Earthquake Report: Puerto Rico!

Welcome to the next decade of the 21st century. We may look back a decade to review the second most deadly earthquake in the 21st century, from the magnitude M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake on 12 Jan 2010. I put together an overview of this event sequence here.

Since late December, southwestern Puerto Rico has seen a sequence of smaller (M3-5) earthquakes, culminating with the 29 Dec 2019 M 5 which later turned out to be a foreshock (there was also a M 4.7 that was a foreshock to the M5). Then on 6 Jan, there was a M 5.8, which was now the mainshock. Then, on the following day, there was the real mainshock, the M 6.4. Lots of other earthquakes too. The largest aftershock was the M 5.9 on 11 Jan. Below I include some comparisons for the M 6.4 and M 5.9 quakes.

Here is a plot showing the cumulative energy release from this sequence. I used the USGS NEIC earthquake catalog for events M≥0. Time is on the horizontal axis and energy release (in joules) on the vertical axis. For every earthquake, the plot steps up relative to the energy released by that quake.


These earthquakes in Puerto Rico have been deadly and damaging. Many structures there are constructed with soft stories on the ground level (the buildings are uplifted to mitigate hurricane flood hazards). Unfortunately, these soft story structures don’t perform well when subjected to earthquake shaking. Thus, there have been many structure collapses. Luckily, there have been only a few deaths. While we may all agree that having no deaths is best, there could have been more.

The M 6.4 even generated a small tsunami. This was localized and was observed clearly on only one tide gage (The Magueyes Island gage).

Here is the tsunami record, along with a map showing the location of the tide gage in southwestern Puerto Rico. These data are from a site that is my “go-to” website for looking for tsunami in tide gage data. I generally look here first.


USGS Earthquake Event Pages

The latest aftershock forecast was tweeted here. I hope people follow this link to stay up to date on these forecasts.

Here is a screenshot of the forecast updated today (12 Jan 2020). Head to the USGS site to stay up to date.


  • Speaking of aftershocks, here is a tweet that discusses what aftershocks and how we use the temporal distribution of earthquake size to distinguish between a typical foreshock-mainshock-aftershock sequence.
  • The graphic below was prepared by the Swiss Seismological Service and ETH Zurich for their discussion about these two phenomena. There is probably a continuum between these two, but there was some debate about this on the twitterverse today.

  • In so-called ‘earthquake swarms’, numerous earthquakes occur locally over an extended period without a clear sequence of foreshocks, main quakes and aftershocks. The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) registers several of earthquakes swarms every year. They are therefore nothing extraordinary. Swarms usually end after a few days or months. Only seldom does the strength and number of earthquakes increase over time or do occur single, damaging events. How an earthquake swarm develops over time is just as difficult to predict as earthquakes are in general.

    Many earthquake swarms occur in regions with complex contiguous fracture systems. The theory is that they are related to the movement of fluid gases and liquids in the Earth’s crust.

  • Now compare with this figure from Dr. Kasey Aderhold. Dr. Aderhold put this together to compare these earthquakes with the figure above. Sr. Aderhold is who shared that link on social media (in social media section below).

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 2 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 5.0.
  • 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.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.
  • Here is the map with 2 month’s seismicity plotted.
  • I digitized Bruna et al. (2015) fault lines. To the southeast of the M 6.4 there is mapped a northeast striking (trending) normal fault that dips to the northwest. This seemed to be the best candidate as a source for the M 6.4 earthquake. The earliest earthquakes were strike-slip oblique-normal events, so initially I thought this was a strike-slip sequence. But, as quakes kept happening, they had more extensional mechanisms.
  • To the east of the hypothetical M 6.4 source normal fault there are 2 pairs of opposing normal faults. These look typical of a transtension configuration (a strike-slip fault setting with fault geometry that includes extension parallel to the strike-slip faults). These 2 pairs of faults appear to be forming tectonic basins. The M 6.4 hypothetical source fault does not have a mapped counterpart, but the location of that hypothetical counterpart would be close to the shoreline (so could have been missed by the marine geologists who mapped the other faults further offshore).
  • Below these interpretive posters, I include an animation from Dr. Anthony Lomax below that shows a better view of this hypothetical fault geometry.

  • This is an earlier poster from 7 Jan, which has a couple inset figures.
    • In the upper left corner is a tectonic overview map from Symithe et al. (2015). I placed a blue star where the M 6.4 is located.
    • In the upper right corner is a regional-scale earthquake fault map from Bruna et al. (2015). The blue star appears again.
    • In the lower right corner I show the Bruna map with seismicity plotted. I georeferenced the Bruna map and labeled some of the faults mapped by Bruna et al. (2015).


  • This is the interpretation poster from the 29 December 2019 M 5.0 earthquake. I included the earthquake from a more zoomed out (small scale) view.
  • In the upper left corner is a general view of the faults in Puerto Rico (Piety et al., 2018). I placed a blue star in the location of the M 6.4 earthquake. There are many more faults plotted in the upper right figure from Bruna et al. (2015).
  • The M 6.4 was the most damaging earthquake in Puerto Rico since the 1918 earthquake as shown on this poster. Note how both the 2020 M 6.4 and the 1918 M 7.1 were normal type (extensional) earthquakes.

  • Here is the interpretive poster for the 2010 Haiti M 7.0 earthquake. Check out how there are more tectonic basins to the west of Puerto Rico.

  • Here is the animation from Dr. Anthony Lomax. He states that he “relocated seismicity M1.0+ using Lin & Huérfano 2011 Min 1D model & NonLinLoc-EDT with station corrections. The animation shows seismicity aligned to dip to the northwest.” This matches the hypothetical source fault mapped by Bruna et al. (2015). VERY COOL!

Background Information

  • Here is the tectonic map from Symithe et al. (2015). Puerto Rico is in a place where the plate boundary between the North America and Caribbean plates transitions from subduction (to the east, the Lesser Antilles) to transform (to the west, the Greater Antilles). The Lesser Antilles Great (M>8) earthquake recurrence appears to be several thousand years (based on turbidite stratigraphy from our 2016 cruise). We currently don’t know how far west of the Aves Ridge that subduction zone earthquakes happen. It is possible, but the convergence is highly oblique, similar to the northern part of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone earthquake. Interestingly, there is a series of spreading ridges and transform faults to the east of the Sunda trench (in the Andaman Sea), just like there are the same features to the west of the Greater Antilles (e.g. the Cayman Trough).

  • Seismotectonic setting of the Caribbean region. Black lines show the major active plate boundary faults. Colored circles are precisely relocated seismicity [1960–2008, Engdahl et al., 1998] color coded as a function of depth. Earthquake focal mechanism are from the Global CMT Catalog (1976–2014) [Ekstrom et al., 2012], thrust focal mechanisms are shown in blue, others in red. H = Haiti, DR = Dominican Republic, MCS = mid-Cayman spreading center, WP = Windward Passage, EPGF = Enriquillo Plaintain Garden fault

  • This is another map showing earthquake history, fault location, and earthquake slip direction from Calais et al. (2016). Note how the relative plate motion near Puerto Rico is oriented parallel to the plate boundary (the Puerto Rico trench). This suggests that most of the plate motion would result in strike-slip earthquakes. However, the relative motion is oblique, so subduction zone earthquakes are still possibble.

  • Seismicity and kinematics of the NE Caribbean. The inset shows Caribbean and surrounding plates, red arrows show relative motions in cm/yr: a: NEIC seismicity 1974–2015 is shown with circles colored as a function of depth, stars show large (M > 7) instrumental and historical earthquakes; b: red and blue bars show earthquake slip vector directions derived from the gCMT database [www.globalcmt.org], black arrows show the present-day relative motion of the NA plate with respect to the Caribbean.

  • Here are some figures from Bruna et al. (2015). First I present their tectonic overview figure.

  • Contoured bathymetry map of the northeastern Caribbean showing a summarized tectonic setting. Isobaths based on satellite-derived bathymetry gridded at 1 arcminute intervals (Smith and Sandwell, 1997) using the free software Generic Mapping Tools (GMT; Wessel and Smith, 1998). The purple dashed rectangle marks the study area. Thick green arrows show the relative convergence motion between the North American and the Caribbean plates. GPS-derived velocities with respect to the North American plate are shown with thin red arrows, the arrow length being proportional to the displacement rate (Manaker et al., 2008). Error ellipse for each vector represents two-dimensional error, 95% confidence limit. The thick blue dashed line marks the Hispaniola-PRVI block boundary as suggested by ten Brink and Lopez-Venegas (2012). The green area shows the extension of the Muertos thrust belt (Granja Bru~na et al., 2009, 2014, this study). NOAM ¼ North American. CARIB ¼ Caribbean. EPGFZ ¼ Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone. SFZ ¼ Septentrional fault zone. BF ¼ Bunce fault. SB ¼ Sombrero basin. PRVI BLOCK ¼ Puerto RicoeVirgin Islands block. VIB ¼ Virgin Islands basin. MR ¼ Mona rift. IFZ ¼ Investigator fault zone. JS ¼ Jaguey spur. SCR ¼ St. Croix rise. SCI ¼ St. Croix Island. The inset map shows GPS-derived velocities with respect to St. Croix Island (SCI), the arrow length being proportional to the displacement rate (ten Brink and Lopez-Venegas, 2012). Error ellipse for each vector represents two-dimensional error, 95% confidence limit. MI ¼ Mona Island. CI ¼ Culebra Island. STI ¼ St. Thomas Island. AI ¼ Anegada Island. SCI ¼ St. Croix Island. IFZ ¼ Investigator fault zone.

  • Here is a map that shows the major earthquake faults in Puerto Rico (Piety et al., 2018). There are many more.

  • Map of Puerto Rico showing known and possible Quaternary-active faults. Well-located faults are shown by solid lines; inferred fault locations are shown by dashed lines. The northwest end of the Great Southern Puerto Rico fault zone (GSPRFZ) likely follows the Cerro Goden fault, but an alternative location shown by Jansma et al. (2000) and Jansma and Mattioli (2005) is indicated by the dashed lines. The GSPRFZ is shown by double lines because the fault zone mapped in bedrock is up to 2 km wide. Map base is a digital elevation model (DEM) created from 30-m (∼1 arcsec) National Elevation Dataset (NED) (see Data and Resources). Bathymetric contours are from ten Brink et al. (2004).

  • This is the fault map that I used to digitize fault data in my posters above (Bruna et al., 2015). These faults were mapped using bathymetric mapping and seismic reflection analyses.

  • Regional morphotectonic interpretation. Faults picked from the seismic data and correlated along strike with the aid of swath bathymetry data. Thick orange lines mark the major onshore structures (GSPRFZ ¼ Great Southern Puerto Rico fault zone; LVF ¼ Lajas Valley fault). Thin orange lines show the faults mapped by Bawiec (1999). FC ¼ Frederickted canyon. WIFZ ¼ Western sector of the Investigator fault zone. CIFZ ¼ Central sector of the Investigator fault zone. EIFZ ¼ Eastern sector of the Investigator fault zone. PF ¼ Ponce fault. BTF ¼ Bajo Tasmanian fault. CMF ¼ Caja de Muertos fault. CF ¼ Central fault. MPC ¼ Mona passage canyon. R ¼ Recess. S ¼ Salient in the deformation front. Ss ¼ Salient in the deformation front referred in Section 4.1. JP ¼ Jungfern passage. WC ¼ Whiting canyon. VC ¼ Vieques canyon. Z ¼ Bench in the northern flank of St. Croix rise. PRSBF ¼ Puerto Rican sub-basin fault. RR ¼ Relay ramp.W¼ Canyon referred to in Section 4.4.3. Q ¼ 080-oriented fault in Section 4.4.3. T ¼ possible source of the 1867 earthquake (Barkan and ten Brink, 2010) referred in Section 5.2.

  • This plot shows the GPS observations in the Caribbean. Symithe et al. (2015) used these data to estimate the amount of seismogenic coupling (how much the faults are “locked”) in the region.

  • (top) GPS velocities used in the model shown with respect to the North American plate defined by the velocity of 25 GPS sites located in the stable interior of the plate [Calais et al., 2006]. (bottom) GPS velocities shown with respect to the Caribbean plate as defined in the best fit block model described in the text. Error ellipses are 95% confidence. Blue arrows show GPS velocities from Pérez et al. [2001] in Venezuela because of their large uncertainty and the lack of common sites with our solution, which prevents us from rigorously combining them to our solution. They are not used in the model but used to show that they are consistent with the rest of the velocity field.

  • This map shows cross sections of seismicity in the region (Symithe et al., 2015). The profile for Puerto Rico is B-B.’ Note that subduction from the north is reasonable given the seismicity, while subduction from the south is not supported by the seismicity. Recall that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and that the Cascadia subduction zone lacks seismicity but we have a 10,000 year record of megathrust subduction zone earthquakes there. In other words, just because there is no seismicity, that does not mean that there is no active subduction potentially leading to subduction zone type earthquakes.

  • Earthquake focal mechanisms [Ekstrom et al., 2012] and locations [Engdahl et al., 1998] along the subduction interface and cross sections showing with a thick black line the position of the Caribbean-North America plate interface used in the model. Other faults are shown with thick dashed black lines. SF = Septentrional fault, PRT = Puerto Rico trench, MT = Muertos trench, LAT = Lesser Antilles trench, NHT = Northern Hispaniola trench. White dots on the map (top) show the vertices of the triangles used to discretize the subduction interface. Grey lines on cross section show the bathymetry with significant vertical exaggeration compared to the earthquake depth scale. The area used for each cross
    section is shown by a black rectangle on the top map.

  • Here is another hypothetical view of the plate configuration from Xu et al. (2015). Note the regions of extension, one to the northwest of Puerto Rico (the Mona Rift, which also just had a large earthquake near the 1918 quake) and the Anegada Passage (AP).

  • Hypothesized model of the tectonic relationships. The PRVI sits between two subducting slabs; the dip angles of the two subducting slabs increase from east to west. The North American Plate splits in the eastern PRVI (modified after ten Brink, 2005). North arrow is black. Red arrows show the directions of movement for the PRVI and Hispaniola microplate with respect to the North American Plate. The light grey area at the centre is above 2 km bathymetry line. PRVI, Puerto Rico Virgin Islands; AP, Anegada Passage

  • Speaking of the recent quake in the Mona Rift, here is my interpretive poster for that sequence. As we saw in Xu et al. (2015), the Mona Rift is an area where the crust is stretching in an east-west direction. The 1918 M 7.1 earthquake and the 24 September 2019 M 6.0 Mona Rift earthquakes are extensional in an east-west direction. There were about 100 fatalities and there was millions of dollars of damage. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network has a review page for the 1918 earthquake.

  • Here are some plots showing GPS motion rates relative to topography and seismicity in the region (Symithe et al., 2015).
  • First, look at the profile that crosses Haiti, A-A’ (south to north, from left to right).The profile for Haiti clearly shows steps in the GPS velocity profiles. This is evidence for strike-slip faults as tectonic strain from relative plate motions is accumulated along fault boundaries, there are steps in the plate motion rates. These steps are located where the profile crosses two major strike slip faults in Haiti.
  • Next look at profile B-B’ which crosses Puerto Rico. There is no observed strike-slip strain accumulating in Puerto Rico, except there is a step in the north, far offshore of Puerto Rico. There exist several major active strike-slip faults in Puerto Rico, but they are not found in these geodetic data (PIety et al., 2018).

  • Sections across the Lesser and Greater Antilles subduction showing topography (grey line), earthquake hypocenter [Engdahl et al., 1998], velocity magnitude at the GPS sites (red circles with 95% confidence error bar), velocity predicted by the best fit model (solid red line), and velocity predicted by a forward model where we impose full coupling on the subduction interface (dashed blue line). The misfit of the data to a fully locked plate interface is apparent on the three Lesser Antilles cross sections.

  • This is a larger scale view of GPS site motion in the region from Calais et al. (2016).

  • Velocities at selected GPS sites in the NE Caribbean shown with respect to the Caribbean plate (a) and to the North American plate (b). Error ellipses are 95% confidence.

  • While this does not implicate these earthquake sequence, it helps us get a comprehensive view of the tectonics of Puerto Rico. First I show the faults used in their model, then I show the figure showing how much these authors estimate that the faults are locked.

  • Block geometry used in the models tested. Solid black lines show the block boundaries for the best fit model, thick dashed lines show other tested block boundaries. NHIS = North Hispaniola, PRVI = Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, GONA = Gonave, HISP = Hispaniola, NLAB = North Lesser Antilles Block, SJAM = South Jamaica. CARW = Caribbean West, CARE = Caribbean East, NVEN = North Venezuela, MARA = Maracaibo, ANDE = Andes, HFBT = Hispaniola fault and thrust belt, NMF = Neiba-Matheux thrust, SJF = South Jamaica fault. Thin dashed lines are depth contours of the subduction interface used in the model, derived from the earthquake hypocenters cross sections shown in Figure 4.


    Coupling ratio estimated along the Greater-Lesser Antilles subduction interface estimated on the discretized plate interface also shown in Figure 4. Residual velocities are shown with black arrows. We omitted their error ellipses for a sake of readability. The thin dashed line indicates the boundary of the Bahamas Platform. Note the coincidence between the transition from coupled to uncoupled plate interface with the transition from Bahamas Platform collision to oceanic subduction at the Puerto Rico trench.

  • Here is another view of plate coupling for the region from Manaker et al. (2008). Apologies for the resolution as this may remind us all to provide high quality figures to the publisher of our journal articles.

  • Fault slip rates and slip rate deficit from the best-fit model. Open circles represent the surface projection of fault nodes. Heavy black lines show the model block boundaries. Vertical faults are shown to the right of each main figure. (a) Fault slip rates (mm yr−1). (b) Slip rate deficit (mm yr−1).

Tectonic Strain and Seismic Hazard

  • As the tectonic plates move relative to each other, and stuck earthquake faults resist this motion, the crust surrounding and including these faults can deform to change shape and volume. This change in shape or volume is called strain.
  • Regions of high tectonic strain are areas that are changing shape or volume more than in areas of low strain. The map below shows a Global Strain Rate Map for the region (Kreemer et al., 2014).

  • These figures show the chance of the region will experience ground shaking over a period of 50 years (the life of a building) from Mueller et al. (2010). These maps show the chance that a region will shake with a given acceleration (units are in percent g, where g = gravity; if the ground shakes with accelleration exceeding 100% g, then rocks and other things can be thrown into the air).
  • Many of us are familiar with the concept of the 100 year flood, a flood that may occur every 100 years on average. However, there could be more than one 100 year flood in a year because it is just a statistical average that can change with time. The same is true for earthquake statistics.
  • Basically, the 2% in 50 year map represents the 250 year earthquake. The 10% in 50 year map represents a 500 year earthquake.
  • Read more about the statistics used in these seismic hazard maps here.
  • The USGS National Seismic Hazard Site is here.

Earthquake Shaking Intensity

  • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed comparison between the modeled intensity and the reported intensity, for both the M 6.4 and M 5.9 events. 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 polygons (color = MMI, labeled as “dyfi x.x”).
  • In the lower center are plots showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis) for each event. The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots.
  • What do you think? Do these earthquake intensity models (from the USGS) match the observations? What do you think may control how well they do or do not fit the model? What might affect ground shaking locally or regionally?

  • Here is a video from IRIS that helps us learn about what controls the shaking intensity.

Earthquake Triggered Landslides

    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.


  • Here is a map that I put together using the data available from the USGS Earthquake Event pages. More about these models can be found here.
  • The map on the left shows liquefaction susceptibility from the M 6.4 and the map on the right is for the M 5.9 earthquake. The M 6.4 event affects a much more broad region with greater intensity.
  • These models use empirical relations (earthquake data) between earthquake size, earthquake distance, and material properties of the Earth.
  • The largest assumption is that for the Earth materials. This model uses a global model for the seismic velocity in the upper 30 meters (i.e. the Vs30). This global model basically takes the topographic slope of the ground surface and converts that to Vs30. So, the model is basically based on a slope map. This is imperfect, but works moderately well at a global scale. A model based on real Earth material data would be much much better.

Surface Deformation from Remote Sensing

  • Dr. Eric Fielding used satellite data (“Interferometric Synthetic Aperture RADAR,” or “InSAR”) to estimate how much the ground surface moved. Below is the first result where red

    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

  • Bruna, J.L.G., ten Brink, U.S., Munoz-Martin, A., Carbo-Gorosabel, A., and Estrada, P.L., 2015. Shallower structure and geomorphology of the southern Puerto Rico offshore margin in Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 67, p. 30-56, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.04.014
  • Calais, E., Symithe, S., de Lepinay, B.B., Prepetit, C., 2016. Plate boundary segmentation in the northeastern Caribbean from geodetic measurements and Neogene geological observations in Comptes Rendus Geoscience, v. 348, p. 42-51, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crte.2015.10.007
  • Manaker, D.M., Calais, E., Freed, A.M., Ali, S.T., Przybylski, P., Mattioli, G., Jansma, O., Prepetit, C., de Chabalier, J.B., 2008. Interseismic Plate coupling and strain partitioning in the Northeastern Caribbean in GJI, v. 174, p. 889-903, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2008.03819.x
  • Piety, L.A., Redwine, J.R., Derouin, S.A., Prentice, C.S., Kelson, K.I., Klinger, R.E., and Mahan, S., 2018. Holocene Surface Ruptures on the Salinas Fault and Southeastern Great Southern Puerto Rico Fault Zone, South Coastal Plain of Puerto Rico in BSSA, v. 108, no. 2, p. 619-638, doi: 10.1785/0120170182
  • Symithe, S., E. Calais, J. B. de Chabalier, R. Robertson, and M. Higgins, 2015. Current block motions and strain accumulation on active faults in the Caribbean, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, 3748–3774, doi:10.1002/2014JB011779.
  • Xu, X., Keller, G.R., and Guo, X., 2015. Dip variations of the North American and North Caribbean Plates dominate the tectonic activity of Puerto Rico–Virgin Islands and adjacent areas in Geological Journal, doi: 10.1002/gj.2708

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Posted in caribbean, earthquake, education, Extension, geology, tsunami

Earthquake Report: Gorda plate

On 10 February 2010 there was an earthquake with a magnitude of M 6.5, within the Gorda plate. This event was feld widely in the region, as well as statewide. In Humboldt County, we even made t-shirts about this quake. I write this report after ten years of reflection.

The Cascadia subduction zone is formed where the Gorda and Juan de Fuca plates subduct northeastward beneath the North America plate.

The Gorda is losing the battle between the JdF plate to the north and the Pacific plate to the south, both of which are colder, older, and more dense (basically, they form a vise that is squeezing Gorda so much that it deforms internally). This internal deformation results in the formation of left lateral strike slip faults in the southern GP that form on preexisting faults (originally formed at the Gorda rise, where the Gorda plate crust is created).

