Earthquake Report: Mina Deflection in Nevada

I was slowly waking up while looking at my social media feed. moments before (maybe minutes) Anthony Lomax had posted his first motion earthquake mechanism for a M 6.4 near the CA/NV border. I leaped out of bed and got off a map before i had the time to put any clothes on (one benefit of teleworking that i won’t go into too many details).

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nn00725272/executive

I will try to spend some time after work today to fill in more details. There was a swarm of earthquakes east of Mono Lake in April along the Huntoon Valley fault zone. These events are aligned with faults that trend east-northeast. The plate boundary relative plate motion is generally aligned with the San Andreas fault system (north-northwest trending right-lateral strike-slip faulting). To the east, tectonics are dominated by ~east-west extension in the Basin and Range geomorphic province.

As the plate boundary organizes itself along the east side of the Sierra Nevada, it has some disruptions, with blocks that are rotating in ways (within this right-lateral shear) that lead to these northeast trending faults.

As the blocks rotate, the faults that bound these blocks (the east-northeast faults) are left-lateral strike-slip faults. More on this below.

In April these earthquakes were along some of these east-northeast left-lateral faults, with the largest magnitude = M 5.2. Today’s ongoing sequence is to the east along the same trend of faulting, along faults mapped by Tom Sawyer of Piedmont Geosciences called “unnamed faults of the Candelaria Hills.”

It seems hard to believe that these earthquakes are unrelated. They are within about a month of each other. They are along the same fault system.

Taking this thought experiment through, it seems that an earthquake could happen between these earthquakes along this fault system.

Using Wells and Coppersmith (1994) empirical relations between surface rupture length (the length of the fault that would break through the ground surface) and earthquake magnitude can help us estimate what magnitude of an earthquake may be given a rupture length.

If we use these relations, and the distance between these earthquakes, we measure a distance of 50 km and can calculate a magnitude of M 7.0. Thus, it would be prudent for people in the region to stay safe and ensure that they are prepared for a potentially larger earthquake.

There is an alternate explanation for today’s sequence. The M 6.4 was on a north-south oriented fault and was right-lateral strike-slip, while many of the aftershocks are actually instead triggered earthquakes on the east-west trending left-lateral strike-slip earthquake fault system. Which recent earthquake sequence had two almost perpendicularly relative orientations? Yes, the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence. Now, this is a more complicated explanation, but it is possible (tho at this point, i deem it unlikely).

UPDATE 16 MAY

Reports from the field are that the surface rupture is north-south just east of Rock Hill (feature shown on USGS earthquake event page web map). Rock Hill is west of the M 6.5 epicenter, and just east of HWY 95 38.149 N 117.941 W. Observations from Jamie Shutmut.
perhaps the alternate hypothesis mentioned last night was the correct hypothesis?

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0 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 small scale (zoomed out) view of the western USA showing the major tectonic faults (from the Global Earthquake Model). I show USGS seismicity from the past century.
  • In the lower right corner is a map showing the earthquake intensity using the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI) as modeled by the USGS.
  • In the upper right corner is a map that shows the earthquakes from the past month. Note how the April sequence is related to today’s ongoing sequence.
  • In the center right is a map that shows the liquefaction susceptibility model from the USGS. This is a model and not based on direct observation, however, it could be used to help direct field teams to search for this type of effect.
  • In the lower center is a plot showing how shaking intensity lowers with distance from the earthquake. The models that were used to produce the Earthquake Intensity map to the right are the same model results represented by the orange and green lines. However, on this plot, there are also observations from real people! The USGS Did You Feel It? questionaire lets people report their observations from the earthquake and these data are plotted here. We can then compare the model with the observations.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

  • An update fro this evening (some changes in intensities). I moved the map to include aftershocks from the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence.
  • I also had forgotten to label Tonopah, so needed to add a label for Tehachapi too.

  • Here are some photos from Jamie Shutmutt which are in the social media section below.
  • These two images show evidence of ground disruption. This is likely the result of liquefaction in the subsurface. There are varying hypotheses about how this specifically happens, but it is basically the result of water pressure pushing against the sediment particles so that they move like fluid.
  • 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.

  • During our post earthquake response to the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence in July of 2019, we observed similar features in places like in the Salt Wells Valley playa.
  • Take a look at the earthquake report interpretive poster above for today’s M 6.5 earthquake. Look at the liquefaciton susceptibility map. Can you tell where these photos may have been taken?
  • Yes, that’s right! These photos were taken in the area to the west of the epicenter. Note the north-south highway west of the M 6.5 epicenter. This is HWY 95 and the playa to the west shows a high chance of liquefaction, right where these photos were taken.
  • Here is the poster for the earthquakes in April 2020.

USGS Shaking Intensity

  • UPDATE:evening of 15 May
  • 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 panel 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).
  • Below the upper panel plot is the USGS MMI Intensity scale, which lists the level of damage for each level of intensity, along with approximate measures of how strongly the ground shakes at these intensities, showing levels in acceleration (Peak Ground Acceleration, PGA) and velocity (Peak Ground Velocity, PGV).
  • In the center panel is the USGS Did You Feel It reports map, showing reports as colored dots using the MMI color scale.
  • In the lower panel is the map that shows the modeled intensity using the same model that is plotted in the upper panel.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

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

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


    Shaded relief map of the WLB and northern part of the ECSZ showing the major Quaternary faults. Solid ball is located on the hanging wall of normal faults; arrow pairs indicate relative motion across strike-slip faults; white dashed box outlines location of Figure 2; light gray shaded areas show the Mina deflection and the Carson domain. BSF—Benton Springs fault; CF—Coaldale fault; DSF—Deep Springs fault; DVFCFLVFZ—Death Valley–Furnace Creek–Fish Lake Valley fault zone; GHF—Gumdrop Hills fault; HLF—Honey Lake fault; HMF—Hunter Mountain fault; MVF—Mohawk Valley fault; OVF— Owens Valley fault; PLF—Pyramid Lake fault; PSF—Petrified Springs fault; QVF—Queen Valley fault; SLF—Stateline fault; SNFFZ—Sierra Nevada frontal fault zone; WMFZ—White Mountains fault zone; WRF—Wassuk Range fault; WSFZ—Warm Springs fault zone.

  • Here is a figure from Wesnousky et al. (2012) where a wax block model is used to illustrate their interpretations of the tectonic deformation along the Walker Lane region. Today’s earthquakes occurred in the basin to the west of the circled number “7.”

  • (Left) Model to visualize accommodation of strain and development of basins in northern Walker lane. The upper is a block of wax has been heated to become ductile and subjected to transtensional right-lateral shear. Ice has been applied to the surface of lower wax block to create brittle upon ductile layer, and then subjected to same shear. The transtensional shear results in a zone of deformation displaying rotation of ‘crustal blocks’, an en echelon arrangement of asymmetric ‘basins,’ observable extension along the axis of shear, and the ability to locally traverse the entire zone of shear without encountering a major fault structure. (Right) Oblique view of study area illustrates the en echelon arrangement and triangular shape of basins nested along the east edge of the Sierra Nevada. Black and colored lines are portions of Walker Lane faults shown in Fig. 1 (Wesnousky et al., 2012)

  • Here are the geodetic observations for each of these blocks along the Walker Lane (Wesnousky et al., 2012). GPS rates are plotted as red vectors. Geologic rates are in the white boxes and are plotted as vectors in black, purple, and blue. Today’s earthquake series happened in the basin where the label “LUCK” is. Note how the GPS site on the northeast side of the basin is moving slightly faster than the GPS site on the western side of the basin. A northwesterly striking right-lateral strike-slip fault could produce this if it ran between these two GPS sites.

  • Physiographic and fault map of area of interest in northern Walker Lane shows major structural basins (numbered), active basin-bounding faults (thick black lines), and geodetic displacement field (red arrows). Shown in white boxes are geologically determined values of fault-normal extension (black-upper text), geodetic estimates of fault-normal extension (magenta-middle text) and geodetic estimates of fault-parallel strike-slip (blue-lower text) rates along each of the basin bounding faults. Two-headed arrows schematically show ranges of same values and correspond in arrangement and color to the values in boxes. The geologically determined extension rate arrows are placed adjacent to the sites of studies except for Lake Tahoe where the estimate is an average value across several submarine faults. Dotted (yellow) lines define paths AB, CD, and EF.

  • This is the tectonic domain figure from Bormann et al. (2016). Some faults have arrows that show their relative sense of motion and blocks have arrows that show their relative sense of rotation. Note the east-west sinistral strike-slip faults that bound the northern and southern boundaries of the blocks in the Mina deflection. Today’s earthquakes happened along the eastern boundary of the Bodie Hills tectonic domain (BH). The BH domain has clockwise rotation like in the Mina deflection. This would place sinistral strain along the southern boundary of the BH domain, creating left-lateral strike-slip faults oriented northeast striking. This is consistent with the sense of motion along the “unnamed faults near Alkali Valley.” If these 2016 earthquakes are associated with these faults, then they are along northeast striking structures and would be left-lateral.

  • Regional map showing the block model boundaries (yellow lines) in relation to the topography and faults of the Central Walker Lane. The Central Walker Lane (region within the dashed black lines) lies between the northeast striking normal faults of the Basin and Range and the Sierra Nevada microplate. Black lines delin-eate major normal faults of the Central Walker Lane, and red lines mark the location of strike slip faults (arrows indicate slip direction). Paleomagnetic observations in-dicate that crustal blocks in the Carson Domain, Bodie Hills, and Mina Deflection accommodate dextral shear through clockwise vertical axis rotations (Cashman and Fontaine, 2000; Petronis et al., 2009; Rood et al., 2011b; Carlson et al., 2013). Orange lines mark the locations of surface rupture that resulted from historic earthquakes in the Central Nevada Seismic Belt. Faults traces are modified from the USGS Qua-ternary Fault and Fold database (U.S. Geological Survey, California Geological Survey, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 2006). Inset map shows the location of the study area in relation to other elements of the Pacific/North America Plate boundary zone.

