are active faults (Jennings, 1975). Yellow dots are relocated earthquakes between 1981 and 2000 (Hauksson, 2000). Dashed-line box is area covered by Earth Resource Satellite (ERS) data used in this study. White dashed line shows location of concentrated shear observed in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. Black stars indicate epicenters of recent earthquakes: OV—1872 Owens Valley, JT—1992 Joshua Tree, L—1992 Landers, BB—1992 Big Bear, N—1994 Northridge, RC—1994 and 1995 Ridgecrest, HM—1999 Hector Mine. Heavy solid lines depict surface ruptures of Landers (Sieh et al., 1993), Hector Mine (U.S. Geological Survey and California Division of Mines and
      Geology, 2000; Peltzer et al., 2001), and Owens Valley (Beanland and Clark, 1994; only southern half of rupture is shown) earthquakes. Black dots and arrows show locations and observed velocities of 11 stations of Yucca GPS array (Gan et al., 2000).

      * Faults are listed in the paper

    • Here is the Guest et al. (2003) map showing their interpretation of how these faults developed over time.

    • In this model the Owlshead and southern Panamint blocks are hypothesized to have undergone sinistral transtension in response to a clockwise rotation of their southern confining boundary (Garlock fault zone).

      RTR—Radio Tower Range, SOM—Southern Owlshead Mountains, WWFZ—WingateWash fault zone, BMF—Brown Mountain fault, OLF—Owl Lake fault, GF—Garlock fault, MSS—Mule Springs strand, LLZ—Leach Lake fault zone, SDVFZ—Southern Death Valley fault zone.

    Background Literature – Geodesy

    • Gan et al. (2003) present a summary of geodetic data where they show that the Owens Valley, Little Lake, and Helendale faults form the generalized western boundary of the Eastern California shear zone (there are additional right-lateral faults to the west however).

    • Map showing the location of the ECSZ, the GPS arrays, the station velocities (relative to the fixed North America), and the principal faults in southern California (from Jennings [1992]). The thick dashed lines directed N23°W show the boundaries of the assumed parallel-sided ECSZ. The thin dashed lines extended from the segments of the Garlock fault show the trends of the segments.

    • One of the challenges with interpreting geodetic data is comparing earthquake fault slip rates inferred from geodetic methods with rates calculated using geologic data (either from long term offsets of bedrock, or from more recent rates using fault trenches).
    • Chuang and Johnson (2011) present their comparisons of GPS slip rates with geologic rates.
      • Blue = geologic rate
      • Black = geodetic rate
      • Magenta = block model rate from their analyses


      Comparison of geologic fault slip rates (blue, mm/yr) used in model, range of estimates from elastic block models (black) of Becker et al. (2005) and Meade and Hager (2005), and estimates from our block model (magenta) along major faults. Negative is left lateral. Light red lines are surface fault traces, and white thick lines are model blocks. Blue arrows are Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) crustal motion map 3 (Shen et al., 2003) velocities with respect to stable North America.

      *See their paper for fault abbreviations.

    • Here is an interesting figure showing their (Chuang and Johnson, 2011) estimate of the relative position in the earthquake cycle for these faults. This is based on published recurrence intervals for these faults (the average time between earthquakes given paleoseismic investigation data).

    • Summary of assumed geologic rates, recurrence interval (T), and time since last earthquake (teq) in Southern California. (For further discussion of sources of T and teq, see footnote 1). Blue numbers are expert opinion slip rates from Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (2008) and red numbers are rates from other paleoseismology data.

      Color of rupture segment represents ratio of time since last earthquake and recurrence interval. Hot (red) colors show segments are in early earthquake cycle, and cold (blue) colors show late earthquake cycle.

    • This is the summary of the Chuang and Johnson (2011) slip rate comparison.

    • A: Geologic fault slip rates versus slip rates inferred from geodetic data. Geologic rates are summarized in Table DR1 (see footnote 1). Blue bars are slip rate comparisons from Meade and Hager (2005) and red bars are from this study. B: Normalized velocity across Garlock fault (blue), Mojave segment of San Andreas fault (red), and eastern California shear zone (ECSZ, green) from our cycle model. Black line is normalized velocity derived from elastic model.