In the map below, I include a transparent overlay of the magnetic anomaly data from EMAG2 (Meyer et al., 2017). As oceanic crust is formed, it inherits the magnetic field at the time. At different points through time, the magnetic polarity (north vs. south) flips, the north pole becomes the south pole. These changes in polarity can be seen when measuring the magnetic field above oceanic plates. This is one of the fundamental evidences for plate spreading at oceanic spreading ridges (like the Gorda rise).

Regions with magnetic fields aligned like today’s magnetic polarity are colored red in the EMAG2 data, while reversed polarity regions are colored blue. Regions of intermediate magnetic field are colored light purple.

Note that along the Gorda rise, the magnetic anomaly is red, showing that the spreading ridge has a normal polarity, like that of today. Prior to about 780,000 years ago, the polarity was reversed. During the Bruhnes-Matuyama magnetic polarity reversal, the polarity flipped to the way it is today. Note how as one goes away from the Gorda rise (east or west), the magnetic anomaly changes color to blue. At the boundary between red and blue is the Bruhnes-Matuyama magnetic polarity reversal. The earthquakes from today occurred within this blue region, so the oceanic crust is older than about 780,000 years old, probably older than a million years old.

The structures in the Gorda plate in this region are largely inherited from the extensional tectonic and volcanic processes at the Gorda rise. However, the Gorda plate is being pulverized by the surrounding tectonic plates. There are several interpretations about how the plate is deforming and some debate about whether the Gorda plate is even behaving like a plate. These normal fault (extensional) structures have been reactivating as left-lateral strike-slip faults as a result of this deformation. This region is called the Mendocino deformation zone (a.k.a. the Triangle of Doom).

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1919-2019 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.
  • 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 corner is a map showing the main plate boundary faults (from the Global Earthquake Model, GEM), historic seismicity (gray = 1 century, light orange = 1 year, dark orange = 1 month). The coastline is from “Natural Earth” (a source for free GIS data).
  • In the upper right corner is a map with historic seismicity (1 century) overlain upon a Global Strain Rate dataset (Kreemer et al., 2014). Red shows areas of high strain and blue represents areas of low strain. Strain is the change in shape or volume of a material. The strain in this figure is from deformation of the crust due to plate tectonics.
  • In the lower right corner is a large scale view of the seismicity plotted in the upper right corner inset map. I placed a dashed black line to represent an hypothetical fault, ~60 km long, that may have ruptured during this earthquake.
  • To the left of the strain map is a figure from Rollins and Stein (2010) that displays faults, in blue, that have ruptured historically. These authors studied how these different earthquakes may have changed the stress on faults in the region.
  • Here is the map with a month’s seismicity plotted.

Earthquake Shaking Intensity

  • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed 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 (labeled as “MMI X”). The DYFI data are plotted as colored polygons (color = MMI, labeled as “DYFI #.#”).
  • In the lower right corner is a map of the region, showing the modeled intensities, with some cities labeled.
  • In the upper right corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The USGS model is represented by the orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots.
  • On the bottom, to the right of the legend, are the DYFI results for California and Oregon. Note the area between the earthquake and Medford is slightly elevated compared to other regions of similar distance from the earthquake. This may be due to directivity in the ground motions (the fault points directly to this area of increased intensity).
  • The earthquake mechanisms that I plotted are largely from Gorda plate earthquakes, though there are a couple from the Mendocino fault. The Gorda plate is internally deforming (and some don’t even consider it to be a plate). There are faults that were formed at the Gorda Rise (as normal faults) that, due to the internal deformation, are reactivating as left-lateral strike-slip faults. Note that the Mendocino fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault.

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Here is a map of the Cascadia subduction zone, modified from Nelson et al. (2006). The Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates subduct norteastwardly beneath the North America plate at rates ranging from 29- to 45-mm/yr. Sites where evidence of past earthquakes (paleoseismology) are denoted by white dots. Where there is also evidence for past CSZ tsunami, there are black dots. These paleoseismology sites are labeled (e.g. Humboldt Bay). Some submarine paleoseismology core sites are also shown as grey dots. The two main spreading ridges are not labeled, but the northern one is the Juan de Fuca ridge (where oceanic crust is formed for the Juan de Fuca plate) and the southern one is the Gorda rise (where the oceanic crust is formed for the Gorda plate).

  • Here is a version of the CSZ cross section alone (Plafker, 1972). This shows two parts of the earthquake cycle: the interseismic part (between earthquakes) and the coseismic part (during earthquakes). Regions that experience uplift during the interseismic period tend to experience subsidence during the coseismic period.

The Gorda and Juan de Fuca plates subduct beneath the North America plate to form the Cascadia subduction zone fault system. In 1992 there was a swarm of earthquakes with the magnitude Mw 7.2 Mainshock on 4/25. Initially this earthquake was interpreted to have been on the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ). The moment tensor shows a compressional mechanism. However the two largest aftershocks on 4/26/1992 (Mw 6.5 and Mw 6.7), had strike-slip moment tensors. These two aftershocks align on what may be the eastern extension of the Mendocino fault.

There have been several series of intra-plate earthquakes in the Gorda plate. Two main shocks that I plot of this type of earthquake are the 1980 (Mw 7.2) and 2005 (Mw 7.2) earthquakes. I place orange lines approximately where the faults are that ruptured in 1980 and 2005. These are also plotted in the Rollins and Stein (2010) figure above. The Gorda plate is being deformed due to compression between the Pacific plate to the south and the Juan de Fuca plate to the north. Due to this north-south compression, the plate is deforming internally so that normal faults that formed at the spreading center (the Gorda Rise) are reactivated as left-lateral strike-slip faults. In 2014, there was another swarm of left-lateral earthquakes in the Gorda plate. I posted some material about the Gorda plate setting on this page.

  • Here is a map from Chaytor et al. (2004) that shows some details of the faulting in the region. The moment tensor (at the moment i write this) shows a north-south striking fault with a reverse or thrust faulting mechanism. While this region of faulting is dominated by strike slip faults (and most all prior earthquake moment tensors showed strike slip earthquakes), when strike slip faults bend, they can create compression (transpression) and extension (transtension). This transpressive or transtentional deformation may produce thrust/reverse earthquakes or normal fault earthquakes, respectively. The transverse ranges north of Los Angeles are an example of uplift/transpression due to the bend in the San Andreas fault in that region.

  • A: Mapped faults and fault-related ridges within Gorda plate based on basement structure and surface morphology, overlain on bathymetric contours (gray lines—250 m interval). Approximate boundaries of three structural segments are also shown. Black arrows indicated approximate location of possible northwest- trending large-scale folds. B, C: uninterpreted and interpreted enlargements of center of plate showing location of interpreted second-generation strike-slip faults and features that they appear to offset. OSC—overlapping spreading center.

  • These are the models for tectonic deformation within the Gorda plate as presented by Jason Chaytor in 2004.

  • Mw = 5 Trinidad Chaytor

    Models of brittle deformation for Gorda plate overlain on magnetic anomalies modified from Raff and Mason (1961). Models A–F were proposed prior to collection and analysis of full-plate multibeam data. Deformation model of Gulick et al. (2001) is included in model A. Model G represents modification of Stoddard’s (1987) flexural-slip model proposed in this paper.

  • In this map below, I label a number of other significant earthquakes in this Mendocino triple junction region. Another historic right-lateral earthquake on the Mendocino fault system was in 1994. There was a series of earthquakes possibly along the easternmost section of the Mendocino fault system in late January 2015, here is my post about that earthquake series.

  • Here is a map from Rollins and Stein, showing their interpretations of different historic earthquakes in the region. This was published in response to the January 2010 Gorda plate earthquake. The faults are from Chaytor et al. (2004).

  • Tectonic configuration of the Gorda deformation zone and locations and source models for 1976–2010 M ≥ 5.9 earthquakes. Letters designate chronological order of earthquakes (Table 1 and Appendix A). Plate motion vectors relative to the Pacific Plate (gray arrows in main diagram) are from Wilson [1989], with Cande and Kent’s [1995] timescale correction.

  • The surface of North America responded from the M 6.5 earthquake by moving in directions relative to the source fault.
  • On the USGS map below, the blue arrows represent the direction and amount that a GPS site moved during the earthquake. The base of the arrows represent the GPS site location. The length of the arrow represents the amount of movement. The circles represent the uncertainty (error) for each measurement.
  • One observation we can make is the direction of motion for the Trinidad GPS site (the most northwestern site) as it moves to the southwest. If we project the M 6.5 fault landward, it trends east of Trinidad. So, Trinidad is on the side of the fault (in the Gorda plate) that moved to the southwest. Because Trinidad moved to the southwest (in the same motion as the Gorda plate), this demonstrates that the Cascadia megathrust subduction zone fault is seismogenically locked.
  • We think that these areas where the fault is locked between earthquakes are the regions of the fault that slip during earthquakes.

Stress Triggering

  • When an earthquake fault slips, the crust surrounding the fault squishes and expands, deforming elastically (like in one’s underwear). These changes in shape of the crust cause earthquake fault stresses to change. These changes in stress can either increase or decrease the chance of another earthquake.
  • I wrote more about this type of earthquake triggering for Temblor here. Head over there to learn more about “static coulomb stress triggering.”
  • Rollins and Stein (2010) conducted this type of analysis for the 2010 M 6.5 Gorda Earthquake. They found that some of the faults in the region experienced an increase in fault stress (the red areas on the figure below). These changes in stress are very small, so require a fault to be at the “tipping point” for these changes in stress to cause an earthquake.
  • There was a triggered earthquake in this sequence. There was a M 5.9 event about 25 days after the mainshock, this earthquake happened in a region that saw increased stress after the M 6.5. The M 5.9 appears to have been on the same fault as the M 6.5
  • First, here is the fault model that Rollins and Stein used in their analysis of stress changes from the 2010 earthquake.

  • Source models for earthquakes S and T, 10 January 2010, M = 6.5, and 4 February 2010, Mw = 5.9.

  • Let’s take a look at some examples of analogic earthquakes to the 2010 temblor. First, here is a plot showing changes in stress following the 1980 Trinidad Earthquake (a very damaging earthquake in the region). This is the largest historic earthquake in the region at magnitude M 7.3 (other than the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake).

  • Coulomb stress changes imparted by the 1980 Mw = 7.3 earthquake (B) to a matrix of faults representing the Mendocino Fault Zone, the Cascadia subduction zone, and NE striking left‐lateral faults in the Gorda zone. The Mendocino Fault Zone is represented by right‐lateral faults whose strike rotates from 285° in the east to 270° in the west; Cascadia is represented by reverse faults striking 350° and dipping 9°; faults in the Gorda zone are represented by vertical left‐lateral faults striking 45°. The boundary between the left‐lateral “zone” and the reverse “zone” in the fault matrix is placed at the 6 km depth contour on Cascadia, approximated by extending the top edge of the Oppenheimer et al.
    [1993] model for the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake (J). Calculation depth is 5 km. The numbered brackets are groups of aftershocks from Hill et al. [1990].

  • Next let’s look at the stress changes following the 2005 M 7.2 earthquake.

  • Coulomb stress changes imparted by the Shao and Ji (2005) variable slip model for the 15 June 2005 Mw = 7.2 earthquake (P) to the epicenter of the 17 June 2005 Mw = 6.6 earthquake (Q). Calculation depth is 10 km.

  • Here is the figure we have all been waiting for (actually, the next one is cool too). This figure shows the changes in stress associated with the 2010 M 6.5 earthquake. Remember, these are just models.

  • Coulomb stress changes imparted by the D. Dreger (unpublished report, 2010, [no longer] available at http://seismo.berkeley.edu/∼dreger/jan10210_ff_summary.pdf) model for the January 2010 M = 6.5 shock (S) to nearby faults. East of the dashed line, stress changes are resolved on the Cascadia subduction zone, represented by a northward extension of the Oppenheimer et al. [1993] rupture plane for the 1992 Mw = 6.9 Cape Mendocino earthquake. West of the dashed line, stress changes are resolved on the NW striking nodal plane for the February 2010 Mw = 5.9 earthquake (T) at a depth of 23.6 km.

  • This is the main take-away figure from Rollins and Stein (2010). For each map, there is a source fault (in black) and receiver faults (red or blue, depending on the change in stress).
  • For example, in a, the source is a gorda plate left-lateral strike-slip fault. Parts of the Cascadia megathrust are represented on the right (triangles, labeled thrust). They also model changes in stress on the Mendocino fault (the red and blue lines at the bottom of “a”).

  • And, you thought it couldn’t get any better. Here is yet another fantastic figure showing the stress change on the Cascadia megathrust fault and on the Mendocino fault following the 2010 M 6.5 earthquake.


    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

  • Atwater, B.F., Musumi-Rokkaku, S., Satake, K., Tsuju, Y., Eueda, K., and Yamaguchi, D.K., 2005. The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America, USGS Professional Paper 1707, USGS, Reston, VA, 144 pp.
  • Chaytor, J.D., Goldfinger, C., Dziak, R.P., and Fox, C.G., 2004. Active deformation of the Gorda plate: Constraining deformation models with new geophysical data: Geology v. 32, p. 353-356.
  • Dengler, L.A., Moley, K.M., McPherson, R.C., Pasyanos, M., Dewey, J.W., and Murray, M., 1995. The September 1, 1994 Mendocino Fault Earthquake, California Geology, Marc/April 1995, p. 43-53.
  • Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
  • Geist, E.L. and Andrews D.J., 2000. Slip rates on San Francisco Bay area faults from anelastic deformation of the continental lithosphere, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 105, no. B11, p. 25,543-25,552.
  • Irwin, W.P., 1990. Quaternary deformation, in Wallace, R.E. (ed.), 1990, The San Andreas Fault system, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515, online at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1990/1515/
  • Lin, J., R. S. Stein, M. Meghraoui, S. Toda, A. Ayadi, C. Dorbath, and S. Belabbes (2011), Stress transfer among en echelon and opposing thrusts and tear faults: Triggering caused by the 2003 Mw = 6.9 Zemmouri, Algeria, earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B03305, doi:10.1029/2010JB007654.
  • McCrory, P.A.,. Blair, J.L., Waldhauser, F., kand Oppenheimer, D.H., 2012. Juan de Fuca slab geometry and its relation to Wadati-Benioff zone seismicity in JGR, v. 117, B09306, doi:10.1029/2012JB009407.
  • 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. doi:10.7289/V5H70CVX
  • Nelson, A.R., Asquith, A.C., and Grant, W.C., 2004. Great Earthquakes and Tsunamis of the Past 2000 Years at the Salmon River Estuary, Central Oregon Coast, USA: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 94, No. 4, pp. 1276–1292
  • Rollins, J.C. and Stein, R.S., 2010. Coulomb stress interactions among M ≥ 5.9 earthquakes in the Gorda deformation zone and on the Mendocino Fault Zone, Cascadia subduction zone, and northern San Andreas Fault: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 115, B12306, doi:10.1029/2009JB007117, 2010.
  • Stoffer, P.W., 2006, Where’s the San Andreas Fault? A guidebook to tracing the fault on public lands in the San Francisco Bay region: U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication 16, 123 p., online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2006/16/
  • Yue, H., Zhang, Z., Chen, Y.J., 2008. Interaction between adjacent left-lateral strike-slip faults and thrust faults: the 1976 Songpan earthquake sequence in Chinese Science Bulletin, v. 53, no. 16, p. 2520-2526
  • Wallace, Robert E., ed., 1990, The San Andreas fault system, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515, 283 p. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1988/1434/].

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Posted in cascadia, earthquake, education, gorda, strike-slip

Earthquake Report: 2010 Haiti M 7.0

This is the ten year commemoration of the 2010 magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti that caused widespread damage and casualties, triggered thousands of landslides, caused tsunami, triggered a turbidity current, and caused thousands to be internally displaced.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usp000h60h/executive

Here I review some of the earthquake related materials from this temblor.

The M 7 earthquake happened on a strike-slip fault system that accommodates relative plate motion between the North America and Caribbean plates. There is a history and prehistory of earthquakes on this fault system.

This event was quite deadly. Here is a comparison of this earthquake relative to other earthquakes (Billham, 2010).


Deaths from earthquakes since 1900. The toll of the Haiti quake is more than twice that of any previous magnitude-7.0 event, and the fourth worst since 1900.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0.
  • 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.
  • 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 lower right corner is an inset map showing the major plate boundary faults from the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). The M 7.0 is shown as a yellow circle (as the same for the other insets).
  • In the upper left corner is a tectonic overview figure from Symithe et al. (2015) showing earthquakes colored relative to depth.
  • To the right of the Symithe et al. (2015) map is a plot showing horizontal motion based on GPS sites. The north-south profile (A-A’ in green) shows how horizontal GPS motions change as the profile crosses the two main faults. Because of these offsets, we can infer these faults are seismogenically locked and storing tectonic strain. The Enriquillo fault is accumulating about 8 mm/year of strain and the Septentrional fault is accumulating about 8 mm/year of tectonic strain. In general, if these faults rupture every 100 years, they might slip 80 mm. This is a rough approximation and there are lots of complications for such an estimate. But what is true, these faults cannot slip more than they can accumulate over time due to plate motions.
  • In the upper right corner is a map that shows the tectonic strain (deformation of the crust) due to earthquakes and interseismic ground motion (Kreemer et al., 2014).
  • To the left of the strain map are two figures from Frankel et al. (2011) that show the chance of shaking of a certain magnitude (percent gravity, or “g”) for a 50 year period (the life of a building).
  • In the lower center are 2 figures from Hayes et al. (2010) that show the USGS fault slip models.
  • Here is the map with a month’s and century’s seismicity plotted.

  • Here is a great tectonic overview for the entire Caribbean region from Symithe et al. (2015).

  • Seismotectonic setting of the Caribbean region. Black lines show the major active plate boundary faults. Colored circles are precisely relocated seismicity [1960–2008, Engdahl et al., 1998] color coded as a function of depth. Earthquake focal mechanism are from the Global CMT Catalog (1976–2014) [Ekstrom et al., 2012], thrust focal mechanisms are shown in blue, others in red. H = Haiti, DR = Dominican Republic, MCS = mid-Cayman spreading center, WP = Windward Passage, EPGF = Enriquillo Plaintain Garden fault.

  • Here is a video from IRIS that reviews the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
      • These figures show the chance of the region will experience ground shaking over a period of 50 years (the life of a building) from Frankel et al. (2011). These maps are based on a model that uses the seismic velocity of materials in the upper 30 meters using the topographic slope as a proxy for Earth materials. Some consider this a better estimate of shaking likelihood compared to models that consider a fixed parameter for Earth materials (e.g. bedrock of a specific range in seismic velocities).

      • Hazard maps using grid of VS30 values shown in Figure 7: (top) PGA (%g) with 10% probability of exceedance, (bottom) PGA (%g) with 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years.

      • This is an excellent tectonic overview figure from Calais et al. (2010). The upper panel shows the main tectonic faults and historic seismicity. The lower panel shows the location of some of the known historic earthquake slip patches (where the faults slipped during the earthquakes).

      • Tectonic setting of the northeastern Caribbean and Hispaniola. a, Major active plate-boundary faults (black lines), instrumental seismicity (National Earthquake Information Center database, 1974–present) and Caribbean–North America relative motion (arrow). P.R. Puerto Rico; D.R. Dominican Republic. b, Summary of the present-day tectonic setting of Hispaniola. Estimated historical rupture areas are derived from archives. 1860, 1953 and 1701 are the dates of smaller magnitude, poorly located events. Vertical strike-slip events are shown as lines; dip-slip events are shown as projected surface areas. The red arrows show geodetically inferred long-term slip rates (labelled in mmyr-1) of active faults in the region from the block model discussed here (the arrows show motion of the southern with respect to the northern block).

      • Here is a more localized view of the tectonics of Hispaniola (Fleur et al., 2015). Because the relative motion between the North America and Caribbean plates (and all the other complicated blocks, fault orientations, etc.) is oblique to the plate boundary, there are both strike-slip and thrust faults (the result of strain partitioning).

      • Tectonic setting and active faulting in Haiti. (a) Major anticlines (lines with arrows, dashed white: growing and grey: older), active thrusts (black), and strike-slip faults (EPGF and SF: in red) from this study [Mann et al., 1995; Pubellier et al., 2000; Mauffret and Leroy, 1997; Granja Bruña et al., 2014]. Blue (1): rigid Beata oceanic crust block. Dark purples: toleitic complex oceanic crust outcrops. Orange: Cul-de-Sac and Enriquillo (CSE) ramp basins; brown (2): Hispaniola volcanic arc. Black crosses: metamorphic Cretaceous basement; yellow: rigid Bahamas bank. Haiti FTB: Haiti fold and thrust belt. Grey line: trench. Double black arrows: regional compression deduced from mean orientations of folds and thrusts. (b) Active faulting in southern Haiti. Topography and bathymetry (contours each 200 m) from Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) synthesis (http://www.geomapapp.org). Faults, folds, and symbols as in Figure 1a. Simple red and black arrows: strike-slip motion. In orange: push-down troughs of Port-au-Prince Bay and Azuei and Enriquillo Lakes in the CSE ramp basin. Inset (bottom left): fault geometry and kinematics. Grey ellipse: zone with en echelon troughs in N100°E direction. Inset (top right): simplified strain ellipse in southern Haiti.

      • This shows a fantastic visualization of the tectonics of southern Hispaniola (Fleur et al., 2015). Most of the faults are thrust faults and the Equillon fault system bisects them.

      • (a) Active faulting and seismicity in the southeastern part of Haiti. Topography and bathymetry (contours each 100 m), from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection (http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/) and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission 30+ (http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/), respectively, and the 1:25000 bathymetric chart of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department of the French Navy (contours at 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, and 130m) in the Port-au-Prince Bay. Faults, folds, and symbols as in Figure 1. Red star: 2010 main shock epicenter from Mercier de Lépinay et al. [2011] with the centroid moment tensor from Harvard University (http://www.globalcmt.org); seismicity from Douilly et al. [2013], and focal mechanisms from Nettles and Hjörleifsdóttir [2010]. Location of Figure 3a is indicated. PAP, Port-au-Prince. Folds in CSE ramp basin with locations of Figures 4a and 4b are indicated: PaPT: Port-au-Prince thrust; DT: Dumay thrust; NaC: Nan Cadastre thrust (see Figure 4b); Jac: Jacquet thrust; Gan: Ganthier thrust (see figure 4a). Red and white star near DT: location of Figure 4d. (b) NNE-SSW geological cross section across the Cul-de-Sac-Enriquillo plain. Geology from www.bme.gouv.ht and Mann et al. [1991b] (supporting information Figure S5) with colors of units as in Figure 2c. Profile location shown in Figure 2a; topography as in Figure 1. No vertical exaggeration. (c) Three-dimensional block diagram showing the geology, the aftershocks [from Douilly et al., 2013], and the fault system along a N-S cross section (location in Figure 2a). The block highlighted in red is uplifting in between the LT and the EPGF.

      • These figures show the tectonic geomorphology of the area near Port-au-Prince (Fleur et al., 2015).