  • Here Bormann et al. (2016) present their estimates of rotation and fault slip rates for this region. The caption is below the figure. I place a red star where today’s earthquakes happened. This map helps us visualize an alternate interpretation of these earthquakes. The 2016 swarm is along the eastern boundary of the BH domain, which would suggest a northwest striking dextral (right-lateral) strike slip fault would be involved. Given that the currently mapped faults in this region are northeast striking, I interpret these to be along structures that are also northeast striking. Note how the BH domain is rotating clockwise about 1.75 °/Ma, while the MD is rotating clockwise about 2.75 °/Ma.

  • Block motions, slip rates, and velocity residuals for the best fitting GPS model. (A) Rigid block rotation and translation exaggerated by a factor of 107(representing 10 million years of deformation). Color of block indicates vertical axis rotation rate. (B) Predicted fault slip rates represented by the thickness of black (red) line for dextral (sinistral) strike-slip motion and the length of blue (cyan) bar for fault normal extension (compression).

  • Here is the illustrative model presented by Lee et al. (2009) to explain the faulting in the MD (which may also partially explain the seismicity in this region northeast of the Bodie Hills).

  • Schematic block diagrams illustrating two fault-slip transfer mechanisms between subparallel strike-slip faults proposed for the eastern California shear zone and Walker Lane belt. (A) Displacement transfer model whereby the magnitude of extension along the connecting normal faults is proportional to the amount of strike-slip motion transferred (modified from Oldow et al., 1994). (B) Block rotation model in which clockwise rotation of blocks, bounded by dextral faults, is accommodated by sinistral faults (model of McKenzie and Jackson, 1983, 1986).

  • Here is an updated figure to show how these fault systems may have evolved through time (Nagorsen-Rinke et al., 2012).

  • Block diagrams illustrating models proposed to explain fault slip transfer across the Mina deflection. (A) Displacement transfer model in which normal slip along connecting faults transfers fault slip (modified from Oldow, 1992; Oldow et al., 1994). (B) Transtensional model showing a combination of sinistral and normal slip along connecting faults. (C) Clockwise block rotation model in which sinistral slip along connecting faults, combined with vertical axis rotation of intervening fault blocks, transfers fault slip (modified from McKenzie and Jackson, 1983, 1986). Single-barbed arrows show dextral fault motion across faults of the Eastern California shear zone (ECSZ) and Walker Lane belt (WLB) and sinistral motion along faults in the Mina deflection; half-circle double-barbed arrows indicate clockwise rotating fault blocks; solid ball is located on the hanging wall of normal slip faults; thin short lines indicate slip direction on fault surfaces.

  • Here is the map from the UNR Seismological Laboratory website. This shows the earthquakes recorded during the 2011 swarm along the “unnamed faults along Alakali Valley.” Here is the UNRSL website for this earthquake. I include the UNRSL description of the 2011 Hawthorne Sequence below.

    • Over the past nine weeks 42 earthquakes of Magnitude 3.0 and larger earthquakes (listed below) have been located in a sequence about 12 miles southwest of Hawthorne, Nevada. The first of these occurred on March 15th at 11:14 AM PDT and the latest at 10:23 AM PDT on May 19th. The preliminary magnitude for the largest event is M 4.6.
    • In all, there have been several hundred events of Magnitude 1 and larger; only a small fraction of the entire sequence has been reviewed. There have been 1000’s of smaller magnitude events.
    • The Nevada Seismological Laboratory deployed 3 temporary telemetered instruments in the source area on April 17-19 including a NetQuakes instrument at the Court House in Hawthorne. These temporary telemetered instruments deliver real-time data to the data center in Reno and are configured with 3-channel broadband sensors and 3-channel accelerometers.
  • Here is a map from Nagorsen-Rinke et al. (2012) with regional faults mapped. Note how the sinistral faults that bound blocks in the Mina deflection are each slightly more counterclockwise rotated with the fault at the base of the southeastern Excelsior Mountains being the most northerly striking of these faults. If this configuration of faulting were in the basin to the NE of the Bodie Hills, it would explain the northeast striking sinistral interpretation for the 2016 series.

  • Shaded relief map of the southern part of the Mina deflection and northern part of the eastern California shear zone showing the major Quaternary faults. Solid black ball is located on the hanging wall of normal faults; arrow pairs indicate relative motion across strike-slip faults. Heavy arrow in northwest corner of map shows the present-day motion of the Sierra Nevada (SN) with respect to North America (NA) (Dixon et al., 2000). Location of the Adobe Hills geologic map shown in Figure 4A is outlined with a dashed line and location of this map is shown in Figure 1. PS—Pizona Springs; CF—Coaldale fault; CSF— Coyote Springs fault; DSF—Deep Springs fault; FLVFZ—Fish Lake Valley fault zone; HCF—Hilton Creek fault; OVF—Owens Valley fault; QVF—Queen Valley fault; RVF— Round Valley fault; WMFZ—White Mountains fault zone.

Earthquake Report: M 6.6 in Crete, Greece

Well, last weekend I was working on a house, so did not have the time to write this up until now.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us700098qd/dyfi/intensity

The eastern Mediterranean Sea region is dominated by plate tectonics (no surprise, right?). The plate boundary fault system that is responsible for this earthquake near Crete is a convergent plate boundary called a subduction zone.

Convergent means that one plate is moving towards another plate. One of the largest plate boundary systems in the world is a convergent plate boundary that extends from between the north side of Australia and Indonesia, through southern Asia forming the Himalayan Mountains, through the Middle East, into Europe and west past the Mediterranean.

Near Crete the Africa plate is diving (northwards) beneath the Anatolia plate (a sliver of the Eurasia plate). The 2 May magnitude M 6.6 earthquake appears to have been an earthquake on the subduction zone megathrust fault interface (a subduction zone earthquake).

The earthquake was felt across the region with intensity as high as MMI 6 in Crete, to around MMI 4 in Cairo, Egypt.

The earthquake even caused a tsunami that was recorded at teh Lerapetra tide gage in Crete, Greece. The wave was small at about 40 cm peak to trough (measured vertically from the highest part of the wave, the peak, to the lowest part of the wave, the trough).

Here are the tide gage data downloaded from the IOC website here. The tsunami starts at around 13:00 hours.


Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 6 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0 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 center left is an inset map from Dilek and Sandovol (2009) that shows the tectonic plates and the plate boundary faults in the region. There is a blue star in the general location of the M 6.6 earthquake.
  • In the upper right corner is a smaller scale view of the region with 6 months of seismicity plotted.
  • In the lower right corner is a map that shows a model estimate of the shaking intensity from this M 6.6 earthquake.
  • Above the intensity map is a map that shows earthquake mechanisms for historic earthquakes in the region.
  • In the bottom center are seismic hazard and seismic risk maps for the European area. There is more about hazard and risk later in this report.
  • Here is the map with 6 month’s seismicity plotted.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • 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).

  • Here is the large scale tectonic setting map (Taymaz et al., 2007) with their figure below.

  • Summary sketch map of the faulting and bathymetry in the Eastern Mediterranean region, compiled from our observations and those of Le Pichon & Angelier (1981), Taymaz (1990), Taymaz et al. (1990, 1991a, b); S¸arogˇlu et al. (1992), Papazachos et al. (1998), McClusky et al. (2000) and Tan & Taymaz (2006). Large black arrows show relative motions of plates with respect to Eurasia (McClusky et al. 2003). Bathymetry data are derived from GEBCO/97–BODC, provided by GEBCO (1997) and Smith & Sandwell (1997a, b). Shaded relief map derived from the GTOPO-30 Global Topography Data taken after USGS. NAF, North Anatolian Fault; EAF, East Anatolian Fault; DSF, Dead Sea Fault; NEAF, North East Anatolian Fault; EPF, Ezinepazarı Fault; PTF, Paphos Transform Fault; CTF, Cephalonia Transform Fault; PSF, Pampak–Sevan Fault; AS, Apsheron Sill; GF, Garni Fault; OF, Ovacık Fault; MT, Mus¸ Thrust Zone; TuF, Tutak Fault; TF, Tebriz Fault; KBF, Kavakbas¸ı Fault; MRF, Main Recent Fault; KF, Kagˇızman Fault; IF, Igˇdır Fault; BF, Bozova Fault; EF, Elbistan Fault; SaF, Salmas Fault; SuF, Su¨rgu¨ Fault; G, Go¨kova; BMG, Bu¨yu¨k Menderes Graben; Ge, Gediz Graben; Si, Simav Graben; BuF, Burdur Fault; BGF, Beys¸ehir Go¨lu¨ Fault; TF, Tatarlı Fault; SuF, Sultandagˇ Fault; TGF, Tuz Go¨lu¨ Fault; EcF, Ecemis¸ Fau; ErF, Erciyes Fault; DF, Deliler Fault; MF, Malatya Fault; KFZ, Karatas¸–Osmaniye Fault Zone.

  • This figure shows GPS velocities in the region (Taymaz et al., 2007).

  • GPS horizontal velocities and their 95% confidence ellipses in a Eurasia-fixed reference frame for the period 1988–1997 superimposed on a shaded relief map derived from the GTOPO-30 Global Topography Data taken after USGS. Bathymetry data are derived from GEBCO/97–BODC, provided by GEBCO (1997) and Smith & Sandwell (1997a, b). Large arrows designate generalized relative motions of plates with respect to Eurasia (in mm a21) (recompiled after McClusky et al. 2000). NAF, North Anatolian Fault; EAF, East Anatolian Fault; DSF, Dead Sea Fault; NEAF, North East Anatolian Fault; EPF, Ezinepazarı Fault; CTF, Cephalonia Transform Fault; PTF, Paphos Transform Fault; CMT, Caucasus Main Thrust; MRF, Main Recent Fault.