    • Here is an earlier analysis comparing geodetic rates with geologic rates (Dixon et al., 2003). First we see a map showing the faults from which the fault comparisons are shown.

    • Sketch map of study area, modified from Dixon et al. (1995). Bar marks approximate location of Global Positioning System transect (Gan et al., 2000). GF— Garlock fault. Labeled faults of Eastern California shear zone: ALF— Airport Lake fault zone; OVF—Owens Valley fault zone; HMF—Hunter Mountain–Panamint Valley fault zone; DVF— Death Valley–Furnace
      Creek fault zone; FLV— Fish Lake Valley fault zone.

    • Here is the east west profile from Dixon et al. (2003). The horizontal axis is distance and the vertical axis is the rate that each site moves in mm per year. Their fault modeling is represented by the dark black line.

    • Global Positioning System velocity (triangles) and one standard error (bars) from Gan et al. (2000) compared to prediction of viscoelastic coupling model (heavy solid line), representing summed velocity contributions from four parallel faults (light dashed lines). SAF—San Andreas fault; DVF—Death Valley–Furnace Creek fault zone; HMF—Hunter Mountain–Panamint Valley fault zone; OVF—Owens Valley fault zone. Inset shows model rheology for Eastern California shear zone. SNB—Sierra Nevada block;B&R— Basin and Range Province; h is fault depth (depth of elastic layer) for three faults (a, b, or c), m is rigidity, h is viscosity. Arrows mark location of major shear-zone faults.

    • Peltzer et al. (2001) use synthetic aperture radar interferometry (see my second update report for more on InSAR anslysis) to measure tectonic deformation that accumulated between 1992-2000.
    • The Coso Geothermal Field is the rainbow area in the northernmost part of the map. Indian Wells Valley is the green area to the south of the Coso Field. This is an area of elevated strain. The Garlock fault is the ~east-west black line in the center of the white inset box.

    • Surface velocity map obtained by averaging 25 interferograms of Los Angeles–Mojave region. One color cycle depicts 10 mm/yr of surface displacement along radar line of sight (at lat N348; ERS [Earth Resource Satellite] descending track trends S13.68W, radar looking westward at 238 off vertical incidence angle in middle of imaged swath). Gray areas are zones of low phase coherence that have been masked in processing. Black lines are active faults (Jennings, 1975). White box indicates subset of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data that was used for profile in Figure 4. Note conspicuous shear strain along San Andreas fault and shear zone parallel to Blackwater–Little Lake fault system. Large deformation signal in northwest corner of frame is ground subsidence related to Coso volcanic and geothermal field (Fig. 1). Surface displacement associated with 1994 and 1995 Ridgecrest earthquakes is visible south of Coso area. Other patterns of surface deformation include ground subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal in Los Angeles and Lancaster areas (Fig. 1) and to seasonal change of water table level around dry lakes.

    • Peltzer et al. (2001) plot observations from their radar data showing relative plate motion associated with dislocation along the Blackwater-Little Lake fault system.

    • Profiles of observed and modeled line-of-sight displacement projected on vertical plane perpendicular to shear zone. Gray dots are individual data points for all radar-image pixels included in box shown in Figure 3. Solid line shows 2 km running mean of observed displacement along profile length. Note that apparent standard deviation of projected data relative to average profile reflects in part displacement gradient parallel to fault strike and not only error in data. Groups of dots that deviate from dense part of profile are due to ground subsidence near lake shores and to surface displacement associated with Ridgecrest earthquakes (Figs. 1, 3). Short-dash line is profile predicted by long-term velocity model used to estimate interferometric baseline (Shen et al., 1996). Long-dash line is profile predicted by velocity model, including additional buried dislocation along Blackwater–Little Lake fault system. Parameters of added fault are given in text. Black dots and error bars (2s) are line-of-sight projections of horizontal velocities observed by GPS at stations of Yucca transect (Gan et al., 2000).