      • (a) Active faulting in the 2010 earthquake epicentral area. Active faults, symbols, topography, and bathymetry as in Figure 2a. Location of Figure 3b is indicated. SSW-NNE topographic profiles are shown in the inset. ΔR: fault throw at the seafloor. Vertical exaggeration (VE): 20X; α: slope of the Léogâne delta fan. (b) The Lamentin thrust in Carrefour. Topography from lidar data (contours at 5m vertical interval). Rivers in blue, with thicker traces for larger ones. Inset in the lower left corner: topographic profile BB′ along of the Lamentin fold crest (VE: 5X). Inset in the upper right corner: topographic profile AA′ perpendicular to the Lamentin thrust system (VE: 2.5X) and the most plausible geometry of the thrusts (with no vertical exaggeration). In yellow: upper Miocene limestone; in grey: Quaternary conglomerates. MT:main thrust. The width of the fold and the slope of the fan surface constrain the rooting depth of the emergent ramp to the décollement [e.g.,Meyer et al., 1998].

      • Here are some maps and photos of field evidence for active faulting in the area (Fleur et al., 2015).

      • Active folding in the Cul-de-Sac-Enriquillo ramp basin. (a) Aerial photograph of the 8 km long Ganthier Quaternary fold. (b) Lidar topography of the Nan Cadastre Quaternary thrust folding. Inset: topographic profile AA′ and possible interpretation at depth. (c) Field photograph along the eastern flank of the Bois Galette River (location in Figure 4a) showing the folded alluvial sediments of the Ganthier fold dipping ~30°N. (d) Field photograph and interpretation of the 50 ± 15° southward dipping Dumay thrusts (in red) exposed in cross section on the eastern bank of the Rivière Grise (location in Figure 2a). The fault offsets by several tens of centimeters Quaternary sediments (lacustrine and conglomerates) incised by the river.

      • This figure shows the interseismic (between earthquakes) GPS plate motion vectors (Calais et al., 2011). Each red arrow represents the direction and velocity (speed) that a GPS site is moving over the past decade or two.
      • The panel on the right shows a north-south transect of velocities relative to strike-slip (blue) and thrust (red) motion. There is clear evidence for decadal scale (“active”) strike-slip tectonic strain (deformation) across both Enriquillo and Septentrional faults. There is also compressional deformation across these fault zones, though much more compression across the Enriquillo fault (there is considerable noise in the compressional plot).

      • Interseismic GPS velocities. The GPS velocity field is determined from GPS campaigns before the 12 January 2010 earthquake. The ellipses and error bars are 95% confidence. a, Velocities with respect to the North American plate. b, Velocities with respect to the Caribbean plate. c, Velocity profile perpendicular to the plate boundary (coloured circles and one-sigma error bars) and best-fit elastic block model (solid lines). Blue D profile-perpendicular (‘strike-slip’) velocity components; orange D profile-parallel (‘shortening’) velocity components. The profile trace and width are indicated by dashed lines in a and b.

      • Here is an updated geodetic figure from Symithe and Calais (2016) showing strike-slip and thrust strain.

      • GPS velocities shown with respect to the North American plate (A) and to the Caribbean plate (B). Error ellipses are 95% confidence. (C) North–south profile including GPS sites shown with the dashed box shown on panels A and B. Velocities are projected onto directions parallel (blue) and normal (red) to the EPGF direction. MS = Massif de la Selle, CdS = Cul-de-Sac basin, MN= Matheux-Neiba range, PC= Plateau Central, PN= Plaine du Nord, EF= Enriquillo fault, SF= Septentrional fault.

      • Here is their interpretation about how this interseismic motion relates to the geologic structures (Symithe and Calais, 2016)..

      • Top and middle: comparison between the best-fit model (solid lines) and GPS observations for the strike-slip (blue) and shortening (red) components for the one– fault model, i.e. with oblique slip on the south-dipping fault. Bottom: interpretative geological cross-section using information from Saint Fleur et al. (2015). The red line indicates the model fault with its locked portion shown as solid. The surface trace of the fault in the best-fit model coincides with the northern limb of the Ganthier fold, indicated by the letter G. The gradient of GPS velocities coincides with the southern edge of the Cul-de-Sac basin, while the Matheux range appears devoid from present-day strain accumulation. D = Dumay locale where Terrier et al. (2014) report reverse faulting affecting Quaternary sediments. G = Ganthier fold (Mann et al., 1995).

      • This figure shows the coseismic displacements in the region (Calais et al., 2010). The map shows horizontal motion. The plot on the right shows these displacements in 3 directions (north-south in black; east-west in blue; up-down in red)

      • Coseismic displacements from GPS measurements. a, Map of horizontal coseismic displacements. Note the significant component of shortening, similar to the interseismic velocity field (Fig. 2). The orange arrows have been shortened by 50% to fit within the map. Displacements at stations TROU and DFRT, cited in the text, are labelled. NR Can Natural
        Resources Canada. b, Position time series at station DFRT (orange arrow labelled on a) showing four pre-earthquake measurement epochs and the post-earthquake epoch. Note the steady interseismic strain accumulation rate and the sudden coseismic displacement.

      • This figure shows the earthquake surface deformation as measured using satellite data (interferrometric RADAR). The figure also shows a slip model showing the relative amount of slip. Finally, a cross section showing the orientation of the fault that slipped. This is also from Calais et al. (2010).

      • Deformation observations and rupture model. a, Interferogram (descending track, constructed from images acquired on 9 March 2009 and 25 January 2010), GPS observed (black) and model (red) coseismic displacements. The yellow circles show aftershocks. G D Greissier, L D Léogâne, PaP D Port-au-Prince. EF D Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault. The black rectangle shows the surface projection of the modelled rupture; the black–white dashed line is the intersection with the surface. LOS displ:D line-of-sight displacement. b, Total slip distribution from a joint inversion of InSAR and GPS data, viewed from the northwest. c, Interpretative cross-section between points A and B indicated on a. The red line shows coseismic rupture.

      • Here is a figure showing the aftershocks for the Haiti Earthquake sequence (Douilly et al., 2013). They sampled the seismicity in various transects (A, B, C, D, E, and F) and plotted these seismicity in cross sections below the map. These authors use these plots to evaluate hypothetical fault models.

      • Cross sections perpendicular to the Enriquillo fault illustrating possible fault structures. Hypocenters within the rectangular boxes are included in the corresponding cross section. The open triangles in the cross sections indicate the surface trace of the Enriquillo fault. The red line shows the main earthquake rupture on the Léogâne fault; blue lines show the Trois Baies thrust fault; green lines show south-dipping antithetic structures delineated by aftershocks possibly triggered by Coulomb stress changes following the mainshock. The black lines in the cross sections show the hypothesized location of the Enriquillo fault, which is believed to dip from 65° north (Prentice et al., 2010) to vertical.

      Earthquake Stress Triggering

      • When an earthquake fault slips, the crust surrounding the fault squishes and expands, deforming elastically (like in one’s underwear). These changes in shape of the crust cause earthquake fault stresses to change. These changes in stress can either increase or decrease the chance of another earthquake.
      • I wrote more about this type of earthquake triggering for Temblor here. Head over there to learn more about “static coulomb stress triggering.”
      • Lin et al. (2010) conducted this type of analysis for the 2010 M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. They found that some of the faults in the region experienced an increase in fault stress (the red areas on the figure below). These changes in stress are very small, so require a fault to be at the “tipping point” for these changes in stress to cause an earthquake.
      • There has not yet been a triggered earthquake in this region. However, we don’t know much about how long these stress changes really can affect an earthquake fault (it is thought to last only a few years at most, but some suggest it may last centuries).
      • This first figure from Lin et al. (2010) shows the changes in stress on some nearby faults.

      • Coulomb stress changes imparted by the January 12, 2010, Mw=7.0 rupture resolved on surrounding faults inferred from Mann and others (2002). Thrust faults dip 45°.

      • This second figure from Lin et al. (2010) shows the regional changes in stress.

      • Coulomb stress changes imparted by the January 12, 2010, Mw=7.0 rupture to the Septentrional Fault, assuming a friction of 0.4 (a friction of 0.0 yields a similar result, with the peak stress shifted 25 km to the west). Stress changes are positive but very small. The two 1/26/10 aftershocks are the only events thus far to locate well off the source model; if they are left-lateral events on roughly E-W planes, then they would have been promoted by stress imparted by the January 12 mainshock rupture.

      • This figure shows a slip model for the earthquake (compared with coastal uplift observations) and the results of a static coulomb stress modeling.
      • In the upper panel, color represents the amount the fault slipped in centimeters.
      • In the lower panel, red areas are areas that experienced an increase in stress on a fault and blue areas experienced a stress decrease. The left map shows these stress changes imparted on south vergent (north dipping) thrust faults. The panel on the right shows north vergent (south dipping) receiver thrust faults.

      • Newstatic slipmodel for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and induced Coulomb stress changes. (a) Axonometric view from SE showing the slip distribution on two faults (EPGF and LT) determined by modeling geodetic data (GPS and interferometry) and coastal uplift values recorded by coral (see supporting information). Arrows (white for EPGF and black for LT) indicate the motion of the hanging wall with respect to the footwall. Land surfaces in grey. Red lines: active faults. Blue bars: coastal uplift measured by using corals from Hayes et al. [2010]. Red bars: uplift predicted by our model. Focal mechanisms indicated the EPGF (dark yellow) and Lamentin fault (green) geometry. (b) Coulomb stress changes induced by the slip model we determined, in map view at 7.5 km depth. Black rectangles: modeled faults. Epicentral locations of aftershocks from Douilly et al. [2013]. Insets in the upper left corners: parameters of the receiver faults used for the Coulomb stress calculation. Calculated for receiver faults having the same geometry as the strike-slip EPGF (dark yellow lines) and as the Lamentin thrust (dark green lines), respectively (Figure 5b, left and right).

      • Here is another static coulomb stress transfer model from Symithe et al. (2013). The difference between the upper and lower panels reflects the different fault friction parameter used in these two models.

      • Calculated coseismic Coulomb stress change on the regional faults of southern Haiti based on coseismic slip associated with our preferred model (Fig. 5c) and two assumptions of apparent friction. The Enriquillo fault is assumed to dip 65° to the south with a rake of 20°. The Trois Baies fault is assumed to dip 55° to the north with a rake of 70°. All other faults are assumed to dip at 60° and a rake of 90° (pure
        thrust). Major cities are noted by green circles.

      Earthquake Humanitarian Impact

      • Here is a summary figure from USAID that shows the humanitarian impact from the earthquake and other related factors. The gray arrows show the location and quantity of internally displaced persons (people who moved within Haiti following the earthquake).


      • Here is a figure that is the result of some analyses of the rate at which people displaced themselves internally (Lu et al., 2012).

      • Overview of population movements. (A) Shows the geography of Haiti, with distances from PaP marked. The epicenter of the earthquake is marked by a cross. (B) Gives the proportion of individuals who traveled more than d km between day t − 1 and t. Distances are calculated by comparing the person’s current location with his or her latest observed location. In (C), we graph the change in the number of individuals in the various provinces in Haiti. (D) Gives a cumulative probability distribution of the daily travel distances d for people in PaP at the time of the earthquake. (E) Shows the cumulative probability distribution of d for people outside PaP at the time of the earthquake. Finally, (F) gives the exponent α of the power-law dependence of d—the probability of d is proportional to d−α. These are obtained by a maximum-likelihood method (33), and differ from the slopes of the lines in (D) and (E) by unity since these are the cumulative distributions.

      Earthquake Shaking Intensity

      • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed 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).
      • In the upper right corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots.

      Earthquake Triggered Landslides

        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.


      • Here is a map that I put together using the GIS data available from Harp et al. (2016).

      • Here is a map from Gorum et al. (2023) that also shows the landslide distribution across the landscape.

      • Tectonic setting and landslide distribution map of the study area. (a) Area surrounding the Mw 7.0 January 2010 Haiti earthquake epicenter; beach ball shows focal mechanism (earthquake.usgs.gov). (b) Tectonic setting of the Caribbean plate boundaries. Red star and the points are locations of main shock and major aftershock distributions, respectively. (c) Topographic setting and mean local relief (white circles with±1σ whiskers) of pre- and post-earthquake landslides: alluvial plains and fans (APF), coastal cliff (CSC), deeply incised valley (DIV), dissected hilly and mountainous terrain (HDHM), round crested slopes and hills (RLH), moderately steep slopes (MR), plateau escarpments (PE), and steep faulted hills (SFH).

      • This shows a large scale comparison of landslides with different temporal origins (Gorum et al., 2013).

      • Distribution of (a) coseismic and (b) aseismic landslides along a reach of the Momance River, Haiti; black star is location of 2010 earthquake epicenter; white arrow is flow direction. Old landslides may likely be of prehistoric origin.

      • These authors considered topographic relief as a control for landslide triggering.

      • Regional distribution of co- and aseismic landslides, and re-activated slope failures. (a) Normalized spatial density of pre-earthquake aseismic landslides within 1-km radius (see text). (b) Spatial density of coseismic landslides. (c) Spatial density of re-activated landslides. (d and e) Fraction of area affected by (d) aseismic and (e) coseismic
        landslides per 0.01° latitude; circles are individual landslide locations scaled by area (see legend in panel g). Thin black dashed lines are areas affected by the landslides; thick black dashed lines are mean local relief of coseismically uplifted and subsided areas. (f and g) Histograms of (f) point density [km−2] and (g) rate [%] of re-activated landslides for 0.01° latitude bins; PaP: Port-au-Prince; PG: Petit Goave.

      • Here these authors compare uplift and subsidence measured from satellites (Gorum et al., 2013).

      • Distribution of coseismic deformation, slip, and landslide density. (a) Vertical-deformation signal from InSAR (after Hayes et al., 2010); black circles are mapped coseismic landslides; the black star is the epicenter. (b) Normalized landslide density map (cf. Fig. 4). (c) Rupture model and coseismic slip amplitudes from inversion of InSAR data, field based off-set measurements, and broadband teleseismic body-waveform data (after Hayes et al., 2010). (d) Block diagram of the Léogâne thrust and Enriquillo–Plantain Garden Fault blind rupture. Normalized landslide density superimposed on data by Mercier de Lépinay et al. (2011). Inset block diagram shows proposed fault geometry by Hayes et al., (2010) for Haiti earthquake ruptures. Thick solid lines are surface projections of each fault; PaP: Port-au-Prince.

      • Here is the conclusion figure from Gorum et al. (2013) that shows some of the controlling factors for earthquake triggered landslides.

      • Along-strike (W–E) distribution of (a) mean coseismic deformation (Hayes et al., 2010), (b) coseismic and re-activated normalized landslide density, (c) mean local relief, and (d)mean hillslope gradient in the uplifted section.N–S distribution of (e) mean coseismic deformation (Hayes et al., 2010), (f) coseismic and re-activated landslide density, (g)mean local relief, and (h) mean hillslope gradient in both uplifted and subsided parts. Inset maps show locations of the swaths. Black lines (c, d, g and h) and shadings are means and±1 σ in 60-m bins. Light and dark grey boxes delimit peaks in normalized landslide density (b), and sub-sections of differing dominant fault geometries in (e). Dashed grey lines are regional means; scale differs between panels (b and f) in coseismic and re-activated landslide density.

      • This is a take away figure putting the Haiti earthquake triggered landslides in context with other earthquakes.

      • Summary of coseismic landslide inventory data from documented reverse or thrust-fault earthquakes. Left panel shows extent of faulting recorded in historical (grey bars) and recent earthquakes (black bars; modified after McCalpin, 2009). Thick and thin black bars are lengths of surface and blind fault ruptures; estimates of surface rupture lengths (grey bars) and maximum coseismic uplift (light grey arrows) from Wells and Coppersmith (1994); lower limits from Bonilla (1988). Maximum coseismic uplift (MCU, dark grey arrows) and surface/blind ruptures: (1)Wenchuan, China, Mw 7.9 (Liu-Zeng et al., 2009); (2) Chi-Chi, Taiwan, Mw 7.6 (Chen et al., 2003); (3) Haiti Mw 7.0 (Hayes et al., 2010); (4) Iwate-Miyagi, Japan, Mw 6.9 (Ohta et al., 2008); (5) Northridge, USA, Mw 6.7 (Shen et al., 1996); and (6) Lorca, Spain, Mw 5.2 (Martinez-Diaz et al., 2012). Right panel shows hanging wall and foot-wall areas affected by coseismic landsliding, and box-and-whisker plots of local relief. Box delimits lower and upper quartiles and median; whiskers are 5th and 95th percentiles; open circles are outliers. Landslide inventory data from Gorum et al. (2011), Liao and Lee (2000), Yagi et al. (2009), Harp and Jibson (1995), and Alfaro et al. (2012); landslide lower limits are from Keefer (1984).

      Earthquake Triggered Turbidity Currents

      • Cecilia McHugh used NSF rapid response funding to collect geophysical (e.g. bathymetry, subsurface seismic profiles) and sedimentary core data in the epicentral region of the M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. McHugh et al. (2011) discovered that the earthquake triggered turbidity currents (submarine landslides) that (A) caused suspended sediment to be found in the water column after the earthquake and (B) led to the deposition of a turbidite.
      • McHugh et al. (2011) found evidence for prior earthquake triggered turbidites in the form of sedimentary deposits. These deposits were found in sedimentary cores and in subsurface imaging (seismic reflection data).
      • Here is a sediment core that includes the 2010 seismoturbidite, as well as several previous likely seismoturbidites.

      • A: Bulk density, magnetic suscep- GC-2 tibility, 234Th (dpm/g), and photo of GC2 recovered from Canal du Sud at 1753 m. The 12 January turbidite contains 5-cm-thick basal bed of black sand and 50 cm of mud above, forming turbidite-homogenite unit. Bulk density decreases upward to nearly seawater values, and magnetic susceptibility signal is higher near base, corresponding to sand rich in magnetic minerals analyzed at 55, 113, and 143 cm (plag—plagioclase; qtz—quartz). Boxes delineate 12 January and older events.

      • Here is a seismic reflection profile from McHugh et al. (2011). The dark layers are muddy layers between the turbidites. The plot on the right shows evidence for the suspended sediment.

      • A: Semitransparent lens on Chirp profile is 12 January earthquake-generated turbidite. B: CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) transmissometer measurements of water column obtained at 1750 m. Anomaly in beam attenuation in lower 600 m is interpreted as sediment plume that has remained in suspension since 12 January.

      Earthquake Triggered Tsunami

      • Here is a plot from Fritz et al. (2012) that shows field observations from the tsunami.

      • Tsunami flow depths and runup heights measured along coastlines in the Gulf of Gonaˆve and along Hispaniola’s south coast.

        Social Media

        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

      • Billham, R., 2010. Lessons from the Haiti Earthquake in Nature, v. 463, doi:10.1038/463878a
      • Calais, E., Mazabraud, Y., de Lepinay, B.M., Mann, P., Mattioli, G., and Jansma, P., 2002. Strain partitioning and fault slip rates in the northeastern Caribbean from GPS measurements in GRL, v. 29, no. 18, doi:10.1029/2002GL015397
      • Calais, E., Freed, A., Mattioli, G., Amerlung, F., Jonsson, S., Jansma, P., Hong, S-H., Dixon, T., Prepetit, C., and Momplaisir, R., 2010. Transpressional rupture of an unmapped fault
        during the 2010 Haiti earthquake in Nature Geoscience, http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/ngeo992
      • Douilly, R., Haase, J.S., Ellsworth, W.L., Bouin, M-P., Calais, E., Symithe, S.J., Aerbruster, J.G., de Lepinay, B.M., Deschamps, A., Mildor, S-L., Meremonte, M.E., and Hough, S.E., 2013. Crustal Structure and Fault Geometry of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake from Temporary Seismometer Deployments in BSSA, v. 103, no. 4, p. 2305-2325, doi: 10.1785/0120120303
      • Douilly, R., H. Aochi, E. Calais, and A. M. Freed, 2015. Three-dimensional dynamic rupture simulations across interacting faults: The Mw7.0, 2010, Haiti earthquake, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, 1108–1128, doi:10.1002/2014JB011595.
      • Frankel, A., Harmsen, S., Mueller, C., Calais, E., and Haase, J., 2011. Seismic Hazard Maps for Haiti in Earthquake Spectra, v. 27, no. 1, p. S23-S41
      • Fritz, H.M., Hillaire, J.V., Moliere, E., Wei, Y., and Mohammed, F., 2012. Twin Tsunamis Triggered by the 12 January 2010 Haiti Earthquake in Pure and Applied Geophysics, doi:10.1007/s00024-012-0479-3
      • Gorum, T., van Westen, C.J., Korup, O., van der Meijde, M., Fan, X., and van der Meer, F.D., 2013. Complex rupture mechanism and topography control symmetry of mass-wasting pattern, 2010 Haiti earthquake in Geomorphology, v. 184, p. 127-138, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.11.027
      • Harp, E.L., Jibson, R.W., and Schmitt, R.G., 2016, Map of landslides triggered by the January 12, 2010, Haiti earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3353, 15 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:150,000, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sim3353.
      • Lin, Jian, Stein, Ross S., Sevilgen, Volkan, and Toda, Shinji, 2010. USGS-WHOI-DPRI Coulomb stress-transfer model for the January 12, 2010, MW=7.0 Haiti earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1019, 7 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1019/.
      • Liu, J. Y., H. Le, Y. I. Chen, C. H. Chen, L. Liu, W. Wan, Y. Z. Su, Y. Y. Sun, C. H. Lin, and M. Q. Chen, 2011. Observations and simulations of seismoionospheric GPS total electron content anomalies before the 12 January 2010 M7 Haiti earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A04302, doi:10.1029/2010JA015704.
      • Lu, X., Bengtsson, L., and olme, P., 2012. Predictability of population displacement after the 2010 Haiti earthquake in PNAS, v. 109, no. 29, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1203882109
      • McHugh, C.M., Seeber, L., Braudy, N., Cormier, M-H., Davis, M.B., Diebold, J.B., Dieudonne, N., Douilly, R., R., Guilick, S.P.S., Hornbach, M.J., Johnson III,, H.E., Mishkin, K.R., Sorlien, C.C., Steckler, M.S., Symithe, S.J., and Templeton, J., 2011. Offshore sedimentary effects of the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake in Geology, v. 39, no. 8, p. 723-726, doi:10.1130/G31815.1
      • Saint Fleur, N., N. Feuillet, R. Grandin, E. Jacques, J. Weil-Accardo, and Y. Klinger, 2015. Seismotectonics of southern Haiti: A new faulting model for the 12 January 2010M7.0 earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 10,273–10,281, doi:10.1002/2015GL065505.
      • Symithe, S., E. Calais, Haase, J.S., Freed, A.M., and Douilly, R., 2013. Coseismic Slip Distribution of the 2010 M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake and Resulting Stress Changes on Regional Faults in BSSA, v. 103, np. 4, p. 2326-2343, doi: 10.1785/0120120306
      • Symithe, S., E. Calais, J. B. de Chabalier, R. Robertson, and M. Higgins, 2015. Current block motions and strain accumulation on active faults in the Caribbean, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, 3748–3774, doi:10.1002/2014JB011779.
      • Symithe, S. and E. Calais, 2016. Present-day Shortening in Southern Haiti from GPS measurements and implications for seismic hazard in Tectonophysics, v. 689, p. 117-124, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2016.04.034

      Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

      Posted in caribbean, earthquake, education, landslides, strike-slip, Transform, tsunami

    Earthquake Report: Albania

    A couple days ago there was a deadly earthquake along the coast of Albania near the cities of Durrës and Mamurras. This M 6.4 earthquake caused many deaths and significant damage to buildings.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us70006d0m/executive

    The west coast of Albania is a convergent plate boundary and there is a fold and thrust belt (thrust faults and folds formed due to the compression from plate convergence). Here, the Adria plate is diving beneath the Pelagonia (Eurasia) plate to form the Adriatic collision zone. The convergence here forms the Hellenides mountains. However, much of the tectonics in the region is currently extensional.