  • Finally their summary figure showing the tectonic regimes (Taymaz et al., 2007).

  • Schematic map of the principal tectonic settings in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hatching shows areas of coherent motion and zones of distributed deformation. Large arrows designate generalized regional motion (in mm a21) and errors (recompiled after McClusky et al. (2000, 2003). NAF, North Anatolian Fault; EAF, East Anatolian Fault; DSF, Dead Sea Fault; NEAF, North East Anatolian Fault; EPF, Ezinepazarı Fault; CTF, Cephalonia Transform Fault; PTF, Paphos Transform Fault.

  • This is a tectonic summary figure from Kokkalas et al. (2006).

  • Simplified map showing the main structural features along the Hellenic arc and trench system, as well as the main active structures in the Aegean area. The mean GPS horizontal velocities in the Aegean plate, with respect to a Eurasia-fixed reference frame, are shown (after Kahle et al., 1998; McClusky et al., 2000). The lengths of vectors are
    proportional to the amount of movement. The thick black arrows indicate the mean motion vectors of the plates. The polygonal areas on the map (dashed lines) define the approximate borders of the five different structural regions discussed in the text. The borders between structural regions are not straightforward, and wide transitional zones probably exist between them. The inset shows a schematic map with the geodynamic framework in the eastern Mediterranean area (modified from McClusky et al., 2000). DSF—Dead Sea fault; EAF—East Anatolia fault; HT—Hellenic trench; KFZ— Kefallonia fault zone; MRAC—Mediterranean Ridge accretionary complex; NAF—North Anatolia fault; NAT—North Aegean trough.

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Here is the map showing the historic earthquake mechanisms from Jolivet et al. (2013).

  • Focal mechanisms of earthquakes over the Aegean Anatolian region.

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 Europe, the western Middle East, and Northern Africa.

    • 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.
  • Here is a view of the GEM seismic risk map for Europe, the western Middle East, and Northern Africa.

    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

  • Basili R., G. Valensise, P. Vannoli, P. Burrato, U. Fracassi, S. Mariano, M.M. Tiberti, E. Boschi (2008), The Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), version 3: summarizing 20 years of research on Italy’s earthquake geology, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2007.04.014
  • Brun, J.-P., Sokoutis, D., 2012. 45 m.y. of Aegean crust and mantle flow driven by trench retreat. Geol. Soc. Am., v. 38, p. 815–818.
  • Caputo, R., Chatzipetros, A., Pavlides, S., and Sboras, S., 2012. The Greek Database of Seismogenic Sources (GreDaSS): state-of-the-art for northern Greece in Annals of Geophysics, v. 55, no. 5, doi: 10.4401/ag-5168
  • Dilek, Y. and Sandvol, E., 2006. Collision tectonics of the Mediterranean region: Causes and consequences in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 1–13
  • DISS Working Group (2015). Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), Version 3.2.0: A compilation of potential sources for earthquakes larger than M 5.5 in Italy and surrounding areas. http://diss.rm.ingv.it/diss/, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia; DOI:10.6092/INGV.IT-DISS3.2.0.
  • Ersoy, E.Y., Cemen, I., Helvaci, C., and Billor, Z., 2014. Tectono-stratigraphy of the Neogene basins in Western Turkey: Implications for tectonic evolution of the Aegean Extended Region in Tectonophysics v. 635, p. 33-58.
  • Ganas, A., and T. Parsons (2009), Three-dimensional model of Hellenic Arc deformation and origin of the Cretan uplift, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B06404, doi:10.1029/2008JB005599
  • Ganas, A., Oikonomou, I.A., and Tsimi, C., 2013. NOAFAULTS: A Digital Database for Active Faults in Greece in Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, v. XLVII, Proceedings fo the 13th International Cogfress, Chania, Sept, 2013
  • Kokkalas, S., Xypolias, P., Koukouvelas, I., and Doutsos, T., 2006, Postcollisional contractional and extensional deformation in the Aegean region, in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 97–123, doi: 10.1130/2006.2409(06)
  • Papazachos, B.C., Papadimitrious, E.E., Kiratzi, A.A., Papazachos, C.B., and Louvari, E.k., 1998. Fault Plane Solutions in the Aegean Sea and the Surrounding Area and their Tectonic Implication, in Bollettino Di Geofisica Terorica Ed Applicata, v. 39, no. 3, p. 199-218.
  • Taymaz, T. , Yilmaz, Y., and Dilek, Y., 2007. The geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia: introduction in TAYMAZ, T., YILMAZ, Y. & DILEK, Y. (eds) The Geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 291, 1–16. DOI: 10.1144/SP291.1 0305-8719/07
  • Wouldloper, 2009. Tectonic map of southern Europe and the Middle East, showing tectonic structures of the western Alpide mountain belt. Only Alpine (tertiary) structures are shown.

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in earthquake, education, europe, geology, mediterranean, middle east, plate tectonics, subduction

Earthquake Report: Banda Sea

Early morning (my time) there was an intermediate depth earthquake in the Banda Sea.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us70009b14/executive

This earthquake was a strike-slip earthquake in the Australia plate. There are analogical earthquakes in the same area in 1963, 1987, 2005, and 2012 that appear to have occurred on the same fault.

In June 2019 there was an earthquake nearby with a similar mechanism.

I will fill in more details tomorrow, but below is some material about the tectonic background for this event.

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.5.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

    Global Strain

  • In a map below, I include a transparent overlay of the Global Strain Rate Map (Kreemer et al., 2014).
  • The mission of the Global Strain Rate Map (GSRM) project is to determine a globally self-consistent strain rate and velocity field model, consistent with geodetic and geologic field observations. The overall mission also includes:
    1. contributions of global, regional, and local models by individual researchers
    2. archive existing data sets of geologic, geodetic, and seismic information that can contribute toward a greater understanding of strain phenomena
    3. archive existing methods for modeling strain rates and strain transients
  • The completed global strain rate map will provide a large amount of information that is vital for our understanding of continental dynamics and for the quantification of seismic hazards.
  • The version used in the poster(s) below is an update to the original 2004 map (Kreemer et al., 2000, 2003; Holt et al., 2005).

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

  • In the upper right corner is a map showing historic seismicity, fault lines, and the global strain rate map (red shows area of higher tectonic strain).
  • In the lower right corner is a low angle oblique view of the tectonic plate configuration (Pownall et al., 2014).
  • In the upper left corner are maps that show the seismic hazard and seismic risk for Indonesia. I spend more time explaining this below.
  • In the center top-left is a map that shows earthquake intensity using the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale.
  • Here is the map with a month’s seismicity plotted.

  • Here is the poster from the nearby earthquake in June of 2019.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Here is a tectonic map for this part of the world from Zahirovic et al., 2014. They show a fracture zone where the M 7.3 earthquake happened. 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).

  • This is a great visualization showing the Australia plate and how it formed the largest forearc basin on Earth (Pownall et al., 2014).
  • The maps on the left show a time history of the tectonics. The low angle oblique view on the right shows the dipping crust (north is not always up, as in this figure).
  • In the lower right, they show how there is strike-slip faulting along the Seram trough also (I left out the figure caption for E).

  • Reconstructions of eastern Indonesia, adapted from Hall (2012), depict collision of Australia with Southeast Asia and slab rollback into Banda Embayment. Yellow star indicates Seram. Oceanic crust is shown in purple (older than 120 Ma) and blue (younger than 120 Ma); submarine arcs and oceanic plateaus are shown in cyan; volcanic island arcs, ophiolites, and material accreted along plate margins are shown in green. A: Reconstruction at 15 Ma. B: Reconstruction at 7 Ma. C: Reconstruction at 2 Ma. D: Visualization of present-day slab morphology of proto–Banda Sea based on earthquake hypocenter distribution and tomographic models

  • Here is a map and some cross sections showing seismic tomography (like C-T scans into the Earth using seismic waves instead of X-Rays). The map shows the location of the cross sections (Spakman et al., 2010).

  • The Banda arc and surrounding region. 200 m and 4,000 m bathymetric contours are indicated. The numbered black lines are Benioff zone contours in kilometres. The red triangles are Holocene volcanoes (http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/). Ar=Aru, Ar Tr=Aru trough, Ba=Banggai Islands, Bu=Buru, SBS=South Banda Sea, Se=Seram, Sm=Sumba, Su=Sula Islands, Ta=Tanimbar, Ta Tr=Tanimbar trough, Ti=Timor, W=Weber Deep.


    Tomographic images of the Banda slab. Vertical sections through the tomography model along the lines shown in Fig. 1. Colours: P-wave anomalies with reference to velocity model ak135 (ref. 30). Dots: earthquake hypocentres within 12 km of the section. The dashed lines are phase changes at ~410 km and ~660 km. The sections are plotted without vertical exaggeration; the horizontal axis is in degrees. The labelled positive anomalies are the Sunda (Su) and Banda (Ba) slabs: BuDdetached slab under Buru, FlDslab under Flores, SDslab under Seram, TDslab under Timor. a, The Sunda slab enters the lower mantle whereas the Banda embayment slab is entirely in the upper mantle with the change under Sulawesi. b–e, Banda slab morphology in sections parallel to Australia plate motion shows a transition from a steep slab with a flat section (fs) (b) to a spoon shape shallowing eastward (c–e).

  • Here is the tectonic map from Hengesh and Whitney (2016)

  • 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.

  • Here is the Audley (2011) cross section showing how the backthrust relates to the subduction zone beneath Timor. I include their figure caption in blockquote below.