    Background Literature – Owens Valley fault

    • Kylander-Clark et al. (2005) use the lateral offset of plutonic dikes (igneous rocks) to constrain a long term slip rate across the Owens Valley fault. This map shows one of the dike pairs used in their analysis. By knowing the age of these dieks, and the distance that they have been offset, we can obtain a slip rate.

    • Locations of the Golden Bear and Coso dikes, adjacent to Owens Valley. Main figure shows the Golden Bear and Coso dikes striking into the valley, where they intrude 102 Ma plutons. Both the dikes and the plutons provide distinctive markers that can be matched across the valley and are consistent with 65 km of dextral displacement since 84 Ma. Inset shows other markers across Owens Valley that earlier workers suggested indicate from 0 to 65 km of dextral offset across the valley. Also shown are the traces of the Tinemaha fault (Stevens et al., 1997; Stevens and Stone, 2002) and intrabatholithic break 3 (IBB3; Kistler, 1993), which are hypothesized to accommodate offset of these markers. Note that the section of IBB3 between 38°N and 36.5°N is correlative with the eastern intrabatholithic break (EIB) of Saleeby and Busby (1993). Not all known locations of Independence dikes are indicated. Instead, patterned areas show only the densest parts of the dike swarm as defi ned by Glazner et al. (2003). AR—Argus Range; CR—Coso Range; IR—Inyo Range; WM—White Mountains

    • Bacon and Pezzopane used trench excavations across earthquake faults to construct a prehistoric earthquake history for the Owens Valley fault. Below is their tectonic map for the region.

    • (A) Map of major Quaternary faults in the northern Eastern California shear zone and southern and central Walker Lane, as well as the locations of the Owens Valley fault. Faults are modified from Reheis and Dixon (1996) and Wesnousky (2005)

      (B) Generalized fault and geology map of south-central Owens Valley, showing the A.D. 1872 Owens Valley fault rupture and major fault zones in the valley (modified from Hollett et al. [1991] and Beanland and Clark [1994]).

      (For fault abbreviations, see their paper.)

    • This map shows a more detailed view of the Owens Valley fault and the Owens Lake topography (Bacon and Pezzopane, 2007).

    • Shaded relief map of southern Owens Valley showing fault zones and the ages of the most recent prominent highstands and recessional shorelines of Owens Lake during the latest Quaternary (modified from Bacon et al., 2006).

    • This map shows the Bacon and Pezzopane (2007) field sites.

    • Map of the field area and locations of paleoseismic study sites in relation to the A.D. 1872 Owens Valley earthquake fault trace near Lone Pine. Study sites are located on the Alabama Hills (AHS), Diaz Lake (DLS), and Manzanar (MZS) sections of the Owens Valley fault zone mapped by Bryant (1988) and Beanland and Clark (1994) from 1:12,000 aerial photographs.

    • An essential part of any earthquake fault investigation is knowledge about the geologic units that are offset by the fault. Bacon and Pezzopane (2007) also described and interpreted the sediment stratigraphy in southern Owens Valley as part of their research.

    • Schematic composite stratigraphic column. The generalized stratigraphic and geochronologic relations, developed from exposures at the Alabama Gates and Quaker paleoseismic sites and Owens River bluffs near Lone Pine (Bacon et al., 2006), show the positions of radiocarbon dates, sequence boundaries, and event chronologies as discussed in the text.

    • The geologic method (McCalpin, 1996) is based on the offset of geologic materials like sedimentary deposits or bedrock lithologic units. Below are trench logs showing the geologic units that Bacon and Pezzopane (2007) use to infer an earthquake history. Geologic evidence is “primary” evidence for earthquakes.

    • Here is a time series showing the sedimentary and earthquake history as interpreted by Bacon and Pezzopane (2007).