    This plate boundary system is generally part of the Alpide Belt, a convergent plate boundary that extends from Indonesia/Australia (Sumatra and Java subduction zones), through the Himalayas, through the Middle East (Makran and Zagros thrusts), through the Mediterranean (Greece, Italy), Europe (e.g. the Alps, Carpathians, Pyrenees, etc.), and northern Africa (the Atlas mtns). However, there are lots of microplates and tectonic blocks that slice-and-dice the region with strike-slip faults (like the Dead Sea Fault, the North and East Anatolian faults in Turkey, and the Cephalonia/Kefallonia transform fault in western Greece).

    Here is a view of the Alpide Belt as it transects Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (Woudloper, 2009).


    There was a sequence of earthquakes in September earlier this year. These are possibly either foreshocks to this November sequence, or they changed the stress in the surrounding crust to trigger the November sequence, or they are unrelated to the November sequence.

    The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) program has several data products, including a global fault database and global seismic hazard and risk maps. The fault database is a compilation of many regional and national databases. In the eastern Mediterranean, the GEM faults are from the European Database of Seismogenic Faults (EDSF) and (earlier form) the
    Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS).

    There are some candidate faults that we can take a look at as possible sources for both the September and November sequences.

    In the past several years, the rapid group-interpretation and dissemination of earthquake and tsunami data (largely via social media platforms) has changed the rate at which we learn about these events. In previous decades, it might take months to years for this information to be collected, processed, and disseminated (via peer review papers). Now, with remote sensing techniques (seismometers, satellite or aerial data, GPS, and tide gages, all of which provide near real time data) and advanced analytical methods bring us these results in days to weeks.

    In the days since the earthquake, there have been many of these rapidly developed tectonic realizations. Take a look at the social media posts at the bottom of this report for some examples of this.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, half year, and century, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1919-2019 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0.
    • 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.
    • 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 lower right corner is a generalized tectonic fault map from Burchfiel et al. (2008). convergent plate boundary faults are shown with triangle symbols and red or blue lines. Strike-slip faults are shown in black. I place a yellow star in the general location of the M 6.4 temblor in these inset figures.
    • In the upper right corner is a more detailed tectonic map for this entire part of the Earth highlighting the major collision zones (Dilek, 2006). There is a cross section through the crust to the left of this map (D-D’ in orange). The western part of the cross section extends through southern Italy. The eastern portion extends through the Balkans.
    • Here is the map with a month’s, a half year’s, and a century’s seismicity plotted.
    • I highlight some earthquakes that happened in Italy in 2009 and 2016. More about those sequences can be found in the Earthquake Report here.

    Below is a poster that shows possible fault sources

    • There are 3 recognized faults in the area of this September/November sequence – the Vore, Shijak, and Lushnje faults.
    • Given the data in the database, these faults may be capable of earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.5, 5.8, and 7.2 respectively.
    • Most thrust faults in the region are southwest vergent (they dip down eastwards into the Earth). However, the Vore fault is northeast vergent.
    • 1979 earthquake focal mechanisms along the Montenegro system are from Benetatos and Kiratzi (2006).

    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.

    USGS Shaking Intensity

    • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed 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).
    • In the upper right corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots. The mean and median (different types of “average”) are plotted as orange and purple dots. Note how well the reports fit the green line (the model that represents how MMI works based on quakes in California).
    • In the upper left corner is the USGS Did You Feel It reports map, showing reports as colored dots using the MMI color scale.

    Other Report Pages

    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 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).

    • 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 a figure showing a north-south cross section through this region, from ~95 million years ago until about 2 million years ago (Dilek and Sandvol, 2009). This figure shows how the regional tectonics have developed over time, with the modern subduction zone in the south, the North Anatolian transform fault in the north, and an extensional metamorphic core complex in the center (“Core Complex” on cross section). Today’s earthquake is along the southern boundary of this core complex.

    • 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.

    • The following three figures are from Dilek et al., 2006. The locations of the cross sections are shown on the map as orange lines.
    • Here is the map (Dilek et al., 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 et al., 2006). I include the figure caption for cross section D-D’ below in blockquote.

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

    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).

    • This morning (28 Nov, Thanksgiving here in California), 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 prepared a map using the USGS earthquake data products. This map shows their modeled estimate of PGA for this earthquake. Their model shows ground accelerations (shaking) greater than 50% g. This is consistent with the GEM seismic hazard map above (suggesting this area could have ground shaking between 55% and 90% g. The labels in the poster are associated with the black PGA contours, while the colors follow the legend.

    • 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.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in earthquake

    Earthquake Report: Halmahera, Indonesia

    While I was back in the Ridgecrest, CA area further documenting our slickenline observations from the 5 July 2019 M 7.1 Ridgecrest Earthquake, there was a tsunamigenic earthquake in the Molucca Sea near Halmahera, Indonesia. Some of my earliest earthquake reports were from this region, but I have not had the opportunity to write anything up for earthquakes in this area for a few years.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us60006bjl/executive

    The Halmahera Strait/Molucca Sea region is interesting as there is a pair of divergent subduction zones here. Basically, one dips to the east and one dips to the west, though it is a little more complicated.

    McCaffrey et al. (1980) presented one of the first views of the subduction/thrust tectonics in this region. Since then, advances in marine geophysical methods have furthered our understanding and have generally re-enforced the early hypotheses rather well.

    There was a minor tsunami recorded at a tide gage that was only 135 km (65 miles) from the epicenter. Here are those data plotted relative to time. The wave has a wave height of about 20 cm. The waves lasted several hours (it appears that maybe the waves resonated in the harbor).


    In the interest of keeping this simple, I first present the interpretive poster, then I present some key figures that provide a seismotectonic context to this sequence.

    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 1919-2019 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.
    • 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 are a series of panels from Zhang et al. (2017). The upper panel shows the major plate boundaries (subduction zones). I place a yellow star in the general location of this M 7.1 temblor. The middle panel shows a cross section of the Halmahera Strait where we can see the Mulucca Sea plate is diving to the east under the Philippine Sea plate and to the west under the Eurasia plate. This matches early cross sections (e.g. McCaffrey et al., 1980). The cross section is located along the red line on the poster (A-B). The lower panel shows seismicity for this area and we can see earthquakes trend deeper in bothe directions (east and west), though deeper to the west (red dots). Lines A-A’, B-B’, C-C’, D-D’, and E-E’ represent the locations of profiles included in the upper left figure.
    • In the upper left corner is a series of cross sections A-A’, B-B’, C-C’, D-D’, and E-E’. These are profiles showing material properties of the Earth based on seismic tomographic analysis. Seismic tomography is based on the same principles as CT scans. So, we can imagine that these profiles are like X-Ray scans of the Earth’s interior. Blue represents materials with faster seismic velocity (older and colder oceanic crust) and red represents materials with slower seismic velocity (generally hotter crust).
    • In the lower left corner is a plot of the tide gage data from Bitung, Sulawesi (location shown on interpretive poster).
    • Here is the map with a month’s and century’s seismicity plotted.

    • Here is a map that shows shaking intensity using the MMI scale. The colors and black contours are from the USGS shaking intensity model. I also include some of the “Did You Feel It?” report observations (e.g. labeled “DYFI 4.9”).
    • In the upper left corner is a plot from the USGS that includes both modeled data (the orange and green lines) and DYFI data (the points and whisker plots). The legend informs us about the source of these different data.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is a tectonic map for this part of the world from Zahirovic et al., 2014. I left out all the acronym definitions (you’re welcome), but they are listed in the paper.

    • Regional tectonic setting with plate boundaries (MORs/transforms = black, subduction zones = teethed red) from Bird (2003) and ophiolite belts representing sutures modified from Hutchison (1975) and Baldwin et al. (2012). West Sulawesi basalts are from Polvé et al. (1997), fracture zones are from Matthews et al. (2011) and basin outlines are from Hearn et al. (2003).

    • Here are the figures from Zhang et al. (2017). First I present the tectonic overview figure, with captions below.

    • (a) Sketch of the Molucca Sea subduction zone and its vicinity. (b) Cross section (A-B) demonstrating the structure of arc-arc collision zone (modified after Hall and Smyth [2008]). (c) Distribution of earthquake events (2011.1.1–2015.12.31) and focal mechanism; the insert shows the vertical profile of epicenters sliced at position B-B0 . The black
      dashed line in Figure 1a is the position of cross section A-B in Figure 1b, and the red solid lines in Figure 1c are the cross sections of the seismic tomographic velocity model in Figure 2.

    • Here is the seismic tomography profile figure.

    • Vertical slices of seismic velocity beneath the Molucca Sea and its surrounding regions, in which positive velocity anomalies outline the unique shape of the subducting Molucca Sea plate. The tomographic images are sliced from the global P wave velocity anomaly model UU-P07 [Amaru, 2007] along positions shown in Figure 1c.

    • If we look at the first Zhang et al. (2017) figure above, the seismicity shows that the slab dipping to the west has earthquakes that extend much deeper than the zone dipping to the east. These authors hypothesized about why these subduciton zones are assymetrical (possibly due to mantle flow around the downgoing ocean crustal slabs). Zhang et al. (2017) conducted numerical analysis of mantle flow.
    • Here is a figure that shows some illustrations depicting possible tectonic configurations for this region.

    • Cartoon of end-member models illustrating effects of the order of subduction initiation, the mobility and thickness of the overriding plates on slab morphology, and migration of the overriding plates during DDS. Idealized DDS features (a) symmetrical subduction of slabs and (b–d) asymmetrical plate shape resulted from influence of order of subduction initiation, mobility, and thickness of overriding plates, respectively. (e) Tentative interpretation of formation of the asymmetrical DDS observed in the Molucca Sea region. Size of arrows indicate relative scale of the subduction-induced mantle flow.

    • Zhang et al., 2017 present below different possible configurations of double subduction zones.

    • Cartoons illustrating several forms of double subduction. (a) Divergent double subduction (descripted in this study and by Soesoo et al. [1997], Di Leo et al. [2014], Li et al., [2014], etc.). (b) Double subduction with opposite dipping directions (descripted by Maruyama et al. [ 2007]). (c and d) Convergent double subduction (descripted by Jagoutz et al. [2015] and Billen [2015]). In all of these case, sustainable subduction of the oceanic plate(s) requires smooth escape (Figures 17a and 17c) of the slab-trapped mantle or replenishment of external materials of mantle into the void space left by slab rollback (Figures 17b and 17d). The toroidal mantle flow (orange arrows) plays a dominant role in
      redistribution of material during all these types of double subduction.

    • Based on their analyses, Zhang et al. (2017) make some conclusions about the divergent subduction zones in this region.
      1. The self-sustaining, asymmetrical subduction of the Molucca Sea plate may drive the convergence of the overriding plates and collision of magmatic arcs, even in an extensional setting of SE Asia.
      2. The earlier and faster subduction on the western Sangihe side with respect to the eastern Halmahera side predominantly led to formation of the present-day asymmetrical shape of the subducting Molucca Sea plate.
      3. The relative immobility of the western overriding Eurasian plate may have promoted the westward migration of the Halmahera arc in the Molucca Sea subduction zone.
      4. Bending of arcs was probably a consequence of the toroidal mantle flow induced by rollback of the subducting Molucca Sea plate on its both sides.
      5. DDS is unsustainable without effective escape of the slab-trapped mantle via toroidal flow. It is therefore likely that DDS is confined to narrow and short oceanic plates and is related to closure of archipelagic oceans and accretion of arcs in accretionary orogenic belts.
    • Here are maps showing the regional tectonics (Smoczyk et al., 2013).

    • Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to Sulawesi in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger and others, 1983).

    • This shows Global Positioning System (GPS) velocities at various locations. These plate motions are represented as vectors in mm/yr. (see legend) Note that the plate motion vectors on either side of the Halmahera Strait are opposing each other, evidence of the contraction/convergence/compression across these plate boundary faults. Below I include the text from the original figure caption in blockquote.

    • Topographic and tectonic map of the Indonesian archipelago and surrounding region. Labeled, shaded arrows show motion (NUVEL-1A model) of the first-named tectonic plate relative to the second. Solid arrows are velocity vectors derived from GPS surveys from 1991 through 2001, in ITRF2000. For clarity, only a few of the vectors for Sumatra are included. The detailed velocity field for Sumatra is shown in Figure 5. Velocity vector ellipses indicate 2-D 95% confidence levels based on the formal (white noise only) uncertainty estimates. NGT, ew Guinea Trench; NST, North Sulawesi Trench; SF, Sumatran Fault; TAF, Tarera-Aiduna Fault. Bathymetry [Smith and Sandwell, 1997] in this and all subsequent figures contoured at 2 km intervals

    • This is one of my favorite figures of all time (Hall, 2011). Today’s earthquake sequence happened in the center of the middle panel, between the cyan (Molluca plate) and yellow plates. Read below for more details.

    • 3D cartoon of plate boundaries in the Molucca Sea region modified from Hall et al. (1995). Although seismicity identifies a number of plates there are no continuous boundaries, and the Cotobato, North Sulawesi and Philippine Trenches are all intraplate features. The apparent distinction between different crust types, such as Australian continental crust and oceanic crust of the Philippine and Molucca Sea, is partly a boundary inactive since the Early Miocene (east Sulawesi) and partly a younger but now probably inactive boundary of the Sorong Fault. The upper crust of this entire region is deforming in a much more continuous way than suggested by this cartoon.

    • Here is a map and cross section presented by Waltham et al. (2008). They use a variety of data sources as a basis for their interpretations (seismic reflection data, gravity data). Note how the Molucca Sea plate subducts both to the west and to the east. Below I include the text from the original figure caption in blockquote.

    • (A) Location and major tectonic features of the Molucca Sea region. Small, black-filled triangles are modern volcanoes. Bathymetric contours are at 200, 2000, 4000, and 6000 m. Large barbed lines are subduction zones, and small barbed lines are thrusts. (B) Cross section across the Halmahera and Sangihe Arcs on section line B. Thrusts on each side of the Molucca Sea are directed outward toward the adjacent arcs, although the subducting Molucca Sea plate dips east beneath Halmahera and west below the Sangihe Arc. (C) Inset is the restored cross section of the Miocene–Pliocene Weda Bay Basin of SW Halmahera on section line C, fl attened to the Pliocene unconformity, showing estimated thickness of the section

    • Early work done in the region was presented by McCaffrey et al. (1980). Here is a map showing seismic refraction lines that they used to constrain the structures in this region. Below I include the text from the original figure caption in blockquote.

    • Map of the Molucca Sea, eastern Indonesia, showing I~tions of seismic refraction lines (solid straight lines) and gravity traverses (dashed-dotted lines). Thrust faults are shown with teeth on hanging wall. Triangles represent active volcanoes defining the Sangihe and Halmahera magmatic arcs. Isobath interval is 1 km from Mammericks et al. [1976].

    • Here is a cross section that shows the gravity model they used to interpret this region.

    • Gravity model for the central Molucca Sea. (II) Crustal model with layers designated by their density contrasts and refraction control points by open circles and vertical bars. (b) Mantle structure used in modeling the gravity profiles in the central Molucca Sea. Figure 124 fits into the small box at the apex of the inverted-V-ehaped lithosphere. Slab dimensions are controlled by earthquake foci (dots) from Hlltherton 11M Dickinaon [1969J, and mantle densities are taken from Grow 11M Rowin [1975J. The column at the left shows assumed densities for the range of depths between the tick marks. The small v pattern represents oceanic crust, and island arc crust is designated by a short parallel line pattern. East is to the right of the figure.

    • Here is another tectonic map showing the Sorong fault and some splay faults (dashed lines running along Halmahera), one of which may be involved in today’s earthquake.

    • Location map and active faults of the Molucca Sea region. Fault colours: blue, convergence; red, transvergence; yellow, divergence; grey, uncertain motion. Fault abbreviations: CF, Catabato Fault; GF, Gorontalo Fault; NST, North Sulawesi Trench; PKF, Palu-Koro Fault; SF, Sorong Fault.

    Seismic Hazard and Seismic Risk

    • These are the two maps shown in the map above, the GEM Seismic Hazard and the GEM Seismic Risk maps from Pagani et al. (2018) and Silva et al. (2018).
      • 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). Due to possible model limitations, regions portrayed with low hazard may still experience potentially damaging earthquakes.
      • Here is a view of the GEM seismic hazard map for Indonesia.

      • The USGS Seismic Hazard Map:
      • Here is another version of the seismic hazard for this region (Smoczyk et al., 2013). The GEM map suggests that the islands along the Halmahera Strait may have accelerations between 0.8-1.6 m2. This translates to 0.08 to 0.16 g. The GEM seismic hazard map shows a potential shaking of 0.20-0.35 g, slightly higher.

      • 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.

    Tsunami Hazard

    • Here are two maps that show the results of probabilistic tsunami modeling for the nation of Indonesia (Horspool et al., 2014). These results are similar to results from seismic hazards analysis and maps. The color represents the chance that a given area will experience a certain size tsunami (or larger).
    • The first map shows the annual chance of a tsunami with a height of at least 0.5 m (1.5 feet). The second map shows the chance that there will be a tsunami at least 3 meters (10 feet) high at the coast.

    • Annual probability of experiencing a tsunami with a height at the coast of (a) 0.5m (a tsunami warning) and (b) 3m (a major tsunami warning).

      Social Media

      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>
    • 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
    • Specific References

    • Hall, R., 2011. Australia-SE Asia collision: plate tectonics and crustal flow in Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2011; v. 355; p. 75-109 doi: 10.1144/SP355.5
    • Hall., R., Audley-Charles, M.G., Banner, F.T., Hidayat, S., Tobing, S.L., 1988. Basement rocks of the Halmahera region, eastern Indonesia: a Late Cretaceous-early Tertiary arc and fore-arc in Journal of the Geological Society, v. 145, p. 65-84
    • Horspool, N., Pranantyo, I., Griffin, J., Latief, H., Natawidjaja, D. H., Kongko, W., Cipta, A., Bustaman, B., Anugrah, S. D., and Thio, H. K., 2014. A probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment for Indonesia, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 3105-3122, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-14-3105-2014, 2014.
    • McCaffrey, R., Silver, E.A., and Raitt, R.W., 1980. Crustal Structure of the Molucca Sea Collision Zone, Indonesia in The Tectonic and Geologic Evolution of Southeast Asian Seas and Islands-Geophysical Monograph 23, p. 161-177.
    • 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
    • Smoczyk, G.M., Hayes, G.P., Hamburger, M.W., Benz, H.M., Villaseñor, Antonio, and Furlong, K.P., 2013. Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2012 Philippine Sea plate and vicinity: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1083-M, 1 sheet, scale 1:10,000,000.
    • Zahirovic et al., 2014. The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia in Solid Earth, v. 5, p. 227-273, doi:10.5194/se-5-227-2014.
    • Zhang, Q., F. Guo, L. Zhao, and Y. Wu, 2017. Geodynamics of divergent double subduction: 3-D numerical modeling of a Cenozoic example in the Molucca Sea region, Indonesia, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 122, 3977–3998, doi:10.1002/2017JB013991.
    • Zulkifli, M., Rudyanto, A., and Sakti, A.P., 2016. The View of Seismic Hazard in The Halmahera Region in proceedings from International Symposium on Earth Hazard and Disaster Mitigation (ISEDM) 2016 AIP Conf. Proc. 1857, 050004-1–050004-7; doi:10.1063/1.4987082

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

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    Earthquake Report: 1989 Loma Prieta!

    Well, I prepared this report for the 30th anniversary of the 18 Oct 1989 Loma Prieta M 6.9 earthquake in central California, a.k.a. the World Series Earthquake (it happened during the 1989 World Series game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco). The date was 17 October in CA, but 18 Oct in England (UTC time).

    Learn more about how to prepare for the next SF Bay Area quake here.

    There is a treasure trove of information about this earthquake, the impacts from the earthquake, and the response of people to these impacts. The “go to” place to start looking at some of these resources is from the USGS here. Some of the information I gleaned for this report came from one of the links on that page.


    I was a sophomore at the California Institute of the Arts (studying cinematography with an interest of being a DP) in October 1989. The previous year I was living at a housing coop (UCHA at 500 Landfair Ave in Westwood) while attending UCLA. One of my good friends (David Silver) from the coop was from Santa Cruz, so I called him to find out if his family was OK (they were).

    That was the closest I came to experiencing the quake and this was almost a decade before I started growing my interest in geology and plate tectonics.

    The earthquake had a major impact upon the entire SF Bay area. Freeway overpasses collapsed. A section of the Bay Bridge fell. Many houses were damaged. Fires started. The ground along the coast liquefied.

    All of this may happen again when the next big earthquake hits.

    The good thing is that, given a little bit of information, people are much more capable of experiencing an earthquake with a reduced amount of suffering. Some stuff we cannot completely prevent, but a little bit of knowledge goes a long way. If you did not participate in a shakeout this year, sign up so you can do so next year. Or, check out shakeout to see what you can learn even without the shakeout going on. If you don’t live in California or the USA, there are still lots of things that you can learn! There are shakeouts in other states and in other countries too!

    Below I present several interpretive posters, as well as some figures from papers and public reports (e.g. from the USGS).