  • Cartoon cross section of Timor today, (cf. Richardson & Blundell 1996, their BIRPS figs 3b, 4b & 7; and their fig. 6 gravity model 2 after Woodside et al. 1989; and Snyder et al. 1996 their fig. 6a). Dimensions of the filled 40 km deep present-day Timor Tectonic Collision Zone are based on BIRPS seismic, earthquake seismicity and gravity data all re-interpreted here from Richardson & Blundell (1996) and from Snyder et al. (1996). NB. The Bobonaro Melange, its broken formation and other facies are not indicated, but they are included with the Gondwana mega-sequence. Note defunct Banda Trench, now the Timor TCZ, filled with Australian continental crust and Asian nappes that occupy all space between Wetar Suture and the 2–3 km deep deformation front north of the axis of the Timor Trough. Note the much younger decollement D5 used exactly the same part of the Jurassic lithology of the Gondwana mega-sequence in the older D1 decollement that produced what appears to be much stronger deformation.

  • 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.

  • Whitney and Hengesh (2015) used GPS modeling to suggest a model of plate blocks. Below are their model results.

  • Plate boundary segments in the Banda Arc region from Nugroho et al (2009). Numbers inside rectangles show possible micro-plate blocks near the Sumba Triple Junction (colored) based on GPS velocities (black arrows) with in a stable Eurasian reference frame.

  • Here is the conceptual model from Whitney and Hengesh (2015) that shows how left-lateral strike-slip faulting can come into the region.

  • Schematic map views of kinematic relations between major crustal elements in the Sumba Triple Junction region. CTZ= collisional tectonic zone. Red arrow size designates schematic plate motion relations based on geological data relative to a fixed Sunda shelf reference frame (pin).

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 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.
  • Here is a view of the GEM seismic risk map for Indonesia.

    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

  • Audley-Charles, M.G., 1986. Rates of Neogene and Quaternary tectonic movements in the Southern Banda Arc based on micropalaeontology in: Journal of fhe Geological Society, London, Vol. 143, 1986, pp. 161-175.
  • Audley-Charles, M.G., 2011. Tectonic post-collision processes in Timor, Hall, R., Cottam, M. A. &Wilson, M. E. J. (eds) The SE Asian Gateway: History and Tectonics of the Australia–Asia Collision. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 355, 241–266.
  • Baldwin, S.L., Fitzgerald, P.G., and Webb, L.E., 2012. Tectonics of the New Guinea Region in Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., v. 41, p. 485-520.
  • Benz, H.M., Herman, Matthew, Tarr, A.C., Hayes, G.P., Furlong, K.P., Villaseñor, Antonio, Dart, R.L., and Rhea, Susan, 2011. Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2010 New Guinea and vicinity: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1083-H, scale 1:8,000,000.
  • Given, J. W., and H. Kanamori (1980). The depth extent of the 1977 Sumbawa, Indonesia, earthquake, in EOS Trans. AGU., v. 61, p. 1044.
  • Gusnman, A.R., Tanioka, Y., Matsumoto, H., and Iwasakai, S.-I., 2009. Analysis of the Tsunami Generated by the Great 1977 Sumba Earthquake that Occurred in Indonesia in BSSA, v. 99, no. 4, p. 2169-2179, https://doi.org/10.1785/0120080324
  • 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
  • Hangesh, J. and Whitney, B., 2014. Quaternary Reactivation of Australia’s Western Passive Margin: Inception of a New Plate Boundary? in: 5th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archeoseismology (PATA), 21-27 September 2014, Busan, Korea, 4 pp.
  • Okal, E. A., & Reymond, D., 2003. The mechanism of great Banda Sea earthquake of 1 February 1938: applying the method of preliminary determination of focal mechanism to a historical event in EPSL, v. 216, p. 1-15.
  • Osada, M. and Abe, K., 1981. Mechanism and tectonic implications of the great Banda Sea earthquake of November 4, 1963 in Physics of the Earth and Plentary Interiors, v. 25, p. 129-139
  • Pownall, J.M., Hall, R., Armstrong,, R.A., and Forster, M.A., 2014. Earth’s youngest known ultrahigh-temperature granulites discovered on Seram, eastern Indonesia in Geology, v. 42, no. 4, p. 379-282, https://doi.org/10.1130/G35230.1
  • Spakman, W. and Hall, R., 2010. Surface deformation and slab–mantle interaction during Banda arc subduction rollback in Nature Geosceince, v. 3, p. 562-566, https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO917
  • Whitney, B.B. and Hengesh, J.V., 2015. A new model for active intraplate tectonics in western Australia in Proceedings of the Tenth Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering Building an Earthquake-Resilient Pacific 6-8 November 2015, Sydney, Australia, paper number 82
  • Zahirovic, S., Seton, M., and Müller, R.D., 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

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

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

Earthquake Report: Idaho!

Well Well Well

Yesterday there was a very interesting magnitude M 6.5 earthquake that ruptured in central Idaho, near the Sawtooth fault.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us70008jr5/executive

Idaho lies in the intersection of several different physiographic provinces. Physiographic provinces are areas of Earth that have landforms of similar shape. These landforms are largely caused by tectonics and climate (of course, the climate is controlled largely by tectonics, but there are other factors like the rotation of the planet, convection cells in the atmosphere, etc. well, those convection cells are also controlled by tectonics (i.e. where continents are) too. so, yes, tectonics controls everything (even though it does not).

The two main physiographic provinces (also called geomorphic provinces, after the word “geomorphology” – the shape of the landscape) at play in central Idaho are the Basin and Range and the Rocky Mountains.

  1. The Rocky Mountains were formed long ago (between 80 and 55 million years ago) and are the result of compressional tectonics that uplifted the continent, forming these mountains. While the compression that formed the Rocky Mtns ceased millions of years ago, the topography remains (e.g. Denver, the mile high city).
  2. The Basin and Range is a region of the western US and northwestern Mexico that has undergone East-West directed extension since the Miocene (~17 million years ago). This extension forms normal fault bounded basins (valleys), separated by ranges (mountains). These faults generally trend north-south, but there have been several phases of extension in slightly different directions. So, the faults preserve a complicated history of these changes in tectonic regime. Though, the landforms left behind are persistent (the basins and the ranges).

Here is a view of the physiographic provinces in the USA.


There are many different phases of tectonic deformation that formed the geomorphic provinces of North America, so take an historical geology course to learn more!

In northern Idaho, there is additional period of tectonic deformation that left behind geologic structures that appear to be playing a part in the M 6.5 temblor. During the Eocene, there was a period of east-west extension that caused lots of faults to form. These faults have been inactive for a very long time.

However, sometimes there are older inactive faults that are oriented optimally to be reactivated under newer and possibly different tectonic forces. One example of this is in the Gorda plate offshore of northern California. Faults formed along the spreading ridge (the Gorda Rise), initially formed as normal faults, are exposed to north-south oriented compression and reactivate as strike-slip faults.

Here we are, in central Idaho, where there are some Basin and Range faults (generally northwest trending here) that have been responsible for very large historic earthquakes.

  • The 1959 Hebgen Lake M 7.3 earthquake in Montana was felt widely, caused surface rupture (where the fault breaks through the ground surface, forming a topographic escarpment called a fault scarp), and triggered many landslides. One of these landslides slipped into a river, blocking the flow of the river, forming a lake. After I defended my Ph.D. I went on a drive about. Beginning at a Geological Society of America meeting in Bozeman (yes, this is what geologists do for their vacation), I drove through Yellowstone and crossed the continental divide to visit friends in Colorado. As I was camping near Yellowstone, I drove to see the scarp from this large earthquake and stopped at the “Earthquake Lake.” Lucky me, it was the opening day of the Earthquake Lake Visitor’s Center (though it turns out it was just a new building, lol). I grabbed an Earthquake Lake coffee mug and went on my way.
  • The 1983 magnitude M 6.9 Borah Peak Earthquake ruptured a normal fault about 70 km to the east of yesterday’s M 6.5. That earthquake also caused surface rupture and geologists like Dr. Chris Duross (from the USGS) have been studying that fault to learn about the prehistoric earthquake history.

A recent example of a Basin and Range fault earthquake happened in 2017 in southeastern Idaho, just south of the Snake River Plain (another geomorphic province, formed by the passage of the Yellowstone Hotspot). Here is my report for that earthquake.

The M 6.5 earthquake yesterday happened in an area where a Basin & Range (B&R) fault ends near one of these older Eocene aged faults. Most of us saw the earthquake notification and probably thought that the quake would have been a B&R normal (extensional) fault. However, when the mechanism was posted online, the earthquake mechanism was instead a strike-slip earthquake. This was really interesting. I love when things happen that are unexpected. This is what makes life exciting.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the amount of people making observations, looking at the academic and govt literature, and forming hypotheses about these events.It used to be just a few of us, but now the bug has spread and lots of people are part of this educational process. This all is expressed via social media (mostly on twitter), where peoples’ hypotheses are discussed, shot down, or synchronistically further developed to learn something new we were not expecting. I am a coauthor of a forthcoming paper where we discussed some of these events. This is where it happens, online and in real time.

The same was true for this M 6.5 earthquake in Idaho. People started using existing data, using visualizations in Google Earth, and using all the tools we have at our desktop fingertips, to figure out what the heck happened in a remote region of Idaho.

Thanks to the Idaho Geological Survey, I learned of some of the faults in the region. I downloaded their geologic maps and GIS data and started to work.

The main B&R normal fault that may be somehow related to the M 6.5 earthquake is the Sawtooth fault, a northwest trending (striking) fault that Dr. Glenn Thackray (2013) suggested was “Holocene Active.” (This means the last time it had a large earthquake was sometime during the Holocene, or during the last 12,000 years or so.)