    • Schematic depiction of stratigraphy and structural relations at the Quaker paleoseismic site prior to the penultimate event and after the A.D. 1872 earthquake (depictions A–H). The stratigraphy and structure exposed in trench T5 (Fig. 7) was retrodeformed and reconstructed one event at a time (while also accounting for other stratigraphic and
      paleoseismic relations exposed in adjacent fault trenches and stratigraphic pits). The locations of sequence boundaries (SB0–SB4) are shown and can be referenced on Figure 5.

    • Haddon et al. (2013) compiled fault offset measurements and presented a summary here, showing the slip distribution along the fault (along strike). The measurements plotted below represent measurements of offsets of features as measured in high resolution LiDAR topographic data. They separate data into lateral offset (the amount of strike-slip relative motion) and throw offset (the amount of normal relative motion, from extension).
    • We can see that the fault has both strike-slip and normal offsets, with strike-slip the dominant relative motion.

    • Compilation of small geomorphic offsets measured from lidar using LaDiCaoz_v2 along average OVF strike (3408) (supporting information Tables S2 and S3). Data include confidence ratings of low-moderate to high and omit net values determined by summing. Gray error bars show uncertainty limits determined visually from back-slipping. (a) The spatial distribution of OVF scarps (red lines) mapped from EarthScope lidar and classified by Owens Valley fault section (orange and black points), following previous mapping by Beanland and Clark [1994], Bryant [1984a, 1984b], and Slemmons et al. [2008]. Nearby faults are taken from the U.S. Geological Survey Quaternary fault and fold database. From south to north: DS, Dirty Socks; OL, Owens Lake; LP, Lone Pine fault; DL, Diaz Lake; IS, southern Independence; MF, Manzanar fault; I, Independence; T, Tinemaha; TW, western Tinemaha; FS, Fish Springs; BP, Big Pine; K, Keough section of Sierra Nevada frontal fault (SNNF), KLF, Klondike Lake fault; KSF, Klondike Springs fault; WMF, White Mountain fault. (b) Right-lateral offset measurements symbolized by fault section include previously reported values (orange diamonds) from Bateman [1961], Lubetkin and Clark [1988], Beanland and Clark [1994], Lee et al. [2001a], Zehfuss et al. [2001], and Slemmons et al. [2008]. (c) Along-strike compilation of measured vertical throw. Throw is predominantly east-down, with negative values indicative of downward motion to the west.

    • This is a spectacular plot showing the along-strike variation in offset measurements.

    • Frequency distributions and cumulative offset probability density (COPD) plots for lateral and vertical offsets, compiled using bin sizes of 1 and 0.25 m, respectively (supporting information Tables S2 and S3). Histograms omit uncertainties, whereas COPD plots incorporate PDFs generated by the cross-correlation routine and truncated based on the range of uncertainty from back-slipping. Data are color-coded according to major sections of the OVF. (a) Scarps along the southern, central, and northern sections of the OVF relative to volcanic flows (purple) and a few representative elevation contours, generally corresponding to recognized pluviallacustrine features (#1–4) [Bacon et al., 2006; Jayko and Bacon, 2008; Bacon et al., 2013; Bacon et al., 2014]. Age estimates for features documented near (1) 1180 m, (2) 1162 m, (3) 1131 m, and (4) 1101 m are 160632 ka [Jayko and Bacon, 2008], 23,230–26,250 cal yr BP [Bacon et al., 2006], 15,870–16,230 cal yr BP [Bacon et al., 2014], and 300630 to 400630 yr BP [Bacon et al., 2013], respectively. Green points mark surface slip measurements based on geomorphic features. CM, Crater Mountain. Volcanic flows are from the California Geological Survey. (b–e) Optimum offset values for the southern (yellow), central (blue), and northern (red) sections are grouped and shaded by confidence rating. COPD plots use moderate to high confidence offsets and incorporate summed values.

    • Here is the plot from Haddon et al. (2013) that shows a summary of their displacement measurements from the Owens Valley and Lone Pine faults. The lower panel shows these measurements combined.