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the 3 months including and after the M 6.9 earthquake, with orange circles with the symbol diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1969-2019 with magnitudes M ≥ 2.5 in one version (gray circles). I use the USGS Quaternary fault and fold database as a source for the tectonic faults on the map, with color showing their slip rates.
    • 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 there is a map that shows the major faults in the SF Bay region. The fault lines are colored (yellow to orange) that shows the chance that a given fault may slip between 2007 and 2036. The Hayward/Rodgers Creek fault system has the highest chance of having an earthquake in the next 17 years (about 31%). This is based on our knowledge of earthquakes from the past and into the prehistoric time. The region of the San Andreas fault that was involved in the Loma Prieta temblor is labeled with black arrows.
    • In the upper right corner is a map from the USGS, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Services (CalOES), and the California Geological Survey (CGS, where I work) that uses our knowledge of past earthquakes and the bedrock geology (or lack thereof) to show the potential for strong ground shaking from future earthquakes. High hazard areas are colored pink and are close to the faults (compare with the map in the upper left corner). Areas of low hazard are further away from faults. I placed a yellow circle in the general location of the M 6.9 epicenter.
    • In the lower right corner is a detailed figure from McLaughlin and Clark (2003) (labeled Wells, 2003) that shows their interpretation of the faults in the area. The mainshock is labeled by a black star.
    • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

    USGS Shaking Intensity

    • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed comparison between the modeled intensity and the reported intensity. Borth data use the same color scale, the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI). More about this can be found here. The colored contours on the map are results from the USGS modeled intensity. The DYFI data are plotted as colored regions (color = MMI). I labeled some of the DYFI regions (e.g. DYFI 8.1) and MMI contours (e.g. MMI 7).
    • in the lower left-center there are two inset maps. The map on the left is the MMI shakemap from the USGS. The map on the right is shows the same DYFI regions as shown in the main map.
    • In the upper left corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots. The mean and median (different types of “average”) are plotted as orand and purple dots. Note how well the reports fit the green line (the model that represents how MMI works based on quakes in California). I plot Santiago relative to distance from the earthquake with a blue arrow (compare with the poster).

    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.


      Here is an excellent educational video from IRIS and a variety of organizations. The video helps us learn about how earthquake intensity gets smaller with distance from an earthquake. The concept of liquefaction is reviewed and we learn how different types of bedrock and underlying earth materials can affect the severity of ground shaking in a given location. The intensity map above is based on a model that relates intensity with distance to the earthquake, but does not incorporate changes in material properties as the video below mentions is an important factor that can increase intensity in places.

      Here is a map with landslide probability on the left (Jessee et al., 2017) and a map showing liquefaction susceptibility on the right (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 moderate probability for landslides and high probability for liquefaction.


      Our primary landslide model is the empirical model of Nowicki Jessee and others (2018). The model was developed by relating 23 inventories of landslides triggered by past earthquakes with different combinations of predictor variables using logistic regression.

      Zhu and others (2017) is the preferred model for liquefaction hazard. The model was developed by relating 27 inventories of liquefaction triggered by past earthquakes to globally-available geospatial proxies (summarized below) using logistic regression. We have implemented the global version of the model and have added additional modifications.

    • Keefer (1998) presented a review of the earthquake triggered landslides from the Loma Prieta earthquake.
    • Below Keefer and Manson (1998) present a summary of observed earthquake triggered landslides, with Loma Prieta plotted as a circle. This plot shows the area affected by landslides relative to earthquake magnitude. This makes sense, that the larger the earthquake, the larger the area the landslides could be triggered by the earthquake.

    • Area of landslides generated by 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, A, as a function of earthquake magnitude, M, in comparison with other historical earthquakes with epicenters onshore (dots) and offshore (x’s). Most data points and upper-bound curve (solid line) from Keefer (1984); additional data points and log-linear mean (dashed line) from Keefer and Wilson (1989).

    Shaking Visualization & Videos

    • Below is a great visualization of the ground shaking from the ’89 shaker. This comes from the USGS here. Note how the majority of the urban areas did NOT have strong ground shaking from this earthquake, even though that lots of the damage was in those areas. Imagine what will happen when the Hayward or San Andreas faults rupture next.
    • From the USGS: The movie shows the propagation of seismic waves away from the epicenter, which lies in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about ten miles northeast of the of the city of Santa Cruz. The residual colors indicate the peak shaking intensity at locations up to the time in seconds indicated near the top center of the movie. The current intensity, at the time indicated, is indicated by shading of the colors.
    • From the USGS: One striking observation for those who experienced the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake’s shaking is the comparison of the extent and intensity of shaking with the 1906 earthquake. The Loma Prieta rupture was about 30 times smaller in energy than the great 1906 earthquake.
    • From the USGS: he rupture in the Loma Prieta earthquake began at a depth of about 12 miles and appears to have ruptured a 25 mile long portion of the San Andreas fault. Unlike the 1906 earthquake, the rupture in the Loma Prieta earthquake did not reach the surface. As in the 1906 earthquake, the strongest shaking was concentrated along the fault. In 1989 the two areas of most intense shaking were north and south of the epicenter in the Santa Cruz mountains.

    The movie’s color the landscape in each frame according to the maximum (peak) intensity of shaking (amplitude of the ground motion) up to that point in time. The color scale is the same as the one used in ShakeMap. In order to show the intensity of the current shaking, the colors darken as the shaking intensifies. At some locations, the most intense shaking lasts for several seconds, so the colors will darken as seismic waves continue to cause strong shaking. The first example shows how the colors change as the shaking at a location progresses from no shaking through weak, moderate, and strong shaking, peaking at a violent shaking level (very dark red), before the shaking dies off (red becomes brighter). The second example shows the color progression for a location that peaks at a strong level of shaking.

    • Here is a spectacular video from the California Highway Patrol.
    • Here is a documentary from NBC from 2019

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    Loma Prieta – Geologic Setting

    • McLaughlin and Clark (2003) present two great maps that show the plate tectonic setting associated with the Loma Prieta earthquake.
    • We see maps that show the major faults associated with the Pacific-North America plate boundary. The big player is the San Andreas fault, a right-lateral strike-slip fault (see more in the geological fundamentals section to learn more about strike-slip faults).


    • Figure caption is for both maps from McLaughlin and Clark. Loma Prieta region, Calif., showing major fault blocks and fault zones. A, Regional setting. BSF, Bartlett Springs fault; CA, Calaveras fault; CSZ, Cascadia subduction zone; FF, Franklin fault; GF, Garberville fault; GLF, Garlock fault; HAY, Hayward fault; HF, Hosgri fault; MF, Maacama fault; MFZ, Mendocino Fracture Zone; NAD, Navarro discontinuity; NSAF, northern section of the San Andreas fault (north of the San Francisco peninsula); PF, Pilarcitos fault; PFZ, Pioneer Fracture Zone; PLT, Pleito thrust; PRT, Pastoria-Rand thrust zone; RCF, Rodgers Creek fault; SAF, San Andreas fault, including Peninsular segment; SGF, San Gregorio fault; SNF, Sur-Nacimiento fault; TBF, Tolay-Bloomfield fault; ZVF, Zayante-Vergeles fault. B, San Francisco Bay block, showing locations of plate 1 and figure 2A. Star, epicenter of October 18, 1989, main shock.

    • Here is the cross-section presented by McLaughlin and Clark (2003). We can see how Wells interprets the subsurface geology to be configured. First we see a deeper and more zoomed out view of the plate tectonics here. Then we see a larger scale version showing the faults in greater detail.

    • Schematic cross section across the California margin at latitude of Loma Prieta (fig. 1), showing hypothetical deep structure of the San Andreas fault system, tectonic wedging, and plate boundary relations. Depth, thickness, and compositions of crust and mantle units and location of midcrustal decollement are partly inferred from seismic reflection and refraction models of Fuis and Mooney (1990), Page and Brocher (1993), and Brocher and others (this chapter). Depth to present top of slab window (Dickinson and Snyder, 1979), configuration of lithified materials underplated in older, shallower roof area of window, and hypothetical boundary relation between the Pacific and North American plates are based on thermal and seismic models of Furlong and others (1989). CAL, Calaveras fault; SAF, San Andreas fault; SAR, Sargent fault; SGF, San Gregorio fault; TESLA–ORT, Tesla-Ortigalita fault; ZAY, Zayante fault.


      Surface deformation and crustal structure in the Summit Road-Skyland Ridge area (fig. 2B). A, Rose diagrams comparing observed and expected horizontal surface-deformation fields during 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. B, Block diagram showing inferred crustal structure across the San Andreas fault and possible relation to primary and secondary slip during 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Red echelon faults at surface and shallow subsurface are fissures in the Summit Road-Skyland Ridge fault zone. Loma Prieta rupture is shown in red at depth, extending upward from main shock to base of the gabbro of Logan. Deep configuration of the San Andreas fault is partly inferred from Olson and Hill (1993). Crustal structure to about 10-km depth is partly inferred from Jachens and Griscom (this chapter), and below about 10-km depth is highly speculative and inferred from indicated seismic velocities (Fuis and Mooney, 1990; Rufus Catchings, oral commun., 1993; see Brocher and others, this chapter).

    Central California – Earthquake Hazard

    • Based on our knowledge of prehistoric and historic earthquakes, the USGS and CGS have made estimates of the chance that faults may rupture in the next couple of decades (Aagaard et al., 2014). Below is a map from this report that shows the major faults and the likelihood that they may cause an earthquake in between 2014 & 2043. Note that the Hayward fault has the highest chance of slipping over this time period.

    Loma Prieta – Earthquake Fault Slip Distribution

    • There are a number of slip models for the Loma Prieta Earthquake. These show the amount that the fault slipped during an earthquake. This type of modeling can be constrained by a number of factors including GPS geodetic data or seismic data.
    • Below is a figure from Jiang and Lapusta (2016). There are slip models for 3 different earthquakes. Slip is represented by color. Earthquake locations are shown as circles. B shows the depth distribution of the earthquakes.

    • (A) Spatial relations of the inferred coseismic slip during large earthquakes (in color, with hypocenters as red stars) and microseismicity before (blue circles) and after (black circles), over time periods shown in (B).The large earthquakes are: (i) 2004 Mw 6.0 Parkfield (6, 16), (ii) 1989 Mw 6.9 Loma Prieta (32), and (iii) 2002 Mw 7.9 Denali (33). Small earthquakes within 2, 4, and 5 km of the fault for the three cases, respectively, are projected onto the fault plane (except iii) and plotted using a circular crack model with the same seismic moment and 3 MPa stress drop. (B) (Left) Time evolution of the depths of seismicity (gray circles) and (right) the depth distribution of normalized total seismic moment released before (blue lines), during (red lines), and after (gray) the mainshock (MS).We considered seismicity and coseismic fault slip inside the regions of largest slip outlined by the red dashed lines in (A). Seismic moment release before the Denali event is not shown because of the small number of events.

    • These authors were investigating how faults behave. Below is another schematic illustration showing their different fault models (conventional vs. deeper-penetration).

    • (A) A strike-slip fault model with the seismogenic zone (light gray areas), creeping regions (yellow), and fault heterogeneity (dark gray circles). The initiation point and rupture fronts of a large earthquake are illustrated by the red star and contours, respectively. (B) The locked seismogenic zone and creeping regions below are typically interpreted as having VW and VS rate-and-state friction properties, respectively. In purely rate-and-state models, the VW/VS boundary and locked-creeping transition nearly coincide, and the associated concentrated shear stressing induced at the locked-creeping transition (blue line) promotes microseismicity at the bottom of the seismogenic zone in the interseismic period (blue circles). However, large earthquake rupture may extend seismic slip deeper than the VW/VS boundary, due to enhanced dynamic weakening (DW) at high slip rates, putting the locked-creeping transition and the associated concentrated stressing (red line) within the VS region and hence suppressing microseismicity nucleation.


    More about the background seismotectonics

    • I place a map shows the configuration of faults in central (San Francisco) and northern (Point Delgada – Punta Gorda) CA (Wallace, 1990). Here is the caption for this map, that is on the lower left corner of my map. Below the citation is this map presented on its own.

    • Geologic sketch map of the northern Coast Ranges, central California, showing faults with Quaternary activity and basin deposits in northern section of the San Andreas fault system. Fault patterns are generalized, and only major faults are shown. Several Quaternary basins are fault bounded and aligned parallel to strike-slip faults, a relation most apparent along the Hayward-Rodgers Creek-Maacama fault trend.

    • Here is the figure showing the evolution of the SAF since its inception about 29 Ma. I include the USGS figure caption below as a blockquote.

    • EVOLUTION OF THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT.

      This series of block diagrams shows how the subduction zone along the west coast of North America transformed into the San Andreas Fault from 30 million years ago to the present. Starting at 30 million years ago, the westward- moving North American Plate began to override the spreading ridge between the Farallon Plate and the Pacific Plate. This action divided the Farallon Plate into two smaller plates, the northern Juan de Fuca Plate (JdFP) and the southern Cocos Plate (CP). By 20 million years ago, two triple junctions began to migrate north and south along the western margin of the West Coast. (Triple junctions are intersections between three tectonic plates; shown as red triangles in the diagrams.) The change in plate configuration as the North American Plate began to encounter the Pacific Plate resulted in the formation of the San Andreas Fault. The northern Mendocino Triple Junction (M) migrated through the San Francisco Bay region roughly 12 to 5 million years ago and is presently located off the coast of northern California, roughly midway between San Francisco (SF) and Seattle (S). The Mendocino Triple Junction represents the intersection of the North American, Pacific, and Juan de Fuca Plates. The southern Rivera Triple Junction (R) is presently located in the Pacific Ocean between Baja California (BC) and Manzanillo, Mexico (MZ). Evidence of the migration of the Mendocino Triple Junction northward through the San Francisco Bay region is preserved as a series of volcanic centers that grow progressively younger toward the north. Volcanic rocks in the Hollister region are roughly 12 million years old whereas the volcanic rocks in the Sonoma-Clear Lake region north of San Francisco Bay range from only few million to as little as 10,000 years old. Both of these volcanic areas and older volcanic rocks in the region are offset by the modern regional fault system. (Image modified after original illustration by Irwin, 1990 and Stoffer, 2006.)

    • Here is a map that shows the shaking potential for earthquakes in CA. This comes from the state of California here.

    • Earthquake shaking hazards are calculated by projecting earthquake rates based on earthquake history and fault slip rates, the same data used for calculating earthquake probabilities. New fault parameters have been developed for these calculations and are included in the report of the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities. Calculations of earthquake shaking hazard for California are part of a cooperative project between USGS and CGS, and are part of the National Seismic Hazard Maps. CGS Map Sheet 48 (revised 2008) shows potential seismic shaking based on National Seismic Hazard Map calculations plus amplification of seismic shaking due to the near surface soils.

    Hayward Fault Scenarios

    • The USGS prepares earthquake shakemap scenarios for known earthquake sources in the US.
    • Below is a summary of what these scenarios are and how they can be used (from the USGS).
    • A scenario represents one realization of a potential future earthquake by assuming a particular magnitude, location, and fault-rupture geometry and estimating shaking using a variety of strategies.

      In planning and coordinating emergency response, utilities, local government, and other organizations are best served by conducting training exercises based on realistic earthquake situations—ones similar to those they are most likely to face. ShakeMap Scenario earthquakes can fill this role. They can also be used to examine exposure of structures, lifelines, utilities, and transportation corridors to specified potential earthquakes.

      A ShakeMap earthquake scenario is a predictive ShakeMap with an assumed magnitude and location, and, optionally, specified fault geometry.

    • Last year there was an effort to educate the public about earthquake hazards in the San Francisco Bay Area. This effort surrounded the 150 year anniversary of the last major earthquake on the Hayward fault. More can be found about the Haywired Project here.
    • I prepare below an interpretive poster that highlights three of the earthquake scenarios for the Hayward fault system, each with increasing magnitude (M 6.9, M 7.3, and M 7.6). Due to the uncertainty about which faults may rupture next, multiple scenarios are used to simulate earthquake effects.
    • The poster below shows the scenario earthquake fault in white (the source of the ground shaking). Earthquake intensity (using the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale) is represented by a color scale (see legend). The inset map on the right shows USGS seismicity between 1919 and 2019.

    • Look at how the same MMI extends for a larger distance across the flat areas (like Sacramento Valley). This is because the sedimentary basins in those areas amplify the seismic waves, so the ground shaking is stronger there.
    • The effect is evidenced in most valleys, such as Napa, Santa Clara, and Salinas.
    • Here is the USGS ShakeMap (Aargard et al., 2008)

    • ShakeMap for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake based on the Boatwright and Bundock (2005) intensities (processed 18 October 2005). Open circles identify the intensity sites used to construct the ShakeMap.

    Geologic Fundamentals

    • For more on the graphical representation of moment tensors and focal mechnisms, check this IRIS video out:
    • Here is a fantastic infographic from Frisch et al. (2011). This figure shows some examples of earthquakes in different plate tectonic settings, and what their fault plane solutions are. There is a cross section showing these focal mechanisms for a thrust or reverse earthquake. The upper right corner includes my favorite figure of all time. This shows the first motion (up or down) for each of the four quadrants. This figure also shows how the amplitude of the seismic waves are greatest (generally) in the middle of the quadrant and decrease to zero at the nodal planes (the boundary of each quadrant).

    • There are three types of earthquakes, strike-slip, compressional (reverse or thrust, depending upon the dip of the fault), and extensional (normal). Here is are some animations of these three types of earthquake faults. The following three animations are from IRIS.
    • Strike Slip:

      Compressional:

      Extensional:

    • This is an image from the USGS that shows how, when an oceanic plate moves over a hotspot, the volcanoes formed over the hotspot form a series of volcanoes that increase in age in the direction of plate motion. The presumption is that the hotspot is stable and stays in one location. Torsvik et al. (2017) use various methods to evaluate why this is a false presumption for the Hawaii Hotspot.

    • A cutaway view along the Hawaiian island chain showing the inferred mantle plume that has fed the Hawaiian hot spot on the overriding Pacific Plate. The geologic ages of the oldest volcano on each island (Ma = millions of years ago) are progressively older to the northwest, consistent with the hot spot model for the origin of the Hawaiian Ridge-Emperor Seamount Chain. (Modified from image of Joel E. Robinson, USGS, in “This Dynamic Planet” map of Simkin and others, 2006.)

    • Here is a map from Torsvik et al. (2017) that shows the age of volcanic rocks at different locations along the Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain.

    • Hawaiian-Emperor Chain. White dots are the locations of radiometrically dated seamounts, atolls and islands, based on compilations of Doubrovine et al. and O’Connor et al. Features encircled with larger white circles are discussed in the text and Fig. 2. Marine gravity anomaly map is from Sandwell and Smith.

      Social Media

      References:

      Basic & General References

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

    • Aargard, B.T. and Beroza, G.C., 2008. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake a Century Later: Introduction to the Special Section in BSSA, v. 98, no. 2, p. 817-822, https://doi.org/10.1785/0120060401
    • Aargard, B.T. et al., 2008. Ground-Motion Modeling of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Part II: Ground-Motion Estimates for the 1906 Earthquake and Scenario Events in BSSA, v. 98, no. 2, p. 1012-1046, https://doi.org/10.1785/0120060410
    • Aagaard, B.T., Blair, J.L., Boatwright, J., Garcia, S.H., Harris, R.A., Michael, A.J., Schwartz, D.P., and DiLeo, J.S., 2016, Earthquake outlook for the San Francisco Bay region 2014–2043 (ver. 1.1, August 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3020, 6 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163020.
    • 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
    • Jiang, J. and Lapusta, N., 2016. Deeper penetration of large earthquakes on seismically quiescent faults in Science, v. 352, no. 6291, p. 1293-1297, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1496
    • Keefer, D.K., 1984. Landslides Caused by Earthquakes in GSA Bulletin, v. 95, p. 406-421
    • Keefer, D.K., 1998. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989: Strong Ground Motion and Ground Failure in Keefer, D.K., Manson, M.W., Griggs, G.B., Plant, Nathaniel, Schuster, R.L., Wieczorek, G.F., Hope, D.G., Harp, E.L., Nolan, J.M., Weber, G.E., Cole, W.F., Marcum, D.R., Shires, P.O., and Clark, B.R., Chapter C. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Landslides, USGS Professional Paper 1551-C, https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1551C
    • Keefer, D.K. and Mason M.W., 1998. Regional Distribution and Characteristics of Landslides Generated by the Earthquake in Keefer, D.K., Manson, M.W., Griggs, G.B., Plant, Nathaniel, Schuster, R.L., Wieczorek, G.F., Hope, D.G., Harp, E.L., Nolan, J.M., Weber, G.E., Cole, W.F., Marcum, D.R., Shires, P.O., and Clark, B.R., Chapter C. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Landslides, USGS Professional Paper 1551-C, https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1551C
    • McLaughlin, R.J. and Clark, J.C., 2003. Stratigraphy and Structure Across the San Andreas Fault Zone in the Loma Preita Region and Deformation During the Earthquake in Wells, R.E., ed., The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Geologic Setting and Crustal Structure, USGS Professional Paper 11550-E, http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/p1550e/
    • Stoffer, P.W., 2006, Where’s the San Andreas Fault? A guidebook to tracing the fault on public lands in the San Francisco Bay region: U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication 16, 123 p., online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2006/16/
    • USGS, 2004. Landslide Types and Processes, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3072
    • Wallace, Robert E., ed., 1990, The San Andreas fault system, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515, 283 p. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1988/1434/].
    • 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, doi: 0.1785/0120160198

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in earthquake, education, geology, plate tectonics, San Andreas, San Francisco, strike-slip, Transform, Uncategorized

    Earthquake Report: Chile

    I am catching up on earthquake reports today as I was in the field the past couple of weeks…

    Well, these reports are getting too long. So, I have placed the explanatory material on 2 web pages, so one does not need to read through that stuff if they have been here before. I will link those pages in all reports. You’re welcome. ;-)

    This will also save me some time and make writing these reports simpler.

    On 1 August 2019 there was an earthquake along the convergent plate boundary along the west coast of Chile (a subduction zone forming the Peru-Chile trench). This subduction zone megathrust fault produced the largest magnitude earthquake recorded on seismometers in 1960, the Valparaiso, Chile magnitude M9.5 earthquake that caused a trans-pacific tsunami causing damage and deaths all along the western hemispheric coastline.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us60004yps/executive

    This M 6.8 earthquake happened at the overlap of the southern end of the 1985 M8.0 and northern end of the 2010 M8.8 earthquakes. Does this portend that there will be another, larger, earthquake in this area soon? Only time will tell.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1919-2019 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.
    • 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 showing historic earthquakes along the Chile margin (Rhea et al., 2010). We may visualize the earthquake depths by checking out the color of the dots. To the below is a cross section, cutting into the Earth. Earthquakes that are along the profile D-D’ (in blue on the map) are included in this cross section. I also placed a blue line on the main map in the general location of this cross section. I placed a blue star in the general location of the M=6.8 earthquake (same for the other inset figures).
    • To the right is a map that shows a comparison between the USGS modeled intensity (using the MMI scale) with the USGS “Did You Feel It?” reports (results from real people). The model and the reported results are quite similar. See the MMI poster below for a more comprehensive comparison. In addition, I include depth contours of the subducting megathrust slab (Hayes et al., 2016; read more here).
    • In the center left bottom, I include a schematic cross section of the subduction zone. This shows where earthquakes may occur, generally. There are subduction zone megathrust earthquakes (the largest of magnitude), crustal earthquakes, slab earthquakes, and outer rise earthquakes.
    • In the lower right corner is a map that shows the relative seismic hazard for this plate boundary (Rhea et al., 2010). I plot both 2019 earthquakes.< The numbers (“80”) indicate the rate at which the Nazca Plate is subducting beneath South America. 80 mm/yr = 3 in/yr.
    • In the upper right corner is a composite figure from several figures from Metois et al., 2016. On the left is a panel that shows the latitudinal range of earthquake ruptures (I fixed it in places as the original figure did not extend the 2010 rupture sufficiently to the north). The panel on the right shows how much the subduction zone fault is “locked” (or, seismically coupled). Darker colors represent parts of the fault that are storing more energy over time and are possibly places where the fault will slip (compared to parts of the fault that are white or yellow, which may be places where the fault is currently slipping and would not generate earthquakes in the future). This is simply a model and there is not way to really know where an earthquake will happen until there is an earthquake.
    • Here is the map with a century’s seismicity plotted, for earthquakes associated with the larger earthquakes from this region (colored relative to time scale, 1960, 1985, 2010, 2015, 2019).