Dr. Thackray used newly collected high resolution LiDAR topographic data to identify fault scarps that offset geomorphic features that during Holocene time. If the landforms were created less than 12,000 years ago and the fault cut through these landforms, then the earthquake that cut the landforms happened after the landforms were created (and also less than 12,000 years ago).

Here is a figure from Thackray et al. (2013) that shows the fault they observed (in the inset B, look at the shadow formed by the fault; the arrows are pointing at the fault scarp). This fault is listed as a high priority to be studied, yet there are no published records yet (Crone et al., 2009).


One of the major older faults (Eocene age) that cuts through the center of Idaho is the Trans-Challis fault zones (TCFZ; Bennet, 1986). Based on the work of others (like Kiilsgaard et al., 1986), this fault is thought to be related to the extension from Eocene time and is possibly related to the volcanism and detatchemnt faulting associated with metamorphic core complexes.

Most of the faults in the TCFZ are also normal faults (makes sense since they were formed from extension). However, there are lots of faults of different types as they can form is they are oriented in ways different than the normal faults.

So, at second glance, the M 6.5 event may have been on one of these older faults associated with the TCFZ. Perhaps the pre-existing older fault, which was inactive, was oriented in the correct position to respond to the modern tectonic forces. Thus, this fault would be considered to be reactivated.

At third glance, it is possible that the M 6.5 event happened on a fault not observed at Earth’s surface and could be related to the Sawtooth fault (or some other fault).

The mechanism is not a purely strike-slip earthquake as it is not a 100% double-couple earthquake (a double couple is the type of force that is associated with the crust moving in one direction on one side of the fault and in the other direction on the other side of the fault). Someone has hypothesized that the M 6.5 earthquake may have been complicated and involved both normal and strike-slip faulting. I like this hypothesis as it fits my idea of an older fault being reactivated under a newer (modern = today) tectonic regime.

Something else to note. I took a look at Wells and Coppersmith (1994). These authors use earthquake event data to prepare some empirical relations between earthquakes of various sizes, types,e tc. and the magnitude of those earthquakes. So we can take one parameter and estimate what another parameter may be.

OK, lets look at some eye candy. (sorry for the long introduction)

Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

  • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.5.
  • I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
  • A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page.
  • Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.

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

  • In the lower left corner is a map of the western USA showing the topography and seismicity for the past 3 months. Note the M 6.5 event in yellow and the recent earthquake in Utah near the Great Salt Lake.
  • In the upper left corner I include a map from Bennett (1986) that shows some of the major faults in Idaho. I placed a blue star in the location of the M 6.5 and labeled the Trans-Challis fault zone.
  • In the upper right corner I include a map showing the region impacted by this earthquake. The Earthquake Intensity uses the MMI scale (the colors), read more about this here. This map represents an estimate of ground shaking from the M 6.5 based on a statistical model using the results of tens of thousands of earthquakes.
  • To the right of the Bennet map is a plot showing how these USGS models “predict” the ground shaking intensity will be relative to distance from the earthquake. These models are represented by the broan and green lines. People can fill out an online form to enter their observations and these “Did You Feel It?” observations are converted into an intensity number and these are plotted as dots in this figure.
  • In the lower center is a map from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Map (Petersen et al., 2019). This map shows the chance that any region may experience strong ground shaking from an earthquake in the next 100 years. The M 6.5 happened in an area thought to have a 36-74% chance of shaking at least MMI VI. Looking at the other plots on this poster, we can see that this map held true. What is the highest MMI in the upper right inset map? What is the highest ground shaking intensity in the plot in the upper center? Most of the observed intensities are less than MMI 6, but there were some.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

  • After I worked for the day, I thought to put together an updated map with aftershocks plotted, at a larger scale. I had downloaded the 10m digital elevation model data for Idaho about a year ago, so it was easy to load it up as a base map.
  • I annotated the Bennet (1986) tectonic map to highlight the different faults (older faults in light orange, younger B&R faults in darker orange). I encircled the area of the M 6.5 sequence.
  • These seismicity data are sourced from IRIS’ earthquake browser. The USGS earthquakes website was not working, so I needed to go elsewhere to obtain seismicity data. This has become a problem in the past few years as more and more people find the excellent services from he USGS to be useful to them. This is good and bad. It makes it difficult to get data. Another problem is that the “Did You Feel It” website does not work (the M 7.1 Ridgecrest Earthquake has many fewer DYFI observations due to this problem).

One thing we might do is estimate what the surface rupture length might it take to generate a M 6.5 earthquake. According to the Wells and Coppersmith (1994) empirical relations, there may be a surface rupture length of about 20 km. If we look at the aftershock sequence in the poster below, we might observe that the fault length may be about 24 km. So, while these are not the same thing, they are of about the same scale. (I used the relations in their figure 9)

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 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.

If we look at the map at the top of this report, we might imagine that because the areas close to the fault shake more strongly, there may be more landslides in those areas. This is probably true at first order, but the variation in material properties and water content also control where landslides might occur.

There are landslide slope stability and liquefaction susceptibility models based on empirical data from past earthquakes. The USGS has recently incorporated these types of analyses into their earthquake event pages. More about these USGS models can be found on this page.

I prepared some maps that compare the USGS landslide probability maps for the 2020 M 6.5 and 1959 M 7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquakes.

  • Here is the landslide probability map (Jessee et al., 2018). Below the poster I include the text from the USGS website that describes how this model is prepared.
  • Note that they are at different scales.


Nowicki Jessee and others (2018) is the preferred model for earthquake-triggered landslide hazard. 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. The output resolution is ~250 m. The model inputs are described below. More details about the model can be found in the original publication. We modify the published model by excluding areas with slopes <5° and changing the coefficient for the lithology layer "unconsolidated sediments" from -3.22 to -1.36, the coefficient for "mixed sedimentary rocks" to better reflect that this unit is expected to be weak (more negative coefficient indicates stronger rock).To exclude areas of insignificantly small probabilities in the computation of aggregate statistics for this model, we use a probability threshold of 0.002.

Other Report Pages

Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

  • Here is the tectonic map from Bennett (1986). The Challis Volcanics are the stippled areas near the Trans-Challis fault zone.

  • Trans-Challis fault system and other selected geologic features in Pacific Northwest and southern British Columbia, Canada. Modified from Tipper et al. (1981); strontium data from Armstrong (1979) and Armstrong et al. (1977). Volcanics: 1—McAbee Basin; 2—Tranquille Basin; 3—Monte Lake Volcanics; 4—Torada graben; 5—Republic graben; 6—Kettle graben; 7—Clarno Volcanics; 8—Challis Volcanics; 9—Challis Volcanics in Owyhee County. Core complexes: A—Shuswap Complex; B—Valhalla gneiss dome and Passmore gneiss dome; C— Kcitie yueiss dome; D—Okanogan gneiss dome; E—Selkirk igneous complex (Kaniksu batholith); F—Spokane dome; 6—Boehls Butte Formation; H—Pioneer Mountain core complex; I—House Mountain metamorphic complex. X—Chilly Buttes; Borah Peak earthquake, October 28,1983. Dashdot line = boundary of Basin and Range province in Oregon.

  • This is a larger scale map showing some of the detailed fault mapping (Bennett, 1986). The Trans-Challis fault system is the northeast trending faults. Normal (extensional) faults are shown with symbols that look like small balls at the end of tiny sticks. The balls are on the side of the fault that goes down.
  • Note the location of Stanley, Idaho. I labeled the location of Stanley in the updated poster above, as well as the landslide probability map.
  • The M 6.5 earthquake is to the northwest of Stanley, just to the east of the Knapp Creek graben.

  • Major geologic features of trans-Challis fault system in central Idaho. Modified from Kiilsgaard et al. (1986).

  • This map shows the geologic structures formed at different times since the Jurassic (150-200 million years ago), through the Eocene (56-34 million years ago).

  • Tectonic map of the western United States, showing the major components of the Cordilleran orogenic belt. The initial Sr ratio line is taken to represent the approximate western edge of North American cratonic basement (Armstrong and others, 1977; Kistler and Peterman, 1978). Abbreviations as follows: CRO, Coast Range ophiolite; LFTB, Luning-Fencemaker thrust belt; CNTB, Central Nevada thrust belt; WH, Wasatch hinge line; UU, Uinta Mountains uplift; CMB, Crazy Mountains basin; PRB, Powder River basin; DB, Denver basin; RB, Raton basin. Precambrian shear zones after Karlstrom and Williams (1998).

  • Here is another version of that map. The Idaho Batholith is the plus “+” symbolized ares in central western Idaho, a magmatic arc formed adjacent to an ancient convergent plate boundary.

  • Simplified version of figure 2, showing some of the major tectonic features in the Cordilleran thrust belt discussed in the text. Abbreviations as follows: LCL, Lewis and Clark line; SWMT, Southwest Montana transverse zone; CC, Cabin culmination; WC, Wasatch culmination; SAC, Santaquin culmination; SC, Sevier culmination; CNTB, Central Nevada thrust belt; LFTB, Luning-Fencemaker thrust belt; WH, Wasatch hinge line. Stippled region represents Cordilleran foreland basin system.

  • If one looks at the updated aftershock poster above, or the Bennet (1986) map that shows the B&R faults in dark orange. These are some of the faults in the figure below, from Janecke (1992).
  • The fault (thick black line) the is southwest of the Lost River Range and extends southeast of Challis is the Lost River fault zone.

  • Location map of central Idaho showings elected Cenozoic normal faults. Solid triangles hows location of tilted Tertiary conglomerates in the footwall of the Pass Creek fault system. Widely-spaced diagonal rule shows Trans-Challis zone. Selected Tertiary plutons are cross-hatched. Small dots outline late Cenozoic basin fill. Numerous NE striking normal faults in the central Lost River Range are omitted for clarity. BPH is Borah Peak horst; WKH is White Knob horst; PCWC is Pass Creek-Wet Creek reentrant.