    • Net 1872 surface slip derived from moderate to high confidence displacements plotted along subparallel strands. Gray bars reflect aggregated uncertainties from back-slipping of lidar imagery. (a) Along-strike compilation of displacement values for main traces of the OVF, as predicted by binned COPD plots. (b) Along-strike compilation of Lone Pine fault displacements. (c) Summed distributions (red lines) for possible net 1872 surface slip along a simplified
      fault plane striking 3408 and dipping 808 northeast. The maximum implied displacement is between 7 and 11 m and reflects the average of four high values. The net slip averages 4.461.5 m based on a 5-km binned average that incorporates graphical values for gaps between higher confidence data.

    • Here is their summary map showing slip rates for each of the faults used in their study (Haddon et al., 2013).

    • Compilation of reported slip rates in mm/yr on active faults in the southern Walker Lane (modified from Foy et al. [2012]) with rspect to the geodetic rate across the zone derived from the global positioning system and the relative motion of the Sierra Nevada– Great Valley microplate [Lifton et al., 2013]. Geologic slip rate studies, from south to north: Amos et al. [2013b], (this study), Oswald and Wesnousky [2002], Frankel et al. [2007a,b], Lubetkin and Clark [1988], Reheis and Sawyer [1997], Lee et al. [2001b], Ganev et al. [2010], Kirby et al. [2006], and Nagorsen-Rinke et al. [2013]. Faults listed alphabetically: AHF, Adobe Hills fault; ALF, Airport Lake fault; BMF, Black Mountain fault; DSF, Deep Springs fault; FCF, Furnace Creek fault; FLVF, Fish Lake Valley fault; HMF, Hunter Mountain fault; LLF, Little Lake fault; OVF, Owens Valley fault; NDVF, Northern Death Valley fault; PVF, Panamint Valley fault; QVF, Queen Valley fault; SAF, San Andreas fault; SNFF, Sierra Nevada frontal fault; SVF, Saline Valley fault; WMF, White Mountain fault.

    • Dr. Steve Bacon was first infected with the quest for knowledge about the tectonics of the Owens Valley when he attended the 1997 Pacific Cell Friends of the Pleistocene field trip to Owens Valley. IF anyone has a scan of the 1997 Owens Valley guidebook, please contact me.
    • Dr. Bacon chose to study the Owens Valley fault for his Masters Thesis work at Humboldt State University, Department of Geology. I was lucky enough to help him do some of this work as I was also attending HSU at the time. I also remembering how another researcher had failed to listed to Steve, yet they published a paper where they measured post-earthquake features as it they were offset during the earthquake. The peer review process is imperfect sometimes.
    • Being a sediment stratigrapher, I appreciate the fact that the key preface to consducting a paleoseismic investigation is developing knowledge about the stratigraphy in the region. This was a major part of Dr. Bacon’s research. Please read more about his analysis of the lake level variations for the past 50,000 years in the Owens Lake in his recently published article (Bacon et al., 2020) listed in the references.
    • Here is the Bacon et al. (2019) overview map that shows the spatial extent of the 1872 Owens Valley fault earthquake rupture.

    • Map of primary faults and rocks of the Big Pine volcanic field in south-central Owens Valley. The A.D. 1872 Owens Valley fault rupture and fault segments of the OVF and SNFF are shown (modified from Bacon and Pezzopane, 2007). Faults: CFF—Centennial Flat fault; KF—Keeler fault; ORF—Owens River fault; SFF—Sage Flat fault. Numbers show sites on OVF referred to in text of: 1—Kirby et al. (2008); 2—Lee et al. (2001); and 3—Bacon and Pezzopane (2007).

    • Here is a map showing the detailed faults in the Owens Lake area, which is the focus of their study (Bacon et al., 2019). These authors used the geometric position of geomorphic features (like shorelines), along with numerical ages of those features (the time that they formed), to calculate long term slip rates for these faults.