    USGS Shaking Intensity

    • Here is a figure that shows a more detailed comparison between the modeled intensity and the reported intensity. Borth 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).
    • In the lower right corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots. The mean and median (different types of “average”) are plotted as orand and purple dots. Note how well the reports fit the green line (the model that represents how MMI works based on quakes in California). I plot Santiago relative to distance from the earthquake with a blue arrow (compare with the poster).

    USGS Historic Seismicity

    • Here is a poster that shows the significant earthquakes along this plate boundary. Note how there are earthquakes in the Nazca plate associated with the 2010 and 2015 megathrust subduction zone earthquakes. These are triggered earthquakes along the outer rise, not additional subduction zone earthquakes.
    • In the lower right corner is a figure from Beck (1998) that shows the spatial extent of the known earthquakes. I added the extent of the 2015 and 2010 earthquakes as green arrows.
    • In the upper right corner is an excellent figure from Horton (2018) that shows the plate tectonic setting for this area.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is the overview figure from Horton, 2018.

    • Maps of (A) tectonic framework, (B) topography, and (C) sedimentary basin configuration of South America. (A) Map of plate boundaries, Andean magmatic arc (including the northern, central, and southern volcanic zones), regions of flat slab subduction, modern stress orientations from earthquake focal mechanisms, eastern front of Andean fold-thrust belt, and key segments of the retroarc foreland basin system. Plate velocities are shown relative to stable South American plate (DeMets et al., 2010). (B) DEM topographic map showing the Andes mountains and adjacent foreland region, including the Amazon, Parana, Orinoco, and Magdalena (Mag) river systems. (C) Map of Andean retroarc basins, showing isopach thicknesses (in km) of Cretaceous-Cenozoic basin fill, forebulge axis (from Chase et al., 2009), and locations of 13 sites (8 foreland basins, 5 hinterland basins) considered in this synthesis

    • Here is the seismic hazard map is from Rhea et al. (2010).

    • Here is the seismicity map and space time diagram from Métois et al. (2016). The subduction zone fault in the region of Coquimbo, Chile changes geometry, probably because of the Juan Fernandez Ridge (this structure controls the shape of the subduction zone). This figure shows a map and cross section for two parts of the subduction zone (Marot et al., 2014). Note how the subduction zone flattens out with depth here. The M=6.7 quake was shallower than this, but the shape of the downgoing slab does affect the amount of slab pull (tension in the down-dip direction) is exerted along the plate.

    • Left estimated extent of large historical or instrumental ruptures along the Chilean margin adapted from ME´ TOIS et al. (2012). Gray stars mark major intra-slab events. The recent Mw[8 earthquakes are indicated in red. Gray shaded areas correspond to LCZs defined in Fig. 3. Right seismicity recorded by the Centro Sismologico Nacional (CSN) during
      interseismic period, color-coded depending on the event’s depth. Three zones have been defined to avoid including aftershocks and preshocks associated with major events: (1) in North Chile, we plot the seismicity from 2008 to january 2014, i.e., between the Tocopilla and Iquique earthquakes; (2) in Central Chile, we plot the seismicity on the entire 2000–2014 period; (3) in South-Central Chile, we selected events that occurred between 2000 and 2010, i.e., before the Maule earthquake.

    • This figure is the 3 panel figure in the interpretive poster showing how seismicity is distributed along the margin, how historic earthquake slip was distributed, and how the fault may be locked (or slipping) along the megathrust fault.

    • a Histogram depicts the rate of Mw>3 earthquakes registered by the CSN catalog during the interseismic period defined for each zone (see Fig. 2) on the subduction interface, on 0.2° of latitude sliding windows. Stars are swarm-like sequences detected by HOLTKAMP et al. (2011) depending on their occurrence date. Swarms located in the Iquique LCZ and Camarones segment are from RUIZ et al. (2014). Empty squares are significant intraplate earthquakes. b Red curve variations of the average coupling coefficient on the first 60 km of depth calculated on 0.2° of latitude sliding windows for our best model including an Andean sliver motion. Dashed pink curves are alternative models with different smoothing options that fit the data with nRMS better than 2 (see supplementary figure 6): the pink shaded envelope around our best model stands for the variability of the coupling along strike. Green curves coseismic distribution for Maule (VIGNY et al. 2011), Iquique (LAY et al. 2014) and Illapel earthquakes (RUIZ et al. 2016). Gray shaded areas stand for the identified low coupling zones (LCZs). LCZs and high coupling segments are named on the left. The apparent decrease in the average coupling North of 30°S is considered as an artifact of the Andean sliver motion (see Sect. 5.2). c Best coupling distribution obtained inverting for Andean sliver motion and coupling amount simultaneously. The rupture zones for the three major earthquakes are indicated as green ellipses. White shaded areas are zones where we lack resolution.

    • This is a figure that shows details about the coupling compared to some slip models for the 2010, 2014, and 2015 earthquakes.

    • Left coupling maps (color coded) versus coseismic slip distributions (gray shaded contours in cm) for the last three major Chilean earthquakes (epicenters are marked by white stars). From top to bottom Iquique area, white squares are pre-seismic swarm event in the month before the main shock, green star is the 2005, Tarapaca´ intraslab earthquake epicenter, blue star is the Mw 6.7 Iquique aftershock; Illapel area, green squares show the seismicity associated with the 1997 swarm following the Punitaqui intraslab earthquake (green star); Maule area, green star is the epicenter of the 1939 Chillan intraslab earthquake. Right interseismic background seismicity in the shallow part of the subduction zone (shallower than 60 km depth) for each region (red dots) together with 80 and 90 % coupling contours. White dots are events identified as mainshock after a declustering procedure following GARDNER and KNOPOFF (1974). Yellow areas extent of swarm sequences identified by HOLTKAMP et al. (2011) for South and Central Chile, and RUIZ et al. (2014) for North Chile.

    • This is the fault locking figure from Saillard et al. (2017), showing the percent coupling (how much of the plate convergence contributes to deformation of the plate boundary, which may tell us places on the fault that might slip during an earthquake. We are still learning about why this is important and what it means.

    • Comparison between the uplift rates, interseismic coupling, major bathymetric features, and peninsulas along the Andean margin (10°S–40°S). (a) Uplift rates of marine terraces reported in the literature (we present the average rate since terrace abandonment; Table S1 in the supporting information [Jara-Muñoz et al., 2015]). Each color corresponds to a marine terrace assigned to a marine isotopic stage (MIS). Gray dots are the uplift rates of the central Andean rasa estimated from a numerical model of landscape evolution [Melnick, 2016]. (b) Major bathymetric features and peninsulas and pattern of interseismic coupling of the Andean margin from GPS data inversion (this study). Gray shaded areas correspond to the areas where the spatial resolution of inversion is low due to the poor density of GPS observations (see text and supporting information for more details). The Peru-Chile trench (thick black line), the coastline (thin black line), and the convergence direction (black arrows) are indicated. We superimposed the curve obtained by shifting the trench geometry eastward by 110 km (trench-coast distance of 110 km; blue line) with the curve reflecting the 40 km isodepth of the subducting slab (red line; Slab1.0 from Hayes and Wald [2009]), a depth which corresponds approximately with the downdip end of the locked portion of the Andean seismogenic zone (±10 km) [Ruff and Tichelaar, 1996; Khazaradze and Klotz, 2003; Chlieh et al., 2011; Ruegg et al., 2009; Moreno et al., 2011; Métois et al., 2012]. The two curves are spatially similar in the erosive part of the Chile margin (north of 34°S), whereas they diverge along the shallower slab geometry in the accretionary part of the Chile margin (south of 34°S), where the downdip end of the locked zone may be shallower (Figure 4b). Red arrows indicate the low interseismic coupling associated with peninsulas and marine terraces and evidence of aseismic afterslip (after Perfettini et al. [2010] below the Pisco-Nazca Peninsula; Pritchard and Simons [2006], Victor et al. [2011], Shirzaei et al. [2012], Bejar-Pizarro et al. [2013], and Métois et al. [2013] for the Mejillones Peninsula; Métois et al. [2012, 2014] below the Tongoy Peninsula; and Métois et al. [2012] and Lin et al. [2013] for the Arauco Peninsula). FZ: Fracture zone. Horizontal blue bands are the areas where coastline is less than 110 km (light blue) or 90 km (dark blue) from the trench (see Figure 1).

    • The following figures from Leyton et al. (2009) are great analogies, showing examples of interplate earthquakes (e.g. subduction zone megathrust events) and intraplate earthquakes (e.g. slab quakes, or events within the downgoing plate). The first figures are maps showing these earthquakes, then there are some seismicity cross sections.

    • Maps showing the location of the study and the events used ((a)–(c)). In red we present interplate earthquakes, while in blue, the intermediate depth, intraplate ones. We used beach balls to plot those events with known focal and circles for those without. White triangles mark the position of the Chilean Seismological Network used to locate the events; those with names represent stations used in the waveform analysis (either accelerometers or broadbands with known instrumental response). Labels over beach balls correspond to CMT codes.

    • Here are 2 cross sections showing the earthquakes plotted in the maps above (Leyton et al., 2009).

    • Cross-section at (a) 33.5◦S and (b) 36.5◦S showing the events used in this study. In red we present interplate earthquakes, while in blue, the intermediate depth, intraplate ones.We used beach balls (vertical projection) to plot those events with knownfocal and circles for those without. In light gray is shown the background seismicity recorded from 2000 to 2006 by the Chilean Seismological Service

    • Here is the cross section figure I prepared for the interpretive poster above.

      Social Media

      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>
    • 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
    • Specific References

    • Beck, S., Barrientos, S., Kausel, E., and Reyes, M., 1998. Source Characteristics of Historic Earthquakes along the Central Chile Subduction Zone in Journal of South American Earth Sciences, v. 11, no. 2, p. 115-129, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0895-9811(98)00005-4
    • Gardi, A., A. Lemoine, R. Madariaga, and J. Campos (2006), Modeling of stress transfer in the Coquimbo region of central Chile, J. Geophys. Res., 111, B04307, https://doi.org/10.1029/2004JB003440
    • Horton, B.K., 2018. Sedimentary record of Andean mountain building< in Earth-Science Reviews, v. 178, p. 279-309, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.11.025
    • Leyton, F., Ruiz, J., Campos, J., and Kausel, E., 2009. Intraplate and interplate earthquakes in Chilean subduction zone:
      A theoretical and observational comparison in Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, v. 175, p. 37-46, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2008.03.017
    • Marot, M., Monfret, T., Gerbault, M.,. Nolet, G., Ranalli, G., and Pardo, M., 2014. Flat versus normal subduction zones: a comparison based on 3-D regional traveltime tomography and petrological modelling of central Chile and western Argentina (29◦–35◦S) in GJI, v. 199, p. 1633-164, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu355
    • Métois, M., Vigny, C., and Socquet, A., 2016. Interseismic Coupling, Megathrust Earthquakes and Seismic Swarms Along the Chilean Subduction Zone (38°–18°S) in Pure Applied Geophysics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-016-1280-5
    • Rhea, S., Hayes, G., Villaseñor, A., Furlong, K.P., Tarr, A.C., and Benz, H.M., 2010. Seismicity of the earth 1900–2007, Nazca Plate and South America: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1083-E, 1 sheet, scale 1:12,000,000.
    • Ruiz, S. and Madariaga, R., 2018. Historical and recent large megathrust earthquakes in Chile in Tectonophysics, v. 733, p. 37-56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2018.01.015
    • Saillard, M., L. Audin, B. Rousset, J.-P. Avouac, M. Chlieh, S. R. Hall, L. Husson, and D. L. Farber, 2017. From the seismic cycle to long-term deformation: linking seismic coupling and Quaternary coastal geomorphology along the Andean megathrust in Tectonics, 36, https://doi:10.1002/2016TC004156.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

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    Earthquake Report: Blanco fault

    Well, these reports are getting too long. So, I have placed the explanatory material on 2 web pages, so one does not need to read through that stuff if they have been here before. I will link those pages in all reports. You’re welcome. ;-)

    This will also save me some time and make writing these reports simpler.

    The tectonics of the northeast Pacific is dominated by the Cascadia subduction zone, a convergent plate boundary, where the Explorer, Juan de Fuca, and Gorda oceanic plates dive eastward beneath the North America plate.

    These oceanic plates are created (formed, though I love writing “created” in science writing) at oceanic spreading ridges/centers.

    When oceanic spreading centers are offset laterally, a strike-slip fault forms called a transform fault. The Blanco transform fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault (like the San Andreas fault). Thanks to Dr. Harold Tobin for pointing out why this is not a fracture zone.

    This plate boundary fault system (BF) is quite active with ten magnitude M ≥ 6.0 earthquakes in the past 50 years (one every 5 years) and about 150 M ≥ 5 earthquakes in the same time range.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us700059qh/executive

    When there are quakes on the BF, people always wonder if the Cascadia megathrust is affected by this… “are we at greater risk because of those BF earthquakes?”

    The main take away is that we are not at a greater risk because of these earthquakes. More on this below the interpretive poster.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1919-2019 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.
    • 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 of the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) and regional tectonic plate boundary faults. This is modified from several sources (Chaytor et al., 2004; Nelson et al., 2004). I placed a blue stars in the general location of today’s earthquake (as in other inset figures in this poster). As for all insets in this poster, I place a cyan star in the general location of this M 6.3 earthquake.
    • In the lower left corner is an illustration modified from Plafker (1972). This figure shows how a subduction zone deforms between (interseismic) and during (coseismic) earthquakes. Today’s earthquake did not occur along the CSZ, so did not produce crustal deformation like this. However, it is useful to know this when studying the CSZ. Today’s earthquakes happened in the lower Gorda plate
    • In the upper right corner is a map that shows 21st century earthquakes along the Blanco transform fault system.
    • In the lower right corner is a map from Dziak et al. (2000) that shows the topography (in the upper panel) and the faulting (in the lower panel) along the BFZ. I outline the location of this figure in the main part of the poster. Blue = lower elevation, deeper oceanic depths; Red = shallower oceanic depth, higher elevation. I placed orange arrows to help one locate the normal faults (perpendicular to the strike-slip faults) in this map. Compare this inset map with the Google Earth bathymetry in the main map. Can you see the BFZ perpendicular ridges?
    • Here is the map with a century’s seismicity plotted, for earthquakes of magnitude M ≥ 6.0.

    Stress Triggering

    When earthquake faults slip, the surrounding crust and faults change shape and this causes areas of the faults to get imparted increased or decreased amounts of stress. If these faults are almost ready to slip and the change of stress is increased sufficiently, those source earthquakes may trigger earthquakes on the receiver fault (the one with increased stress). This is termed “static coulomb stress triggering.”

    Typically the maximum distance from an earthquake that these stress changes can trigger an earthquake is about twice the length of the source earthquake.

    If we use data from historic earthquakes to correlate earthquake fault slip length to magnitude, we can estimate the length of the BF that slipped during the M 6.3 temblor (Wells and Coppersmith, 1994).

    Below is a figure from Wells and Coppersmith (1994) that shows the empirical relations between surface rupture length (SRL, the length of the fault that ruptures to the ground surface) and magnitude. If one knows the SRL (horizontal axis), they can estimate the magnitude (vertical axis). The left plot shows the earthquake data. The right plot shows how their formulas “predict” these data.


    * note, i corrected this caption by changing the word “relationships” to “relations.”

    (a) Regression of surface rupture length on magnitude (M). Regression line shown for all-slip-type relations. Short dashed line indicates 95% confidence interval. (b) Regression lines for strike-slip, reverse, and normal-slip relations. See Table 2 for regression coefficients. Length of regression lines shows the range of data for each relation.

    We don’t really know what the SRL for the M 6.3, but using these empirical relations, the length of the M 6.3 fault is probably between 11-14 km. So, the distance that the M 6.3 could probably trigger another quake is limited to 30 km or so. The westward tip of North America is about 230 km from the M 6.3 epicenter, with the locked zone (the part of the megathrust that might slip during an earthquake) is tens of km even further away (maybe more than 300 km).

    To give us an idea about this stress triggering stuff, below is a figure from Rollins and Stein (2010). This figure shows the results from their model. This model shows the change in stress imparted upon the megathrust from a strike-slip fault in the Gorda plate (a 1980 M 7.3 earthquake, which was very close to the megathrust).

    The red areas show areas of increased stress, blue areas show decreased stress. This is based on a left-lateral strike-slip fault (so a right-lateral quake would produce changes in stress the opposite as this, red regions would be blue and blue regions would be red, generally).

    The M 7.3 SRL may have been between 86-104 km. Compare this with the 12-14 km SRL for a M 6.3. The changes in coulomb stress for the M 6.3 is much much less than for the > 7.3.


    Coulomb stress changes imparted by the 1980 Mw = 7.3 earthquake (B) to a matrix of faults representing the Mendocino Fault Zone, the Cascadia subduction zone, and NE striking left‐lateral faults in the Gorda zone. (con’t)

    So, now you may have more insight about whether or not a BF earthquake could affect the CSZ megathrust. (If a M 7.8 BF earthquake happened, it would be at the outer limits of beginning to influence the megathrust, but this affect would be quite small)

    2018.08.22 M 6.2 Blanco transform fault

    About a year ago, there was a magnitude M 6.2 temblor on the same plate boundary fault system. Here is the earthquake report for that M 6.2 event. Below I include the 2 posters from that Earthquake Report.

    • I include two main interpretive posters for this earthquake. One includes information from this earthquake, including the MMI contours and USGS “Did You Feel It?” colored polygons. This way we can compare the modeled estimate of intensity (MMI contours) and the reports from real people (DYFI data). There are some good matches and some mismatches (in western Oregon). Check this out and try to think about why there may be mismatches.

    • The second poster includes earthquake information for earthquakes with M ≥ 6.0. I place fault mechanisms for all existing USGS mechanisms from the Blanco fracture zone and I include some examples from the rest of the region. These other mechanisms show how different areas have different tectonic regimes. Earthquakes within the Gorda plate are largely responding to being deformed in a tectonic die between the surrounding stronger plates (northeast striking (oriented) left-lateral strike-slip earthquakes). I include one earthquake along the Mendocino fracture zone, a right-lateral (dextral) strike-slip earthquake from 1994. I include one of the more memorable thrust earthquakes, the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake. I also include an extensional earthquake from central Oregon that may represent extension (basin and range?) in the northwestern region of the basin and range.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    Cascadia subduction zone

    • Here is a map of the Cascadia subduction zone, modified from Nelson et al. (2006). The Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates subduct norteastwardly beneath the North America plate at rates ranging from 29- to 45-mm/yr. Sites where evidence of past earthquakes (paleoseismology) are denoted by white dots. Where there is also evidence for past CSZ tsunami, there are black dots. These paleoseismology sites are labeled (e.g. Humboldt Bay). Some submarine paleoseismology core sites are also shown as grey dots. The two main spreading ridges are not labeled, but the northern one is the Juan de Fuca ridge (where oceanic crust is formed for the Juan de Fuca plate) and the southern one is the Gorda rise (where the oceanic crust is formed for the Gorda plate).

    • Here is a version of the CSZ cross section alone (Plafker, 1972). This shows two parts of the earthquake cycle: the interseismic part (between earthquakes) and the coseismic part (during earthquakes). Regions that experience uplift during the interseismic period tend to experience subsidence during the coseismic period.

    • I was inspired today to prepare a new plate tectonic setting map for the Cascadia subduction zone. More about the materials on this poster can be found on this page.
    • This poster includes seismicity from the past 5 decades, for temblors M > 3.0. I also include the map and cross section as explained above. On the left is a map that shows the possible shaking intensity from a future CSZ earthquake.

    Blanco transform fault

    • This is the figure from Dziak et al. (2000) for us to evaluate. I include their long figure caption below.

    • (Top) Sea Beam bathymetric map of the Cascadia Depression, Blanco Ridge, and Gorda Depression, eastern Blanco Transform Fault Zone (BTFZ).Multibeam bathymetry was collected by the NOAA R/V’s Surveyor and Discoverer and the R/V Laney Chouest during 12 cruises in the 1980’s and 90’s. Bathymetry displayed using a 500 m grid interval. Numbers with arrows show look directions of three-dimensional diagrams in Figures 2 and 3. (Bottom) Structure map, interpreted from bathymetry, showing active faults and major geologic features of the region. Solid lines represent faults, dashed lines are fracture zones, and dotted lines show course of turbidite channels. When possible to estimate sense of motion on a fault, a filled circle shows the down-thrown side. Inset maps show location and generalized geologic structure of the BTFZ. Location of seismic reflection and gravity/magnetics profiles indicated by opposing brackets. D-D’ and E-E’ are the seismic reflection profiles shown in Figures 8a and 8b, and G-G’ is the gravity and magnetics profile shown in Figure 13. Submersible dive tracklines from sites 1 through 4 are highlighted in red. L1 and L2 are two lineations seen in three-dimensional bathymetry shown in Figures 2 and 3. Location of two Blanco Ridge slump scars indicated by half-rectangles, inferred direction of slump shown by arrow, and debris location (when identified) designated by an ‘S’. CD stands for Cascadia Depression, BR is Blanco Ridge, GD is Gorda Depression, and GR is Gorda Ridge. Numbers on north and south side of transform represent Juan de Fuca and Pacific plate crustal ages inferred from magnetic anomalies. Long-term plate motion rate between the Pacific and southern Juan de Fuca plates from Wilson (1989).

    BF Historic Seismicity

    • There were two Mw 4.2 earthquakes associated with this plate boundary fault system in mid 2015. I plot the moment tensors for these earthquakes (USGS pages: 4/7/15 and 4/11/15) in this map below. I also have placed the relative plate motions as arrows, labeled the plates, and placed a transparent focal mechanism plot above the BFZ showing the general sense of motion across this plate boundary. There have been several earthquakes along the Mendocino fault recently and I write about them 1/2015 here and 4/2015 here.

    • There was also seismic activity along the BFZ later in 2015. Here are my report and report update.
    • Here is a map showing these earthquakes, with moment tensors plotted for the M 5.8 and M 5.5 earthquakes. I include an inset map showing the plate configuration based upon the Nelson et al. (2004) and Chaytor et al. (2004) papers (I modified it). I also include a cross section of the subduction zone, as it is configured in-between earthquakes (interseismic) and during earthquakes (coseismic), modified from Plafker (1972).