  • This is a great cross section to check out the proposed geometry of some of these normal faults (Janecke, 1992),

  • Northwest-southeast cross section of three NE striking normal faults. Volcanic rocks are stippled. Location of cross section is in above map. Restoration indicates 30% extension during synvolcanic faulting int he area. The Long Lost fault may have been reactivated.

  • This is a map that shows the geologic regions of Idaho (Kuntz et al., 1982). The Idaho Batholith is the mapped geologic unit where the M 6.5 earthquake happened.

  • Generalized map of southern Idaho showing major geologic and physiographic features and locations referred to in the text.

  • A recent study of the Lost River fault by DuRoss et al. (2019) has given us an idea about how much that fault slips during earthquakes. This is the fault that ruptured during the Borah Peak earthquake in 1983.
  • This is a map showing the part of the fault that they studied.

  • Surface-rupture extent of the 1983 Mw 6.9 Borah Peak earthquake (red), which ruptured the Thousand Springs and southernmost Warm Springs sections of the Lost River fault zone (LRFZ). The Willow Creek Hills are an area of hanging-wall bedrock and complex surface faulting that form a normal-fault structural barrier between the two sections. Yellow polygons show the extent of digital surface models generated in this study using low-altitude aerial imagery derived from unmanned aircraft systems. Fault traces and time of most recent faulting modified from U.S. Geological Survey (2018). Focal mechanism from Doser and Smith (1985); approximate location is 10 km south of figure extent (Richins et al., 1987). Triangles indicate paleoseismic sites: RC—Rattlesnake Creek; SC—Sheep Creek; PS—Poison Spring; DP—Doublespring Pass; EC—Elkhorn Creek; MC—McGowen Creek. Inset map shows regional context. LFZ—Lemhi fault zone; BFZ—Beaverhead fault zone; ESRP—Eastern Snake River Plain; INL—Idaho National Laboratory. Base maps are National Elevation Data set 10 m and 30 m (inset map) digital elevation models.

  • Dr. DuRoss and his colleagues made a series of measurements of the displacement across the fault for for past earthquakes, including a surface measurement from the most recent 1983 earthquake (using a high resolution topographic model they created using aerial images they collected and “structure from motion” computer processing they applied. Using these different measurements, along with radiocarbon ages of the timing of these past earthquakes, we can get an idea about what type of size of an earthquake happens here and how often.
  • This is the type of information that is used to create seismic hazard maps. The first figure shows two estimates of slip for the 1983 earthquake along the Warm Springs section of the Lost River fault.. The lower panel shows the slip distribution for the penultimate (PE1) and the ante-penultimate (PE2) earthquakes.

  • Vertical separation (VS) along the southern 8 km of Warm Springs section. (A) 1983 VS measured in this study (red) compared to those of Crone et al. (1987) (blue) for the 1983 surface rupture. RC shows displacement measured at the Rattlesnake Canyon trench (Schwartz, written communication, 2016). (B) Cumulative VS for prehistoric scarps along the Warm Springs section, showing scarps having VS of ≤2 m (PE1; blue line and shading) and >2 m (PE2; magenta line and shading). Plus signs (1983 rupture) and circles (prehistoric) indicate preferred VS values; vertical lines show min-max VS range based on multiple VS measurement iterations.

  • This second figure shows something similar for the Arentson Gulch fault, a system that crosses the valley in the middle of the valley to the west of the Lost River Mtns.Knowing about how much this fault slips during earthquakes allows us to consider different earthquake models and how these faults interact with each other during earthquakes.

  • Vertical separation (VS) along the 8-km-long Arentson Gulch fault near the northernmost Thousand Springs section. (A) 1983 VS measured in this study (red) compared to those of Crone et al. (1987) (blue) for the 1983 surface rupture. (B) Cumulative VS for prehistoric scarps (squares), including VS for compound (including 1983 and prehistoric displacement) and single-event (prehistoric displacement only) scarps.

  • Here is a compilation of all their data for slip along the different faults in their study.

  • Summary of vertical separation (VS) along the Warm Springs and Thousand Springs sections. (A) Cumulative VS, showing Warm Springs section scarps (magenta and blue) and the 1983 rupture (red). Prehistoric scarps along the northern Thousand Springs section (gray circles; this study) show a pattern of VS decreasing toward the Willow Creek Hills that is similar to the 1983 (red) and prehistoric (green) VS curves for the Arentson Gulch fault. The VS curve for the 1983 rupture of the Thousand Springs section (kilometers 13–34) is fit to data reported in Crone et al. (1987). (B) Per-event vertical displacement based on mean displacement difference curves (see text for discussion). Along the Warm
    Springs section, prehistoric ruptures PE2 (magenta) and PE1 (blue) show significantly more displacement than the 1983 rupture (red). Green line shows prehistoric VS along the Arentson Gulch fault. Gray box shows extent of the Willow Creek Hills structure along the Lost River fault zone. Triangles show paleoseismic sites. SC—Sheep Creek; DP—Doublespring Pass.

    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

  • Crone, A.J., Haller, K.M., and Maharrey, J.Z., 2009, Evaluation of hazardous faults in the Intermountain West region—Summary and recommendations of a workshop: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1140, 71 p. Available at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2009/1140/
  • DeCelles, P/G/, 2004. Late Jurassic to Eocene Evolution of the Cordilleran Thrust Belt and Foreland Basin System, Western U.S.A. in American Journal of Science, v. 304., p. 105-168
  • DuRoss, C.B., Bunds, M.P., Gold, R.D., Briggs, R.W., Reitman, N.G., Personius, S.F., and Toké, N.A., 2019, Variable normal-fault rupture behavior, northern Lost River fault zone, Idaho, USA: Geosphere, v. 15, no. 6, p. 1869–1892, https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02096.1.
  • Janecke, S.U., 1992. Kinematics and Timing of Three Superposed Extensional Systems, East Central Idaho: Evidence for an Eocene Tectonic Transition in Tectonics, v. 11, no. 6, p. 1121-1138
  • Kiilsgaard, T.H., and Lewis, R.S., 1986, Plutonic rocks of Cretaceous age and faults, Atlanta lobe, Idaho batholith, in McIntyre, D.H., ed., Symposium on the geology and mineral deposits of the Challis 1 by 2 degree quadrangle, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1658
  • Kuntz, M.A., Champion, D.E., Spiker, E.C., LeFebvre, R.H., and McBroome, L.A., 1982. The Great Rift and the Evolution of the Craters of the Moon Lava Field, Idaho in Bill Bonnichsen and R.M. Breckenridge, ed., Cenozoic geology of Idaho: Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin, v. 26., p. 423-437
  • Thackray, G.D., Rodgers, D.W., and Streutker, D., 2013., Holocene scarp on the Sawtooth fault, central Idaho, USA, documented through lidar topographic analysis

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in earthquake, education, Extension, geology, landslides, plate tectonics, strike-slip

Earthquake Report: Mendocino triple junction

Well, it was a big mag 5 day today, two magnitude 5+ earthquakes in the western USA on faults related to the same plate boundary! Crazy, right? The same plate boundary, about 800 miles away from each other, and their coincident occurrence was in no way related to each other.

In the past 9 months it was also a big mag 5 MTJ year. There have been 3 mag 5+ earthquakes in the Mendocino triple junction (MTJ) region. The first one in June of 2019, at the time, appeared to be related to the Mendocino fault. The 9 March M 5.8 event was clearly associated with the right lateral Mendocino transform fault. The latest in this series of unrelated earthquakes is possibly associated with NW striking faults in the Gorda plate. I will discuss this below and include background about all the different faults in the region.

I was on the phone with my friend, collaborator, and business partner Thomas Harvey Leroy (the man with 4 first names: Tom, Harvey, Lee, and Roy) yesterday afternoon. We were determining the best course of action after a tenant of ours moved out leaving PG&E with an unpaid ~$9000 bill and we could not turn the power back on until the bill was paid. His son walked up to him and asked if what he had just felt was an earthquake. Because Tom was pacing back and forth, he did not feel it (as Tom likes to say, “feel the pain.”). He wishes that he had felt it.

My social media feed was immediately dominated by posts about the earthquake in Humboldt County. I put together a quick map (see below). My good friend and collaborator Bob McPherson (a seismologist who ran the Humboldt Bay Seismic Network in the late 70s and 80s) sent me several text messages about the earthquake. we texted back and forth. I initially thought it might be Mendo fault and so did he.

Then the USGS moment tensor (earthquake mechanism) came in with an orientation similar to that of Gorda plate earthquakes further to the north. These earthquakes are typically on northeast striking (trending) left-lateral strike-slip faults (see more here about types of earthquakes). So, I stated that I thought it was like those, a left-lateral strike-slip fault earthquake. So I deleted my social media posts and updated the map to show it could be either left-lateral or right-lateral (the map below shows both options), but that we thought it was in the Gorda plate, not the Mendocino fault.


Then Bomac mentioned these northwest trends in seismicity that we noticed (as a group) about 5 years ago, seismicity trends (seismolineaments is what Tom calls them) that first appeared following the 1992 Cape Mendocino Earthquake.

We don’t yet have a full explanation for these trends in seismicity, but the orientation fits a stress field from north-south compression (from the northward motion of the Pacific plate relative to the Gorda plate). This north-south compression is also the explanation for the left-lateral strike-slip fault earthquakes in the Gorda plate (Silver, 1971).

How are these 3 M5+ MTJ events related?

Well, they are not directly related to each other (i.e. none of these earthquakes caused any of the other earthquakes). The exception is that the 2019 M 5.6 may have affected the stress in the crust leading to the March M 5.2, but this is unlikely. What is even less likely that the M 5.8 was caused by the June 5.6 or caused the march 5.2.