    • Map of primary faults in Owens Lake basin and elevations of deformed shoreline features (∼1156–1166 m) used to estimate the magnitude of ground deformation and slip rates across faults in the lake basin. Faults are modified after Bacon et al. (2005) and Slemmons et al. (2008). Faults: CFF—Centennial Flat fault; COLF—Central Owens Lake fault; IMF—Inyo Mountains fault; KF—Keeler fault; ORF—Owens River fault; OVF—Owens Valley fault; SIMF—southern Inyo Mountains fault; and SNFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault. The location of the Sage Flat fault (SFF) after Jayko (2009) and Amos et al. (2013a) is also shown. Plunging anticlines from Frankel et al. (2008). Reference elevation contours at 1096 and 1160 m represent the margin of Owens Lake playa and the approximate location of ca. 40.0 ka shoreline features, respectively. Modern sill is also shown relative to the 1160 m elevation that defines the overflow channel of the basin. Sediment lake core OL92 of Smith and Bischoff (1997) is shown relative to the depocenter area of the lake basin. Approximate location of transect for repeat leveling surveys near Lone Pine of Savage and Lisowski (1980, 1995) is also shown. K—town of Keeler; S—Swansea embayment; O—town of Olancha.

    • This is a summary of fault characteristics as presented by Bacon et al. (2019). Dip-slip rate is the slip rate as measured up and down along the fault (in the direction that water would drip if it were placed on the fault). The extension rate is the slip rate measured horizontally in the same direction.

    • Here is another map of the Owens Lake area, showing these slip rates and cross section locations for sections shown below (Bacon et al., 2019).

    • Generalized fault map of Owens Lake basin showing slip rates from this study and previous investigations. Faults: CFF—Centennial Flat fault; COLF—Central Owens Lake fault; IMF—Inyo Mountains fault; KF—Keeler fault; ORF—Owens River fault; OVF—Owens Valley fault; SFF—Sage Flat fault; SIMF—southern Inyo Mountains fault; SNFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault. Extension direction at N72°E normal to Owens Valley is shown with geologic extension rate from this study and geodetic extension rates from trilateration networks in the valley (Savage and Lisowski, 1995) and GPS arrays across northern Owens Valley (Ganev et al., 2010a). The location of transects A–A′, B–B′, and C–C′ used in cross sections are shown. K—town of Keeler; S—Swansea embayment.

    • Here are the cross sections showing the faults as these authors (Bacon et al., 2019) interpret their geometry in the subsurface.

    • Cross sections showing orientation of faults and sense of slip, and reconstructed water levels of the ca. 40 ka highstand pluvial lake in Owens Lake basin. Faults: CFF—Centennial Flat fault; COLF—Central Owens Lake fault; IMF—Inyo Mountains fault; KF—Keeler fault; ORF—Owens River fault; OVF—Owens Valley fault; SFF—Sage Flat fault; SIMF—southern Inyo Mountains fault; SNFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault. Fault orientations are apparent dip based on fault strike across transects. Inferred locations of IMF and SIMF on transect A–A′ are from Pakiser et al. (1964) and Bacon et al. (2005).

    • Here is a figure that shows a summary of their analysis (Bacon et al., 2019). Read the caption below to help yourself to understand this figure. It is complicated, but simple at the same time. Read their paper to learn more about this comprehensive and amazing research.

    • Plots showing the elevation of: (A) deformed ca. 40 ka shoreline features and lowstand beach ridge deposits, and (B) ca. 15 cal k.y. B.P. shorelines features and deformed fluvial-deltaic deposits. The elevation of shoreline features and deposits are projected onto transect B–B′ and shown in relation to the generalized location of faults in Owens Lake basin (Fig. 9). Magnitude of ground deformation shown is ∼10 m subsidence relative to the ca. 40 ka reconstructed water level (i.e., paleohorizontal datum) and ∼3.6 m fault separation on the Keeler fault of the ca. 40 ka beach ridge crests. The elevation and age of fluvial deltaic deposits on the hanging wall of the Owens Valley fault are from paleoseismic fault trench data (Bacon and Pezzopane, 2007). Faults: CFF—Centennial Flat fault; COLF— Central Owens Lake fault; KF—Keeler fault; ORF—Owens River fault; OVF—Owens Valley fault; SIMF—southern Inyo Mountains fault; NFF—Sierra Nevada frontal fault. Actual dips of faults are not shown. Vertical sense of slip is indicated by arrows. Lateral slip is indicated by crosses (away) and dots (toward). The elevation errors from GPS survey of shoreline features and deposits are less than width of symbols.