    • I put together an animation that includes the seismicity from 1/1/2000 until 6/1/2015 for the region near the Blanco fracture zone, with earthquake magnitudes greater than or equal to M = 5.0. The map here shows all these epicenters, with the moment tensors for earthquakes of M = 6 or more (plus the two largest earthquakes from today’s swarm). Here is the page that I posted regarding the beginning of this swarm. Here is a post from some earthquakes earlier this year along the BFZ.
    • Earthquake epicenters are plotted with the depth designated by color and the magnitude depicted by the size of the circle. These are all fairly shallow earthquakes at depths suitable for oceanic lithosphere.

      Here is the list of the earthquakes with moment tensors plotted in the above maps (with links to the USGS websites for those earthquakes):

    • 2000/06/02 M 6.0
    • 2003/01/16 M 6.3
    • 2008/01/10 M 6.3
    • 2012/04/12 M 6.0
    • 2015/06/01 M 5.8
    • 2015/06/01 M 5.9
      Here are some files that are outputs from that USGS search above.

    • csv file
    • kml file (not animated)
    • kml file (animated)

    VIDEOS

      Here are links to the video files (it might be easier to download them and view them remotely as the files are large).

    • First Animation (20 mb mp4 file)
    • Second Animation (10 mb mp4 file)

    Here is the first animation that first adds the epicenters through time (beginning with the oldest earthquakes), then removes them through time (beginning with the oldest earthquakes).

    Here is the second animation that uses a one-year moving window. This way, one year after an earthquake is plotted, it is removed from the plot. This animation is good to see the spatiotemporal variation of seismicity along the BFZ.

    Here is a map with all the fore- and after-shocks plotted to date.

    Gorda Plate Seismicity

    • Here is a map from Chaytor et al. (2004) that shows some details of the faulting in the region. The moment tensor (at the moment i write this) shows a north-south striking fault with a reverse or thrust faulting mechanism. While this region of faulting is dominated by strike slip faults (and most all prior earthquake moment tensors showed strike slip earthquakes), when strike slip faults bend, they can create compression (transpression) and extension (transtension). This transpressive or transtentional deformation may produce thrust/reverse earthquakes or normal fault earthquakes, respectively. The transverse ranges north of Los Angeles are an example of uplift/transpression due to the bend in the San Andreas fault in that region.

    • A: Mapped faults and fault-related ridges within Gorda plate based on basement structure and surface morphology, overlain on bathymetric contours (gray lines—250 m interval). Approximate boundaries of three structural segments are also shown. Black arrows indicated approximate location of possible northwest- trending large-scale folds. B, C: uninterpreted and interpreted enlargements of center of plate showing location of interpreted second-generation strike-slip faults and features that they appear to offset. OSC—overlapping spreading center.

    • These are the models for tectonic deformation within the Gorda plate as presented by Jason Chaytor in 2004.
    • Mw = 5 Trinidad Chaytor

      Models of brittle deformation for Gorda plate overlain on magnetic anomalies modified from Raff and Mason (1961). Models A–F were proposed prior to collection and analysis of full-plate multibeam data. Deformation model of Gulick et al. (2001) is included in model A. Model G represents modification of Stoddard’s (1987) flexural-slip model proposed in this paper.

    • Here is a map from Rollins and Stein, showing their interpretations of different historic earthquakes in the region. This was published in response to the Januray 2010 Gorda plate earthquake. The faults are from Chaytor et al. (2004).

    • Tectonic configuration of the Gorda deformation zone and locations and source models for 1976–2010 M ≥ 5.9 earthquakes. Letters designate chronological order of earthquakes (Table 1 and Appendix A). Plate motion vectors relative to the Pacific Plate (gray arrows in main diagram) are from Wilson [1989], with Cande and Kent’s [1995] timescale correction.

    • In this map below, I label a number of other significant earthquakes in this Mendocino triple junction region. Another historic right-lateral earthquake on the Mendocino fault system was in 1994. There was a series of earthquakes possibly along the easternmost section of the Mendocino fault system in late January 2015, here is my post about that earthquake series.

    The Gorda and Juan de Fuca plates subduct beneath the North America plate to form the Cascadia subduction zone fault system. In 1992 there was a swarm of earthquakes with the magnitude Mw 7.2 Mainshock on 4/25. Initially this earthquake was interpreted to have been on the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ). The moment tensor shows a compressional mechanism. However the two largest aftershocks on 4/26/1992 (Mw 6.5 and Mw 6.7), had strike-slip moment tensors. These two aftershocks align on what may be the eastern extension of the Mendocino fault.

    There have been several series of intra-plate earthquakes in the Gorda plate. Two main shocks that I plot of this type of earthquake are the 1980 (Mw 7.2) and 2005 (Mw 7.2) earthquakes. I place orange lines approximately where the faults are that ruptured in 1980 and 2005. These are also plotted in the Rollins and Stein (2010) figure above. The Gorda plate is being deformed due to compression between the Pacific plate to the south and the Juan de Fuca plate to the north. Due to this north-south compression, the plate is deforming internally so that normal faults that formed at the spreading center (the Gorda Rise) are reactivated as left-lateral strike-slip faults. In 2014, there was another swarm of left-lateral earthquakes in the Gorda plate. I posted some material about the Gorda plate setting on this page.


      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>
    • 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
    • Specific References

    • Atwater, B.F., Musumi-Rokkaku, S., Satake, K., Tsuju, Y., Eueda, K., and Yamaguchi, D.K., 2005. The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America, USGS Professional Paper 1707, USGS, Reston, VA, 144 pp.
    • Chaytor, J.D., Goldfinger, C., Dziak, R.P., and Fox, C.G., 2004. Active deformation of the Gorda plate: Constraining deformation models with new geophysical data: Geology v. 32, p. 353-356.
    • Dengler, L.A., Moley, K.M., McPherson, R.C., Pasyanos, M., Dewey, J.W., and Murray, M., 1995. The September 1, 1994 Mendocino Fault Earthquake, California Geology, Marc/April 1995, p. 43-53.
    • Dziak, R.P., Fox, C.G., Embleey, R.W., Nabelek, J.L., Braunmiller, J., and Koski, R.A., 2000. Recent tectonics of the Blanco Ridge, eastern blanco transform fault zone in Marine Geophysical Researches, vol. 21, p. 423-450
    • Geist, E.L. and Andrews D.J., 2000. Slip rates on San Francisco Bay area faults from anelastic deformation of the continental lithosphere, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 105, no. B11, p. 25,543-25,552.
    • Irwin, W.P., 1990. Quaternary deformation, in Wallace, R.E. (ed.), 1990, The San Andreas Fault system, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515, online at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1990/1515/
    • Lin, J., R. S. Stein, M. Meghraoui, S. Toda, A. Ayadi, C. Dorbath, and S. Belabbes (2011), Stress transfer among en echelon and opposing thrusts and tear faults: Triggering caused by the 2003 Mw = 6.9 Zemmouri, Algeria, earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B03305, doi:10.1029/2010JB007654.
    • McCrory, P.A.,. Blair, J.L., Waldhauser, F., kand Oppenheimer, D.H., 2012. Juan de Fuca slab geometry and its relation to Wadati-Benioff zone seismicity in JGR, v. 117, B09306, doi:10.1029/2012JB009407.
    • McLaughlin, R.J., Sarna-Wojcicki, A.M., Wagner, D.L., Fleck, R.J., Langenheim, V.E., Jachens, R.C., Clahan, K., and Allen, J.R., 2012. Evolution of the Rodgers Creek–Maacama right-lateral fault system and associated basins east of the northward-migrating Mendocino Triple Junction, northern California in Geosphere, v. 8, no. 2., p. 342-373.
    • Nelson, A.R., Asquith, A.C., and Grant, W.C., 2004. Great Earthquakes and Tsunamis of the Past 2000 Years at the Salmon River Estuary, Central Oregon Coast, USA: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 94, No. 4, pp. 1276–1292
    • Rollins, J.C. and Stein, R.S., 2010. Coulomb stress interactions among M ≥ 5.9 earthquakes in the Gorda deformation zone and on the Mendocino Fault Zone, Cascadia subduction zone, and northern San Andreas Fault: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 115, B12306, doi:10.1029/2009JB007117, 2010.
    • Stoffer, P.W., 2006, Where’s the San Andreas Fault? A guidebook to tracing the fault on public lands in the San Francisco Bay region: U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication 16, 123 p., online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2006/16/
    • Yue, H., Zhang, Z., Chen, Y.J., 2008. Interaction between adjacent left-lateral strike-slip faults and thrust faults: the 1976 Songpan earthquake sequence in Chinese Science Bulletin, v. 53, no. 16, p. 2520-2526
    • Wallace, Robert E., ed., 1990, The San Andreas fault system, California: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1515, 283 p. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1988/1434/].

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Earthquake Report: Sunda Strait, Indonesia

    Around the beginning of the month, I was helping get a fundraiser prepared for a weekend concert series (audio crew for load in and strike; stage manager during the show). So, I was away from the computers when there was a magnitude M6.9 earthquake offshore of Sumatra and Java, Indonesia.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us60004zhq/executive

    There was also an interesting earthquake in Chile, but I can’t do it all. (If I get a chance, I will write that one up too.)

    The tectonics are both simple and complicated in this part of the world. The islands of Sumatra and Java (and more) are rows of volcanoes (called an island arc) formed by the partial melt of mantle material associated with the subduction of the oceanic India-Australia plate beneath the Sunda plate (part of Eurasia).

    The downgoing plate has lots of water embedded in the rocks and sediments, when this plate is subducted, those fluids make their way into the overlying mantle. This changes the conditions so that the mantle partially melts, which results in the material being less dense, so it rises and erupts as volcanoes.

    We can see some of these volcanoes in the interpretive poster below (look at the eastern part of the Island of Java).

    So, the subduction zone is the main player on the scene. But the orientation (strike and changes in strike) of the subduction zone megathrust fault, in comparison to the relative motion between these plates, and in comparison to pre-existing structures in the India-Australia plate, leads to a number of additional faults.

    The major fault system that accommodates the different relative plate motions is the Great Sumatra fault. The relative plate motion is oblique (not perpendicular to) the orientation of the subduction zone fault. Therefore, while the megathrust accommodates the fault perpendicular motion, the Sumatra accommodates the fault parallel motion (as a strike slip-fault). There are other strike slip faults too. These faults are called “forearc sliver faults.”

    Some of the historic faults in the interpretive poster below are subduction zone earthquakes. The 2007 M 8.4 quake is a great example of this.

    There are a couple good examples of “outer rise” earthquakes, temblors that occur in the downgoing plate, where there is flexure of the plate, causing the plate to bend and cause earthquakes along these bends. These are extensional earthquakes (the 2011 & 2013 quakes near Christmas Island).

    There are two quakes that appear related to the Sumatra fault (19994 and 1995 quakes).

    The 2 Aug 2019 M 6.9 quake is interesting because it does not appear to be a megathrust quake, an outer rise quake, or a Sumatra fault quake. The M 6.9 is (1) too deep for those types of quakes and (2) has an orientation that is not consistent with those types of quakes. This quake is in the India-Australia plate and could be along a reactivated fracture zone. The inset maps shows several of these north-south trending fracture zones (e.g. the Investigator fracture zone).

    Thus, I interpret this as a north-south oriented left-lateral strike-slip earthquake. It is pretty deep, and could also be related to some other processes going on within the slab or uppermost mantle. The slab depth at this location is 20 km, so the quake is possibly about 35 km beneath the top of the India Australia plate. Oceanic crust is, on average, 7km. So, this M 6.9 is probably within the mantle beneath the slab.

    There is an analogous M 7.0 earthquake on 2009.09.02 to the east, just south of the label “Java” on the interpretive poster. This earthquake shows trench parallel compression (perpendicular to the compression from the subduction zone). This quake is almost 40 km deep, so is also probably beneath the slab, within the uppermost “lithospheric” mantle.

    So, these 2019 M 6.9 and 2009 M 7.0 earthquakes are really cool.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake


    I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1919-2019 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.5 in one version.

    I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.

    • I placed a moment tensor / focal mechanism legend on the poster. There is more material from the USGS web sites about moment tensors and focal mechanisms (the beach ball symbols). Both moment tensors and focal mechanisms are solutions to seismologic data that reveal two possible interpretations for fault orientation and sense of motion. One must use other information, like the regional tectonics, to interpret which of the two possibilities is more likely.
    • I also include the shaking intensity contours on the map (in transparent shaded colors, see legend). These use the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI; see the legend on the map). This is based upon a computer model estimate of ground motions, different from the “Did You Feel It?” estimate of ground motions that is actually based on real observations. The MMI is a qualitative measure of shaking intensity. More on the MMI scale can be found here and here. This is based upon a computer model estimate of ground motions, different from the “Did You Feel It?” estimate of ground motions that is actually based on real observations.
    • The inset map that shows a comparison of MMI and DYFI results includes the slab 2.0 contours plotted (Hayes, 2018), which are contours that represent the depth to the subduction zone fault. These are mostly based upon seismicity. The depths of the earthquakes have considerable error and do not all occur along the subduction zone faults, so these slab contours are simply the best estimate for the location of the fault.

      Magnetic Anomalies

    • The inset map that shows a comparison of MMI and DYFI results includes a transparent overlay of the magnetic anomaly data from EMAG2 (Meyer et al., 2017). As oceanic crust is formed, it inherits the magnetic field at the time. At different points through time, the magnetic polarity (north vs. south) flips, the North Pole becomes the South Pole. These changes in polarity can be seen when measuring the magnetic field above oceanic plates. This is one of the fundamental evidences for plate spreading at oceanic spreading ridges (like the Gorda rise).
    • Regions with magnetic fields aligned like today’s magnetic polarity are colored red in the EMAG2 data, while reversed polarity regions are colored blue. Regions of intermediate magnetic field are colored light purple.

      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 showing the major plate boundary faults offshore and onshore of Sumatra, Indonesia (Patton et al., 2015). Historic earthquake slip patches are shown (Bilham, 2005; Malik et al., 2011), including slip contours for the 2004 and 2005 subduction zone earthquakes (Chileh et al., 2007, 2008). I include moment tensors for the 2004 and 2005 subduction zone earthquakes, as well as the 2 Aug 2019 M 6.9 quake for reference.
    • In the lower right corner is a low angle oblique view of a cut away of the Earth along the subduction zone in Java, Indonesia. The Sunda plate is part of Eurasia. The subduction zone offshore of Sumatra is similar in some ways to Java.
    • In the upper right corner is a map that shows a comparison between the USGS computer modeled estimates of ground shaking (shown as MMI contours) and the USGS “Did You Feel It?” (DYFI) results. DYFI data are compiled when real people submit their observations to the USGS DYFI part of the webpage for the earthquake. These levels of intensity are quite close. I spot checked several and the DYFI spot values are generally between the MMI contours for that range of values.
    • Here is the map with a year’s (orange) and a century’s (gray) seismicity plotted.

      Landslide, Liquefaction, and Shaking Intensity

    • 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 the plate tectonic map from Zahirovic et al (2014).

    • Regional tectonic setting with plate boundaries (MORs/transforms = black, subduction zones = teethed red) from Bird (2003) and ophiolite belts representing sutures modified from Hutchison (1975) and Baldwin et al. (2012). West Sulawesi basalts are from Polvé et al. (1997), fracture zones are from Matthews et al. (2011) and basin outlines are from Hearn et al. (2003).

    • In addition to the orientation of relative plate motion (that controls seismogenic zone and strain partitioning), the Indo Australia plate varies in crustal age (Lasitha et al., 2006). I include their figure caption below as a blockquote.

    • Tectonic sketch map of the Sumatra–Java trench-arc region in eastern Indian Ocean Benioff Zone configuration. Hatched line with numbers indicates depth to the top of the Benioff Zone (after Newcomb and McCann13). Magnetic anomaly identifications have been considered from Liu et al.14 and Krishna et al.15. Magnitude and direction of the plate motion is obtained from Sieh and Natawidjaja. O indicates the location of the recent major earthquakes of 26 December 2004, i.e. the devastating tsunamigenic earthquake (Mw = 9.3) and the 28 March 2005 earthquake (Mw = 8.6).

    • Here is a figure showing the regional geodetic motions (Bock et al., 2003). I include their figure caption below as a blockquote.

    • Topographic and tectonic map of the Indonesian archipelago and surrounding region. Labeled, shaded arrows show motion (NUVEL-1A model) of the first-named tectonic plate relative to the second. Solid arrows are velocity vectors derived from GPS surveys from 1991 through 2001, in ITRF2000. For clarity, only a few of the vectors for Sumatra are included. The detailed velocity field for Sumatra is shown in Figure 5. Velocity vector ellipses indicate 2-D 95% confidence levels based on the formal (white noise only) uncertainty estimates. NGT, New Guinea Trench; NST, North Sulawesi Trench; SF, Sumatran Fault; TAF, Tarera-Aiduna Fault. Bathymetry [Smith and Sandwell, 1997] in this and all subsequent figures contoured at 2 km intervals.

    • Here is a map that shows the subduction zone offshore of Sumatra. Note the fracture zones in the India Australia plate (Krabbenhoeft et al., 2010). These authors looked at deep seismic profiles and seafloor bathymetry to interpret the structures of the accretionary prisms forming above the megathrust faults.
    • Here is a cogent summary of their findings:
    • We find the differences along the Sunda margin, especially the wider extent of the seismogenic zone off Sumatra, producing larger earthquakes, to result from the interaction of different age and subduction direction of the oceanic plate. We attribute a major role to the sediment income and continental/oceanic upper plate nature of Sumatra/Java influencing the composition and deformation style along the forearc and subduction fault.


      Bathymetry off Sumatra (multibeam bathymetry, where available underlain by satellite derived bathymetry; Smith and Sandwell, 1997). Tectonic setting is after Newcomb and McCann, 1987. Fracture zones (after Kopp et al., 2008) on the incoming plate as well as subduction direction and velocity (after Simons et al., 2007) are indicated by annotated black arrows on Indo-Australian plate. Major Mentawai islands as well as major faults are annotated along the forearc. Dashed lines sub-parallel to the trench mark the updip and downdip limit of the SZ. The seaward trench-parallel dashed line marking the updip limit of the SZ coincides with the slope break. Profiles and regions are marked and annotated, where additional investigations were available to constrain or refute their limits of the SZ.

    • Here is a map that shows the subduction zone offshore of Java. Note the fracture zones in the India Australia plate.

    • Bathymetry off Java and the Lesser Sunda islands (multibeam bathymetry (for YK0207 see Soh et al., 2002), where available underlain by satellite derived bathymetry; Smith and Sandwell, 1997). Tectonic setting (after Newcomb and McCann, 1987) on the incoming plate as well as subduction direction and velocity (after Simons et al., 2007) are indicated by annotated black arrows on Indo-Australian plate. Lesser Sunda islands as well as major tectonic features are annotated along the forearc. Dashed lines sub-parallel to the trench mark the updip and downdip limit of the SZ. The seaward trench-parallel dashed line marking the updip limit of the SZ coincides with the slope break. Profiles and regions are marked and annotated, where additional investigations were available to constrain or refute their limits of the SZ.

    • This is the main figure from Hayes et al. (2013) from the Seismicity of the Earth series. There is a map with the slab contours and seismicity both colored vs. depth. There are also some cross sections of seismicity plotted, with locations shown on the map.

    • Here is a cutaway figure showing the subduction zone beneath the island of Sumatra (from Earth Observatory of Singapore).

    • Here is a great figure from Philobosian et al. (2014) that shows the slip patches from the subduction zone earthquakes in this region.

    • Map of Southeast Asia showing recent and selected historical ruptures of the Sunda megathrust. Black lines with sense of motion are major plate-bounding faults, and gray lines are seafloor fracture zones. Motions of Australian and Indian plates relative to Sunda plate are from the MORVEL-1 global model [DeMets et al., 2010]. The fore-arc sliver between the Sunda megathrust and the strike-slip Sumatran Fault becomes the Burma microplate farther north, but this long, thin strip of crust does not necessarily all behave as a rigid block. Sim = Simeulue, Ni = Nias, Bt = Batu Islands, and Eng = Enggano. Brown rectangle centered at 2°S, 99°E delineates the area of Figure 3, highlighting the Mentawai Islands. Figure adapted from Meltzner et al. [2012] with rupture areas and magnitudes from Briggs et al. [2006], Konca et al. [2008], Meltzner et al. [2010], Hill et al. [2012], and references therein.

      • For a review of the 2004 and 2005 Sumatra Andaman subduction zone (SASZ) earthquakes, please check out my Earthquake Report here. Below is the poster from that report. On that report page, I also include some information about the 2012 M 8.6 and M 8.2 Wharton Basin earthquakes.
        • I include some inset figures in the poster.
        • In the upper left corner, I include a map that shows the extent of historic earthquakes along the SASZ offshore of Sumatra. This map is a culmination of a variety of papers (summarized and presented in Patton et al., 2015).
        • In the upper right corner I include a figure that is presented by Chlieh et al. (2007). These figures show model results from several models. Each model is represented by a map showing the amount that the fault slipped in particular regions. I present this figure below.
        • In the lower right corner I present a figure from Prawirodirdjo et al. (2010). This figure shows the coseismic vertical and horizontal motions from the 2004 and 2005 earthquakes as measured at GPS sites.
        • In the lower left corner are the MMI intensity maps for the two SASZ earthquakes. Note these are at different map scales. I also include the MMI attenuation curves for these earthquakes below the maps. These plots show the reported MMI intensity data as they relate to two plots of modeled estimates (the orange and green lines). These green dots are from the USGS “Did You Feel It?” reports compared to the estimates of ground shaking from Ground Motion Prediction Equation (GMPE) estimates. GMPE are empirical relations between earthquakes and recorded seismologic observations from those earthquakes, largely controlled by distance to the fault, ray path (direction and material properties), and site effects (the local geology). When seismic waves propagate through sediment, the magnitude of the ground motions increases in comparison to when seismic waves propagate through bedrock. The orange line is a regression of data for the central and eastern US and the green line is a regression through data from the western US.


      • The 2004/2005 SASZ earthquakes also tended to load strain in the crust in different locations. On 2012.04.11 there was a series of strike-slip earthquakes in the India plate crust to the west of the 2004/2005 earthquakes. The two largest magnitudes for these earthquakes were M 8.6 and M 8.2. The M 8.6 is the largest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded.
      • On 2016.03.22 there was another large strike-slip earthquake in the India-Australia plate. This is probably related to this entire suite of subduction zone and intraplate earthquakes. I presented an interpretive poster about this M 7.8 earthquake here. Below is my interpretive poster for the M 7.8 earthquake. Here is the USGS website for this earthquake.
      • I include a map in the upper right corner that shows the historic earthquake rupture areas.