WHy?

Well, there are two kinds of earthquake triggering.

  1. Dynamic Triggering – When seismic waves travel through the Earth, they change the stresses in the crust. IF the faults are “locked and loaded” (i.e. they are just about ready to slip in an earthquake), there may be an earthquake on the “receiver” fault. Generally, once the seismic waves are done travelling, this effect is over. Though, some suggest that this affect on the stress changes may last longer (but not much longer).
  2. Static Triggering – When an earthquake fault slips, it deforms (changes the shape) of the crust surrounding that earthquake. These changes can cause increases and decreases in the stress on faults (either increasing or decreasing the chance for an earthquake). Just like for dynamic triggering, the fault needs to be about ready to slip. The effect on fault slip changes in “static coulomb stress” generally extend a distance of about 2-3 times the fault length of the “source” fault.

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.


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

Using these empirical relations (which are crude and may not cover earthquakes as small as this M 5.8, but they are better than nothing), the “surface rupture length” of this M 5.8 might be about 5 km. So, changes in static coulomb stress from the M 5.8 extended, at most, about 16 km (or about 10 miles). Yesterday’s M 5.2. is about 72 km away, far too distant to be statically triggered by the 5.8.

The M 5.6 might have a rupture length crudely about 3 km might affect the region up to 9 km away. The M 5.2 is ~16 km from the M 5.6, so probably too far to be affected.

However, these earthquakes are related because they are all in the same region and are responding to the same tectonic forces.

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 ≥ 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 are a map of the tectonic plates and their boundary faults (Chaytor et al., 2006; Nelson et al., 2006). To the right is a and cross section cutting into the Earth from West (left) to East (right) that shows the downgoing (subducting) Gorda plate beneath the North America plate (Plafker, 1972).
  • In the upper right corner is a map of the MTJ area. The Great Salt Lake is the large light blue bleb in the upper right. We can see the mountains to the east of SLC, the Wasatch Range. The Earthquake Intensity uses the MMI scale (the colors), read more about this here. This map represents an estimate of ground shaking from the M 5.7 based on a statistical model using the results of tens of thousands of earthquakes.
  • In the lower left corner to the right of the legend is a plot showing how these USGS models “predict” the ground shaking intensity will be relative to distance from the earthquake. These models are represented by the broan and green lines. People can fill out an online form to enter their observations and these “Did You Feel It?” observations are converted into an intensity number and these are plotted as dots in this figure.
  • There are several sources of seismicity on this map, but i tried to make it easier to interpret using color choices. I recognize this poster does not satisfy Access and Functional Needs. I will work on that.
    • The three main earthquakes are plotted in pastel yellow and orange-yellow colors.
    • Earthquakes from teh past 3 months are light green.
    • The earthquakes from the past century are faint gray.
    • The earthquakes located using a double differenced locating method are colored relative to depth.
  • Look at the westernmost NW trend in seismicity. How does the depth of the earhtquakes change along that transect?
  • Yes! The earthquakes deepen to the southeast. These earthquakes are revealing to us the location (e.g. depth) of the Gorda plate as it dives deeper to the east.
  • Here is the map with 3 month’s (in green) and 1 century’s (in gray, mislabeled) seismicity plotted. I also include seismicity from a catalog with events relocated using the Double Differencing method.

I also outlined the two main northwest trends in seismicity with dashed white line polygons. The 18 March event is in the southern end of the western seismicity trend.

There is a nice northeast trend in seismicity that I also outlined. This is probably representative of one of the typical left-lateral Strike-slip Gorda plate earthquakes.

Other Report Pages

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.

  • This figure shows how a subduction zone deforms between (interseismic) and during (coseismic) earthquakes. We also can see how a subduction zone generates a tsunami. Atwater et al., 2005.

  • Here is an animation produced by the folks at Cal Tech following the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone earthquake. I have several posts about that earthquake here and here. One may learn more about this animation, as well as download this animation here.

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. In my mind, these two aftershocks aligned on what may be the eastern extension of the Mendocino fault. However, looking at their locations, my mind was incorrect. These two earthquakes were not aftershocks, but were either left-lateral or right-lateral strike-slip Gorda plate earthquakes triggered by the M 7.1 thrust event.

These two quakes appear to be aligned with the two northwest trends in seismicity and the 18 March 2020 M 5.2. The orientation of the mechanisms are not as perfectly well aligned, but there are lots of reasons for this (perhaps the faults were formed in a slightly different orientation, but have rotated slightly).

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 link to the embedded video below, showing the week-long seismicity in April 1992.
  • This is the map used in the animation below. Earthquake epicenters are plotted (some with USGS moment tensors) for this region from 1917-2017 with M ≥ 6.5. I labeled the plates and shaded their general location in different colors.
  • I include some inset maps.
    • In the upper right corner is a map of the Cascadia subduction zone (Chaytor et al., 2004; Nelson et al., 2004).
    • In the upper left corner is a map from Rollins and Stein (2010). They plot epicenters and fault lines involved in earthquakes between 1976 and 2010.


    • 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.

    • Here is a large scale map of the 1994 earthquake swarm. The mainshock epicenter is a black star and epicenters are denoted as white circles.

    • Here is a plot of focal mechanisms from the Dengler et al. (1995) paper in California Geology.

      • 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 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.

    Further North

    If we move a little further north, we can take a look at the Blanco fault. This is a right-lateral strike-slip fault just like the Mendocino and San Andreas faults.

    If we turn our head at an oblique angle, we may consider the San Andreas, the Mendocino, and the Blanco faults to be all part of the same transform fault.

    Transform faults are often (or solely) defined as a strike-slip fault system that terminates at each end with a spreading ridge. These 3 systems link spreading ridges in the Gulf of California, through the Gorda Rise, to the Juan de Fuca ridge (and further).

    The Blanco fault is as, or more active than the Mendocino fault. The excellent people in Oregon who are aware of their exposure to seismic and tsunami hazards from the Cascadia subduction zone are always interested when there are earthquake notifications.

    Earthquakes on the Blanco fault are some of these events that people notice and ask about, “should I be concerned?” The answer is generally, “those earthquakes are too far away and too small to change the chance of the “Big One.” (remember the discussion about dynamic triggering above?)

    There was a recent earthquake (2018) on the Blanco fault that brought the public to question this again. My report about that earthquake spent a little space addressing these fault length >> magnitude >> triggering issues.

    As we know, 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 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).

    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.

    • Here is the map with a century’s seismicity plotted, for earthquakes of magnitude M ≥ 6.0 for the 29 Aug 2019 M 6.3 Blanco fault earthquake.

    • The poster includes earthquake information for earthquakes with M ≥ 6.0. I prepared this for a magnitude M 6.2 Blanco fault earthquake on 22 August 2018. 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.


    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

  • 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.
  • 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/
  • 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/
  • 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/].
  • Wells, D.L., and Coopersmith, K.J., 1994. New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement in BSSA, v. 84, no. 4, p. 974-1002

Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

Posted in cascadia, earthquake, education, geology, gorda, humboldt, mendocino, mendocino, pacific, plate tectonics, San Andreas, strike-slip, subduction, Transform

Earthquake Report: Salt Lake City

As I was waking up this morning, I rolled over to check my social media feed and moments earlier there was a good sized shaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. I immediately thought of my good friend Jennifer G. who lives there with her children. I immediately started looking into this earthquake.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/uu60363602/executive

The second thing I thought of was Chris DuRoss, a USGS geologist I first met when he was presenting his research of the record of prehistoric earthquakes along the Wasatch fault at the Seismological Society of America (SSA) meeting that was being held in SLC that year. Gosh, that was in 2013. My, how time passes. Dr. DuRoss now works for the USGS and continues to research the seismic hazards of the intermountain west and beyond from his office in Golden, Colorado.

The third thing I thought of was all the buildings in the SLC area that are not designed to withstand the shaking from the earthquakes that we expect will occur on that fault system. About 85% of the population of the state of Utah lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch fault. This is sobering.

I quickly put together a poster for this earthquake to help people learn a little more. I have a second earthquake to interpret tonight, so I will update this report later with more background on the Wasatch fault tectonics and seismic hazard.

There is also a great resource from the University of Utah, an event page for this earthquake sequence.

Tectonic Background
  • The right-lateral transform fault zone called the San Andreas fault (SAF) where the North America plate on the east moves south relative to the Pacific plate. They are both moving north-ish, but the Pacific plate is moving “North” faster than the North America plate.
  • The convergent plate boundary called the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) where the Gorda, Juan de Fuca, and Explorer plates are diving beneath the North America plate, forming a megathrust subduction fault system.
  • There are many other faults that are also part of this plate boundary system. The San Andreas fault zone “proper” accommodates about 85% of the relative plate motion. The rest of the relative plate motion (15%) is accounted for by slip on other strike-slip fault systems.

    There are “sibling” faults to the SAF near the SAF (like the Hayward fault in the San Francisco Bay Area) and further away (like the Eastern California shear zone, the Owens Valley fault, and the Walker Lane fault systems).

    Just like Dr. Steve Wesnousky showed us, the crust in the Walker Lane is moving around like a layer of solid wax floating around on a tray of melted wax. So, there are faults in lots of different kinds of directions, and different kinds of faults too.

    The easternmost right-lateral strike slip fault is the Wasatch fault.

    East of Sierra Nevada. in Nevada and western Utah, there is lots of East-West oriented extension (i.e. the Basin and Range) where the crust in western Nevada is moving west compared to the crust in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    The Wasatch is also one of these extensional faults we call Normal faults.