      Background Literature – Earthquake History

      • Here are the results of the paleoseismic (prehistoric earthquake history) investigation for the Owens Valley fault (Bacon and Pezzopane, 2007).

      • Fault segmentation and section map of central and southern Owens Valley showing overlap and possible distributive faulting and linkage between the northern segment of the Owens Valley fault (OVF) and southern White Mountains fault (WMF) near Big Pine. The trace of the A.D. Owens Valley fault rupture and section boundaries of Beanland and Clark (1994) and segment boundaries of dePolo et al. (1991) are shown in relation to the central and southern White Mountains fault and the location of the Black Mountain rupture of dePolo (1989). RRF—Red Ridge fault; LP—Lone Pine; I—Independence; BP—Big Pine; OSL—optically stimulated luminescence; PE—Penultimate event; APE—antepenultimate event; MRE—most recent event.

        San Andreas plate boundary


        General Overview

      • 1906.04.18 M 7.9 San Francisco
      • Earthquake Reports

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          References:

          Basic & General References

        • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
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        • Specific References

        • Amos, C.B., Bwonlee, S.J., Hood, D.H., Fisher, G.B., Bürgmann, R., Renne, P.R., and Jayko, A.S., 2013. Chronology of tectonic, geomorphic, and volcanic interactions and the tempo of fault slip near Little Lake, California in GSA Bulletin, v. 125, no. 7-8, https://doi.org/10.1130/B30803.1
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        • Bacon, S.N. and Pezzopane, S.K., 2007. A 25,000-year record of earthquakes on the Owens Valley fault near Lone Pine, California: Implications for recurrence intervals, slip rates, and segmentation models in GSA Bulletin, v. 119, no. 7/8, p. 823-847, https://doi.org/10.1130/B25879.1
        • Bacon, S.N., Bullard, T.F., Keen-Zebert, A.K., Jayko, A.S., and Decker, D.L., 2019. Spatiotemporal patterns of distributed slip in southern Owens Valley indicated by deformation of late Pleistocene shorelines, eastern California in GSA Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1130/B35247.1
        • Bason, S.N., Jaylo, A.S., Owen, L.A., Lindvall, S.C., Rhodes, E.J., Shumer, R.A., and Decker, D.L., 2010. A 50,000-year record of lake-level variations and overflow from Owens Lake, eastern California, USA in Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 238, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106312
        • Bakun, W.H., Ralph A. Haugerud, Margaret G. Hopper, Ruth S. Ludwin, 2002. The December 1872 Washington State Earthquake in BSSA, v. 92, no. 8., https://doi.org/10.1785/0120010274
        • Brocher, T., Margaret G. Hopper, S.T. Ted Algermissen, David M. Perkins, Stanley R. Brockman, and Edouard P. Arnold, 2048. Aftershocks, Earthquake Effects, and the Location of the Large 14 December 1872 Earthquake near Entiat, Central Washington in BSSA, v. 108, no. 1., https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170224
        • Chuang, R.Y. and Johnson, K.M., 2011. Reconciling geologic and geodetic model fault slip-rate discrepancies in Southern California: Consideration of nonsteady mantle flow and lower crustal fault creep in Geology, v. 39, no. 7, p. 627630, https://doi.org/10.1130/G32120.1
        • Dawson, T. E., S. F. McGill, and T. K. Rockwell, Irregular recurrence of paleoearthquakes along the central Garlock fault near El Paso Peaks, California, J. Geophys. Res., 108(B7), 2356, https://doi.org/10.1029/2001JB001744, 2003.