      • Here is a poster that shows some earthquakes in the Andaman Sea. This is from my earthquake report from 2015.11.08.

      • This map shows the fracture zones in the India-Australia plate.

      • Here is a map showing seismicity and cross section locations along the Java trench (Jones et al., 2010). Below the map is the seismicity cross section A-A.’ shown on the map.


      • Here is a cutaway figure showing the subduction zone beneath the island of Java (from Earth Observatory of Singapore).

      • Kopp (2011) presents an analysis of the deep structure of the subduction zone beneath and offshore of Java. Below is their figure that shows how the structure changes along strike (from east to west, a series of cross sections.
      • First is a map showing where these sections are located. This figure also shows nicely where this convergent plate boundary changes from a subduction zone on the west (Java trench) to a collision zone on the east (e.g. Timor trough). The India-Australia plate is oceanic on the west and continental crust on the east.

      • Morphology of the Java margin based on satellite altimetry data (Smith & Sandwell 1997). A large bivergent accretionary wedge is expressed as a continuous bathymetric ridge fronting the Java fore-arc basin offshore western Java. This ridge structure is broken and highly deformed offshore central Java, where the oceanic Roo Rise is colliding with the margin. The eastern Java trench offshore Bali to Sumba is characterized by the subduction of smooth oceanic crust of the Argo Abyssal Plain. The transition from oceanic subduction to continent–island arc collision occurs south of Sumba where the Scott plateau enters the trench. Black lines show wide-angle refraction profiles.

      • Here are the structural profiles.

      • Tomographic images and velocity–depth distribution along seven refraction seismic dip lines crossing the fore-arc between western Java and east of Sumba island. The profiles document the variation from the accretionary domain (a and b) to the erosional seamount/plateau subduction regime off central to eastern Java (c and d). To the east, the transition from oceanic subduction offshore Lombok (e) to continent–island arc collision (f and g) occurs. All profiles west of Sumba show a shallow hydrated upper plate mantle, which limits the downdip extent of the seismogenic zone. Profiles are approximately aligned along the vertical stippled line. Vertical exaggeration in all profiles is 2.5.

      • In 2018, there was a series of earthquakes along the island of Lombok, Indonesia. My third report on that sequence is here. Below is an interpretive poster from the early part of the Lombok sequence, but includes some historic earthquakes associated with the subduction zone. The 2018 Lombok earthquakes were related to a fault that opposes the subduction zone, not on the subduction zone itself. Learn more about these structures in that report series.
      • Here is the interpretive posted from the M 6.4 7/28 earthquake, with historic seismicity and earthquake mechanisms.

      • Below are the maps and cross sections from Darman et al., 2012.
      • Here is the map in the interpretive poster above.

      • Tectonic map of the Lesser Sunda Islands, showing the main tectonic units, main faults, bathymetry and location of seismic sections discussed in this paper.

      • Here is the seismicity cross section in the interpretive poster above.

      • This plot shows the earthquake localizations on a South-North cross section for the lat -14°/-4° long 114°/124° quadrant corresponding to the Lesser Sunda Islands region. The localizations are extracted from the USGS database and corresponds to magnitude greater than 4.5 in the 1973-2004 time period (shallow earthquakes with undetermined depth have been omitted.

      • Here is their interpretations of seismic data used to interpret the tectonics of the subduction zone and Flores thrust.

      • Six 15 km deep seismic sections acquired by BGR from west to east traversing oceanic crust, deep sea trench, accretionary prism, outer arc high and fore-arc basin, derived from Kirchoff prestack depth migration (PreSDM) with a frequency range of 4-60 Hz. Profile BGR06-313 shows exemplarily a velocity-depth model according to refraction/wide-angle
        seismic tomography on coincident profile P31 (modified after Lüschen et al, 2011).

      • Here is the tectonic map from Hangesh and Whitney (2016). At the eastern part of the plate boundary, things get more complicated. Check out my earthquake report for a recent intermediate depth earthquake to learn more about this part of the world.

      • Illustration of major tectonic elements in triple junction geometry: tectonic features labeled per Figure 1; seismicity from ISC-GEM catalog [Storchak et al., 2013]; faults in Savu basin from Rigg and Hall [2011] and Harris et al. [2009]. Purple line is edge of Australian continental basement and fore arc [Rigg and Hall, 2011]. Abbreviations: AR = Ashmore Reef; SR = Scott Reef; RS = Rowley Shoals; TCZ = Timor Collision Zone; ST = Savu thrust; SB = Savu Basin; TT = Timor thrust; WT =Wetar thrust; WASZ = Western Australia Shear Zone. Open arrows indicate relative direction of motion; solid arrows direction of vergence.

    Geologic Fundamentals

    • For more on the graphical representation of moment tensors and focal mechanisms, check this IRIS video out:
    • Here is a fantastic infographic from Frisch et al. (2011). This figure shows some examples of earthquakes in different plate tectonic settings, and what their fault plane solutions are. There is a cross section showing these focal mechanisms for a thrust or reverse earthquake. The upper right corner includes my favorite figure of all time. This shows the first motion (up or down) for each of the four quadrants. This figure also shows how the amplitude of the seismic waves are greatest (generally) in the middle of the quadrant and decrease to zero at the nodal planes (the boundary of each quadrant).

    • Here is another way to look at these beach balls.
    • There are three types of earthquakes, strike-slip, compressional (reverse or thrust, depending upon the dip of the fault), and extensional (normal). Here is are some animations of these three types of earthquake faults. The following three animations are from IRIS.
    • Strike Slip:

      Compressional:

      Extensional:

    • This is an image from the USGS that shows how, when an oceanic plate moves over a hotspot, the volcanoes formed over the hotspot form a series of volcanoes that increase in age in the direction of plate motion. The presumption is that the hotspot is stable and stays in one location. Torsvik et al. (2017) use various methods to evaluate why this is a false presumption for the Hawaii Hotspot.

    • A cutaway view along the Hawaiian island chain showing the inferred mantle plume that has fed the Hawaiian hot spot on the overriding Pacific Plate. The geologic ages of the oldest volcano on each island (Ma = millions of years ago) are progressively older to the northwest, consistent with the hot spot model for the origin of the Hawaiian Ridge-Emperor Seamount Chain. (Modified from image of Joel E. Robinson, USGS, in “This Dynamic Planet” map of Simkin and others, 2006.)

    • Here is a map from Torsvik et al. (2017) that shows the age of volcanic rocks at different locations along the Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain.

    • Hawaiian-Emperor Chain. White dots are the locations of radiometrically dated seamounts, atolls and islands, based on compilations of Doubrovine et al. and O’Connor et al. Features encircled with larger white circles are discussed in the text and Fig. 2. Marine gravity anomaly map is from Sandwell and Smith.

    • Here is a great tweet that discusses the different parts of a seismogram and how the internal structures of the Earth help control seismic waves as they propagate in the Earth.

      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>
    • 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
    • Specific References

    • Abercrombie, R.E., Antolik, M., Ekstrom, G., 2003. The June 2000 Mw 7.9 earthquakes south of Sumatra: Deformation in the India–Australia Plate. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, 16.
    • Bassin, C., Laske, G. and Masters, G., The Current Limits of Resolution for Surface Wave Tomography in North America, EOS Trans AGU, 81, F897, 2000.
    • Bock, Y., Prawirodirdjo, L., Genrich, J.F., Stevens, C.W., McCaffrey, R., Subarya, C., Puntodewo, S.S.O., Calais, E., 2003. Crustal motion in Indonesia from Global Positioning System measurements: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 108, no. B8, 2367, doi: 10.1029/2001JB000324.
    • Bothara, J., Beetham, R.D., Brunston, D., Stannard, M., Brown, R., Hyland, C., Lewis, W., Miller, S., Sanders, R., Sulistio, Y., 2010. General observations of effects of the 30th September 2009 Padang earthquake, Indonesia. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering 43, 143-173.
    • Chlieh, M., Avouac, J.-P., Hjorleifsdottir, V., Song, T.-R.A., Ji, C., Sieh, K., Sladen, A., Hebert, H., Prawirodirdjo, L., Bock, Y., Galetzka, J., 2007. Coseismic Slip and Afterslip of the Great (Mw 9.15) Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake of 2004. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 97, S152-S173.
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    Earthquake Report: Ridgecrest Update #3 Literature Review

    I have reviewed a small portion of the literature for the tectonics of the northern Eastern California shear zone, Owens Valley fault, Garlock fault, etc. I have a basic knowledge of this region and have attended several Pacific Cell Friends of the Pleistocene field trips in this area, but have not done extensive literature review for this area (though I did help Steve Bacon (DRI PhD. student defending soon) for his work on the Owens Valley fault for his M.S. thesis at Humboldt State University, Dept. of Geology, while I was a graduate student there with “early morning” Steve).

    Below I present some key overview figures from some of the papers I reviewed today. See the reference list for additional papers. However, first I present a new map.

    Global Strain Rate Map

    • Strain is basically the change in shape or volume of a material through time. The Earth deforms with space and time in relation to geospatial variations in plate tectonic motions.
    • Tectonic strain can be measured in a variety of methods. Most people are familiar with geodetic methods. Geodesy is the study of the motion of the Earth as measured at discrete locations (e.g. with GPS observations). One may use changes in position at GPS sites to measure how the Earth moves, so we can directly measure changes in shape this way.
    • Geodetic data can be combined with geologic and seismicity data to evaluate tectonic strain at global, regional, and local scales.
    • In 1998 the International Lithosphere Program started compiling a global dataset to support the construction of a Global Strain Rate Map (GSRM; Kreemer et al., 2000, 2002, 2003, 2014).
    • The GSRM has been incorporated into the Global Earthquake Model of Seismic Hazard, v 2.1 presented online here.
    • I present a map for the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence that uses an older version of the GSRM (v 1.2). The color ramp is based on the “second invariant” of strain. Warmer colors show regions of greater tectonic strain. Units are in 10 per year. I acquired these data here.

    Geologic Map

    • There are some larger scale geology maps for this region, but they cost money (Dibblee Foundation/AAPG). Needless to say, I don’t have the $50 to buy them right now. They are geotiffs, so would overlay nicely.
    • The map below shows seismicity for the past month overlain upon the 1962 California Division of Mines and Geology 1:250,000 scale geologic map (Jennings et al., 1962). I prepared this on 21 July 2019 after georeferencing the map from the CGS website..


    UNAVCO Response Page

    • UNAVCO has event response pages where people post visualizations of data. Here is the Ridgecrest Earhquake Response Page.

    • OTA-measured GNSS static displacements from the real-time GNSS system (blue) compared to the seismically derived static displacements (pink).


      Preliminary coseismic horizontal vector displacements for the July 4, 2019 M 6.4 earthquake. The 5-minute sample rate time series were obtained using rapid orbits from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


      Ultra rapid analysis coseismic offsets calculated by the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory (NGL) for a subset of continuous GPS stations in the region of the July 6, 2019 M 7.1 earthquake.


      Rapid analysis coseismic offset pattern for the July 6, 2019 M 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake, from the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory (NGL)


      GPS derived coseismic displacements of Mw6.4 foreshock. Five days of GPS data spanning the foreshock and prior to the mainshock were processed to obtain the solution.


      GPS derived coseismic displacements of Mw7.1 mainshock. Four days of GPS data spanning the mainshock and after the foreshock were processed to obtain the solution.


      Preliminary slip results derived from geodetic and seismic data for the July 6, 2019 M 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake, from the Pacfic Northwest Seismic Network. The slip model was run through G-FAST.

    • Here is a video showing real time GPS displacement from 1Hz GPS/GNSS NOTA data analyzed by Christine Puskas.

    Background Literature – Tectonics

    • 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

    • Guest et al. (2003) used geologic mapping and geochronologic data (ages of geologic units) to constrain a tectonic model. They suggest that some of the faults in the region developed as a result of tectonic blocks rotating about a vertical axis. First we see their geologic map.

    • Segment of Trona sheet geologic map showing Owlshead block, southern Death Valley, and Northeast Mojave block. WWFZ— Wingate Wash fault zone, BMF—Brown Mountain fault, OLF—Owl Lake fault, DVFZ—Death Valley fault zone, MSS—Mule Springs strand, LLS—Leach Lake strand, DWLF—Drink Water Lake fault, FIF—Fort Irwin fault, CCF—Coyote Canyon fault, TMF—Tiefort
      Mountain fault.

    • 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 – Little Lake fault

    • Amos et al. (2013) presented an analysis of “tectonic, geomorphic, and volcanic” features to derive a slip rate for the Little Lake fault near Little Lake, California. This is just northwest of the 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence. Here is their tectonic map.

    • 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).

    • Here is a geologic map from Amos et al. (2013) that shows the mapped faults and topographic controls of river drainage for the area.

    • 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 a figure that shows the topography at the Amos et al. (2003) slip rate site along the Owens River. They measured topographic profiles of the ground surface across topographic landforms. These profiles were taken along the thin white lines on the map on the left.
    • On the right are the profiles from the western (B) and the eastern (C) profiles are shown on the right. They use these offset features, and the distance that they are offset, to calculate the slip rate here.

    • (A) 50 cm digital elevation model derived from terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) of displaced terrace risers in Little Lake narrows. (B–C) Stacked topographic profiles along the western and eastern edges of the Qt1 surface, respectively, used to reconstruct the total dextral offset of the Qt1-Qt2 terrace riser. Individual profiles were extracted perpendicular to the average riser orientation and were then projected onto a plane parallel to the local fault strike. Profile locations for each margin are shown in A. VE—vertical exaggeration.

    • This is one of the coolest figures I found during my literature review. Amos et al. (2013) back calculate what the ground surface would look like if back in time, before the fault started to offset the topography here.

    • Geometric reconstruction of (A) the modern geomorphic configuration of the upper Little Lake narrows indicates between ~140 and 250 m of dextral offset for the base (B) and upper edge (C) of the eastern canyon wall. Geologic units are labeled as in Figure 3. The base image includes a hillshade image from our terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) survey, as
      well as 10 m contours overlain on a National Elevation Database (NED) hillshade map. The map location is shown by the boxed area in Figure 3. Geologic units are labeled as in Figures 2 and 3.

    • This is a cool figure, but not as cool as the above map. Amos et al. (2013) plot their slip rate estimates compared to published rates. First they show their observations of displacement relative to the age of the offset topographic landform. Then they plot slip rate estimates in the same manner.

    • (A) Compiled dextral displacements and (B) corresponding fault-slip rates as a function of age for the Little Lake, Blackwater, and Garlock faults. Linear regressions in A indicate constant slip rates through time. Geologic slip rate estimates in B are for time intervals since the respective age measurements. Geodetic measurements represent
      interseismic deformation measured from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and global positioning system (GPS). […]

    Background Literature – Garlock fault

    • Astiz and Allen (1983) studied the seismicity of southern California and looked specifically at earthquake mechanisms associated with the Garlock fault. First we see their seismicity map for the region, then we zoom into the Garlock fault.

    • Southern California seismiclty during 1981 from Caltech-USGS catalog. The outer border corresponds to the limits of the southern California array. The inner frame is the limit of Figures 2 and 6. Notice the cluster of earthquakes along the Garlock fault trace and the smaller activity w~th respect to many other faults in southern California.

    • Astiz and Allen (1983) plot the earthquake locations that they relocated for their analyses. This map shows a detailed map of the faults in the area..

    • Earthquake relocations from 1932 to 1981 in the Garlock fault zone. The light line corresponds to the 25-km-wide zone around the fault from which the earthquakes were taken from the catalog. The numbers m the figure corresponds to kilometers along the fault northeast from Gorman quarry (vertical axes in Figure 3). Sohd circles are quarries, and solid triangles are alignment array locations (from Keller et al., 1978). Faults are taken from Jennings and Strand (1969), Smith (1964), and Jennings et al. (1962).

    • This figure shows the earthquake mechanisms for some events that Astiz and Allen (1983) worked on to show how many faults have strike slip mechanisms, but that there are changes in earthquake type (some thrust (compression) and normal (extension) events).

    • Focal mechanisms for selected events that occurred m the Garlock fault zone between 1977 and 1981 Numbers correspond to those m Table 3 Event 5 is a composite mechanism of six nearby events.

    • McGill et al. (2009) late Pleistocene sediments (alluvial fan) and alluvial channels (with radiocarbon ages) to constrain an earthquake fault slip rate for the Garlock fault. First we see a tectonic map for the region.

    • Location of the Clark Wash site (large white circle) as well as other slip-rate and paleoseismic sites (small white circles) along the Garlock fault. AM—Avawatz Mountains; EPM—El Paso Mountains; GF—Garlock fault; PM—Providence Mountains; SAF—San Andreas fault; SLB—Soda Lake Basin; SM—Soda Mountains; SR—Slate Range; SSH—Salt Spring Hills; SV—Searles
      Valley.

    • These authors used a variety of observations to derive a statistical estimate (using probabilistic model) for a slip rate based on an estimate of offset and radiocarbon age (which both had a range of probabilities, plotted as a probability density function). This is really cool.

    • Probability density functions for left-lateral offset (A) and age (B) of Clark Wash that were assigned on the basis of quantitative constraints and subjective judgment (see text), and the resulting probability density function for the slip rate of the Garlock fault (C).

    • Here is a compilation of their slip rate estimates (McGill et al., 2009).

    • Comparison of slip-rate estimates for the Garlock fault. The three values in italics, associated with boxes that outline sections of the fault, are the slip rates and formal uncertainties from Meade and Hager’s (2005) best-fitting elastic block model of available geodetic data. They report, however, that experience with a range of models suggests that true uncertainties are ~3 mm/yr. White-filled circles mark the locations of Holocene and Late Quaternary geologic slip-rate estimates. The Holocene rates that are constrained by radiocarbon dates and are thus considered most reliable are shown in bold […].

      * more abbreviations and explanation in the paper

    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.

    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.

    • McGill and Rockwell (1998) and Dawson et al. (2003) used fault trenching near El Paso Peaks, California to conduct a paleoseismic investigation along the Garlock fault. Below is a map that shows their trench site relative to tectonic features in the region.

    • Map showing the location of the trench site along the Garlock fault. Mountains are shaded, and valleys are shown open. Stippled areas are dry lake beds. SAF is San Andreas fault, DV is Death Valley, QM is Quail Mountains, LTC is Lone Tree Canyon, and SL is Searles (dry) Lake. Modified from McGill and Sieh [1993].

    • McGill and Rockwell (1998) present this figure that shows an aerial image and a geologic map showing topographic features labeled in the aerial image. Note how there is a stream channel that is left-laterally offset.

    • Geomorphic and geologic expression ofthe Garlock fault at the trench site. (top) An annotated aerial photograph (courtesy U.S. Geological Survey) showing the trench site and selected geomorphic features. Unlabeled arrows mark the locations of fault scarps and benches. (bottom) A geologic map of the same area. Scale and orientation of the air photo are the same as shown on the map.

    • Here is an annotated aerial image that was acquired when the light from the sun was at an angle that highlights the topographic features. This low-angle sun aerial photography method was pioneered by Bert Slemmons, one of the fathers of paleoseismology (who advised my HSU professor, Gary Carver when Gary was a student).
    • Note how some features on the north side of the fault are to the left of features on the south side of the fault. This is why we call these left-lateral strike-slip faults. If one turns the image upside down, they will notice that the stuff on the other side of the fault still moves to the left. So, it does not matter what side of the fault one is standing on. I rotated the image below so we can see this first hand (see how features on the top of the image are offset to the left compared to the bottom of the image.


    • Annotated aerial photograph showing local tectonic geomorphology of the trench site. Scale is approximate. Solid lines are mappable fault traces, and dashed lines are inferred fault traces.

    • This photo shows how huge and impressive the fault trenches were that Dawson et al. (2003) excavated for this study. Note the heavy equipment for scale. Read their paper to see the impressive amount of details that they used to unravel the earthquake history.

    • Annotated photograph illustrating some of the additional exposures that were created and documented. Note the location of trench 2, which had been backfilled at the time this photograph was taken. Trench 2 was later reexcavated to create the final and deepest exposure.

    • This is but one example of the complicated sediment stratigraphy and faulting evidence that Dawson et al. (2003) used as a basis for their observations and interpretations. I show both the trench log (artwork) and the annotated panchromatic photo mosaic.


    • Event Y logs and three-dimensional excavation. Figure 7a is a log of a portion of trench 1 with evidence for event Y taken from McGill and Rockwell [1998]. Units shown shaded were interpreted to have been deposited in a collapse pit and then subsequently faulted by event Y. Figure 7b shows the three-dimensional excavation of this feature that shows units 90 and 92 actually being tubular in shape and units 78–42 correlative with units outside of the interpreted collapse feature. Scale varies in this mosaic due to three-dimensionality of the exposure, but the total width of the area shown is about 2.5 m. Dashed lines represent corners of 3-D exposure.

    • These are complicated figures, yet elegant (McGill and Rockwell, 1998; Dawson et al., 2003). My favorite type of figure. The horizontal axis is time in calendar years (now is on the right and the past is on the left). The vertical axis is the thickness of the sedimentary deposits, with the ground surface at the top.
    • Each earthquake is named an event (e.g. Event W). The dots represent radiocarbon ages (and the horizontal lines are the uncertainty associated with these ages). In the Dawson figure, the gray region represents the envelope of possible ages for the sediments between the radiocarbon ages. They assume a linear sedimentation rate between ages. Often people call these radiocarbon dates, but they are ages (it is not possible to obtain a date from radiocarbon age determinations because a date is a single day and these analyses are not that precise).

    • Variation of calibrated radiocarbon dates with stratigraphic depth. Errors shown are 2-sigma. The thick, diagonal line connecting the best estimates of most of the radiocarbon ages illustrates the simplest sedimentation rate history. Thinner, diagonal lines on either side represent the 2-sigma error envelope on the sedimentation rate, assuming that the date of each sample closely approximates its time of deposition. The faulting events visible within the trench are labelled along the right side of the graph, according to their stratigraphic depth; implied, preferred ages are plotted explicitly. Uncertain events are shown in parentheses. Stratigraphic depths to the earthquake horizons and to each depositional unit containing a radiocarbon sample were taken from the composite stratigraphic section shown in Figure 4.


      Variation of calibrated radiocarbon dates with stratigraphic depth. Errors on the calibrated radiocarbon dates are 2-sigma. The curve connecting the solid circles connects the best estimates of the radiocarbon ages, providing the sedimentation rate. The dashed lines give the 2-sigma error envelope on the sedimentation rate.

    • Here is a table showing McGill and Rockwell (1998) earthquake event times and return interval for each prehistoric earthquake.

    • Here is the summary of prehistoric earthquake event times for this part of the Garlock fault (Dawson et al., 2003).

    Social Media (UPDATE 2019.07.21

    This is not about Ridgecrest, but about the time, 20 June.

      References:

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    • Astiz, L. and Allen, C.R., 1983. Seismicity of the Garlock Fault, California in BSSA v. 73, no. 6, p. 1721-1734
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