        • Dixon, T.H., Norabuena, E., and Hotaling, L., 2003. Paleoseismology and Global Positioning System: Earthquake-cycle effects and geodetic versus geologic fault slip rates in the Eastern California shear zone in Geology, v. 31, no. 1., p. 55-58,
        • Frankel, K.L., Glazner, A.F., Kirby, E., Monastero, F.C., Strane, M.D., Oskin, M.E., Unruh, J.R., Walker, J.D., Anandakrishnan, S., Bartley, J.M., Coleman, D.S., Dolan, J.F., Finkel, R.C., Greene, D., Kylander-Clark, A., Morrero, S., Owen, L.A., and Phillips, F., 2008, Active tectonics of the eastern California shear zone, in Duebendorfer, E.M., and Smith, E.I., eds., Field Guide to Plutons, Volcanoes, Faults, Reefs, Dinosaurs, and Possible Glaciation in Selected Areas of Arizona, California, and Nevada: Geological Society of America Field Guide 11, p. 43–81, doi: 10.1130/2008.fl d011(03).
        • Frankel, K.L., Glazner, A.F., Kirby, E., Monastero, F.C., Strane, M.D., Oskin, M.E., Unruh, J.R., Walker, J.D., Anandakrishnan, S., Bartley, J.M., Coleman, D.S., Dolan, J.F., Finkel, R.C., Greene, D., Kylander-Clark, A., Morrero, S., Owen, L.A., and Phillips, F., 2008, Active tectonics of the eastern California shear zone, in Duebendorfer, E.M., and Smith, E.I., eds., Field Guide to Plutons, Volcanoes, Faults, Reefs, Dinosaurs, and Possible Glaciation in Selected Areas of Arizona, California, and Nevada: Geological Society of America Field Guide 11, p. 43–81, doi: 10.1130/2008.fl d011(03).
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        • Haddon, Elizabeth K.; Amos, Colin B.; Zielke, O.; Jayko, A. S.; and Bürgmann, R., “Surface Slip During Large Owens Valley Fault Earthquakes” (2016). Geology Faculty Publications. 99. https://cedar.wwu.edu/geology_facpubs/99
        • Kylander-Clark, A.R.C., Coleman, D.S., Glazner, A.F., and Bartley, J.M., 2005. Evidence for 65 km of dextral slip across Owens Valley, California, since 83 Ma in GSA Bulletin, v. 117, no. 7/8, https://doi.org/10.1130/B25624.1
        • Oskin, M. and Iriondo, A., 2004. Large-magnitude transient strain accumulation on the Blackwater fault, Eastern California shear zone in Geology, v. 32, no. 4, https://doi.org/10.1130/G20223.1
        • Oskin, M., L. Perg, D. Blumentritt, S. Mukhopadhyay, and A. Iriondo, 2007. Slip rate of the Calico fault: Implications for geologic versus geodetic rate discrepancy in the Eastern California Shear Zone, J. Geophys. Res., v. 112, B03402, https://doi.org/10.1029/2006JB004451
        • Oskin, M., Perg, L., Shelef, E., Strane, M., Gurney, E., Singer, B., and Zhang, X., 2008. Elevated shear zone loading rate during an earthquake cluster in eastern California in Geology, v. 36, no. 6, https://doi.org/10.1130/G24814A.1
        • Peltzer, G., Crampe, F., Hensely, S., and Rosen, P., 2001. Transient strain accumulation and fault interaction in the Eastern California shear zone in geology, v. 29, no. 11
        • Petersen, M.D. and Wesnousky, S.G., 1994. Review Fault Slip Rates and Earthquake Histories for Active Faults in Southern California in BSSA, v. 84, no. 5, p. 1608-1649
        • Stein, R.S., Earthquake Conversations, Scientific American, vol. 288, 72-79, January issue, 2003. Republished in: Our Ever Changing Earth, Scientific American, Special Edition, v. 15 (2), 82-89, 2005.
        • Toda, S., Stein, R. S., Richards-Dinger, K. & Bozkurt, S. Forecasting the evolution of seismicity in southern California: Animations built on earthquake stress transfer. J. Geophys. Res. 110, B05S16 (2005) https://doi.org/10.1029/2004JB003415

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