    In Salt Lake City, the Wasatch fault is oriented roughly north-south and is generally located on the eastern side of the valley, near the base of the mountains. The Crust on the western side of the fault is moving west relative to the mountains.

    The fault then dips down towards the west. Because the motion is east-west, and the fault dips at an angle, the valley goes down over time relative to the mountains (thus forming the valley).

    Today’s earthquake happened in the middle of the valley, where the Wasatch fault is deep beneath. The earthquake was a “normal” fault earthquake with east-west extension. So, the earthquake and aftershocks are on a fault related to the Wasatch (or we are wrong about the precise location of the fault, the earthquake, or both).

    The USGS has an earthquake forecast product where the scientists at the Earthquake Center use a statistical model to estimate the possibility of earthquakes of different magnitude ranges may occur in the future over ranges of time periods after the main earthquake.

    Don’t run outside during an earthquake.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 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 lower right corner is a map of the western USA with USGS seismicity from the past century for earthquakes M 5.5+. Note all the north-south oriented lines in Nevada and Utah. These are formed by all the normal faults from the east-west extension in the basin and range.
    • In the upper right corner is a map of the Salt Lake City (SLC) area. The Great Salt Lake is the large light blue bleb in the upper right. We can see the mountains to the east of SLC, the Wasatch Range. The Earthquake Intensity uses the MMI scale (the colors), read more about this here. This map represents an estimate of ground shaking from the M 5.7 based on a statistical model using the results of tens of thousands of earthquakes.
    • In the upper left corner is a plot showing how these USGS models “predict” the ground shaking intensity will be relative to distance from the earthquake. These models are represented by the broan and green lines. People can fill out an online form to enter their observations and these “Did You Feel It?” observations are converted into an intensity number and these are plotted as dots in this figure.
    • In the left-center is a map from DuRoss et al. (2016) that shows the Wasatch fault along the base of the Wasatch Range. Note that the fault is subdivided into different segments. We think that sometimes these different segments may rupture at different times and sometimes some of them may rupture at the same time.I placed a blue star in the location of today’s earthquake (projected onto the surface).
    • Here is the map with 1 year’s and 1 century’s seismicity plotted.

    • Two great resources for information about the tectonics of Utah are here:

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is the map from DuRoss et al. (2016).
    • The main fault is in red. There are additional faults, like the white lines west of Salt Lake City. These are traces of the West Valley fault zone (WVFZ). Note the next mountain range to the west (left) and that there is another north-south series of faults drawn at the base of those mountains too. This is the Oquirrh Great Salt Lake fault zone, a series of west dipping faults (just like the Wasatch fault)
    • The Wasatch fault is very long and notice how it is not continuous. One of the important things that we may want to know is if these all slip at the same time during an earthquake, or only some of them slip, or just one of them. This is one of the largest sources of uncertainty when it comes to estimating the seismic hazard of a region.
    • The authors (and others before them) subdivided the segments and these segments are labeled on this map.

    • Central segments of the WFZ (red), which have evidence of repeated Holocene surface-faulting earthquakes. Circles indicate sites with data that we reanalyzed using OxCal (abbreviations shown in Table 2); triangles indicate sites where data or documentation was inadequate for reanalysis (HC, Hobble Creek; PP, Pole Patch; WC, Water Canyon; WH, Woodland Hills). Other Quaternary faults in northern Utah (white lines) include the ECFZ, East Cache fault zone; OGSLFZ, Oquirrh Great Salt Lake fault zone; ULFF, Utah Lake faults and folds; WVFZ, West Valley fault zone. Fault traces are from Black et al. [2003]. Horizontal bars mark primary segment boundaries. Inset map shows the trace of the WFZ in northern Utah and southern Idaho.

    • This is a figure that shows what we think may be the way that these fault segments link (or not) through time (DuRoss et la., 2016).
    • The fault line map is on top (note how North is not always “up.”). The bottom chart aligns with the fault segments (along the north south distance represented by the red dashed and dotted line in the map).
    • The vertical axis is time in thousands of years ago (1950 is on the bottom and 7 thousand years ago is on top). Each blue bar represents the time that an earthquake may haven happened in the past and how those earthquakes may match the earthquake history of an adjacent segment.
    • If the blue bar on one segment matches the age range for an adjacent fault, that earthquake may have involved both segments. However due to the limitation with radiocarbon, we can never really know this.

    • Late Holocene surface-faulting earthquakes identified at trench sites along the central WFZ. Circles with labels indicate sites with data that were reanalyzed using OxCal, and unlabeled white triangles indicate sites where data or documentation was inadequate for reanalysis. Distance is measured along simplified fault trace (dash dotted line) shown in top panel. Individual earthquake-timing probability density functions (PDFs) and mean times are derived from OxCal models for the paleoseismic sites; number in brackets is event number, where one is the youngest.

    • Here is a cross section, showing us what we think may be how the faults extend beneath the ground surface. Drt, DuRoss tweeted this today.
    • The Wasatch fault begins on the right, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains and dips to the west (to the left) beneath Salt Lake City.
    • There are additional (antithetic) faults dipping to the east and these are called the West Valley fault zone. They are also normal faults formed from extension.
    • These faults are plotted in white in the above map.
    • The earthquake location is also plotted using two different information sources. According to Dr. RuRoss, these earthquakes may have happened on a previously unknown fault.

    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 shows liquefaction susceptibility from the M 5.7 earthquake.
    • 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.

      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

    • DuRoss, C. B., S. F. Personius, A. J. Crone, S. S. Olig, M. D. Hylland, W. R. Lund, and D. P. Schwartz (2016), Fault segmentation: New concepts from the Wasatch Fault Zone, Utah, USA, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 121, 1131–1157, doi:10.1002/2015JB012519.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in cascadia, earthquake, education, geology, gorda, humboldt, mendocino, mendocino, pacific, plate tectonics, San Andreas, strike-slip, subduction, Transform

    Earthquake Report: Mendocino fault

    I was in Humboldt County last week for the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group meeting. I stayed there working on my house that a previous tenant had left in quite a destroyed state (they moved in as friends of mine).

    As I was grabbing a bite at Taqueria Bravo in Willits, I checked in on social media and noticed my friend Dave Bazard had posted moments earlier about an earthquake there. I had missed it by about 2 hours or so.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nc73351710/executive

    Yesterday’s earthquake was a right-lateral strike-slip earthquake on the Mendocino fault system. The Mendocino fault is a strike-slip fault formed by the eastward motion of the Gorda plate relative to the westward motion of the Pacific plate. The last major damaging earthquake on the MF was in 1994.

    Interestingly, this was the 6 year commemoration of the 2014 M 6.8 Gorda plate earthquake (the last large earthquake in the region).

    Also, there was a similarly sized event on the MF in 2018.

      Big “take-aways” from this:

    • This earthquake did not affect the Cascadia megathrust subduction zone fault (too small of magnitude and too far away).
    • This earthquake did not generate an observable tsunami.
    • This earthquake changed the stress in the surrounding crust, but a very very small amount (in some places it increased stress on faults and in other places it decreased stresses on faults). However, the magnitude was small and this change in stress is probably short lived. I discuss this about a previous MF earthquake here. I spend more time on this topic for a Gorda plate earthquake here.

    Here is a seismic selfie from Riley, a student at Humboldt State University (taking a geology course). This photo was posted on the HSU Dept. of Geology facebook page.


    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past month, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 3.5 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 lower left corner is a legend, but to the right is an inset map of the Cascadia subduction zone (modified from Nelson et al., 2006). I place a blue star in the location of yesterday’s earthquake.
    • In the upper left corner is a small scale map showing the entire pacific northwest with some historic seismicity (up to central Oregon; I forgot to download the data from the entire region; there are other examples of this).
    • To the right of that is a map showing the USGS Did You Feel It observation results showing how broadly this earthquake was felt. My friend in Redding told me that they felt it. This made sense since the Mendocino fault points right at Redding, but it was also felt in southern California (probably from site amplification from sedimentary basins). The color is the same scale as in the legend for shaking intensity (MMI).
    • Here is the map with a week’s and century’s seismicity plotted. I include the USGS model for shaking intensity as a transparent overlay (with MMI intensities up to M 5 near the epicenter).

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • The USGS models earthquake intensity using what we often call “Ground Motion Prediction Equations.” Some prefer to change this terminology as the word “prediction” is problematic (because one cannot predict earthquakes).
    • Basically, the further away from an earthquake, the less one feels the shaking. These GMPE “intensity-distance” relations are based on the measurements of earthquake shaking from thousands of earthquakes. There are a variety of factors that control the ground shaking in addition to the distance.
    • The USGS has a “Did You Feel It?” system where people can submit their observations using an online questionnaire. These observations are converted to an intensity value using the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale. I explain this a little more here.
    • Here is a figure that I prepared using the USGS map of DYFI results. I also include a plot that shows how the intensity (vertical axis) decays with distance (horizontal axis) from the earthquake.

    • Here is a map of the Cascadia subduction zone, modified from Nelson et al. (2006). The Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates subduct north eastwardly 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.

    • 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). The 1980, 1992, 1994, 2005, and 2010 earthquakes are plotted and labeled. I did not mention the 2010 earthquake, but it most likely was just like 1980 and 2005, a left-lateral strike-slip earthquake on a northeast striking fault.

    • Here is a large scale map of the 1994 earthquake swarm. The mainshock epicenter is a black star and epicenters are denoted as white circles.

    • Here is a plot of focal mechanisms from the Dengler et al. (1995) paper in California Geology.

    • 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.

    • This figure shows how a subduction zone deforms between (interseismic) and during (coseismic) earthquakes. We also can see how a subduction zone generates a tsunami. Atwater et al., 2005.

    • Here is an animation produced by the folks at Cal Tech following the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone earthquake. I have several posts about that earthquake here and here. One may learn more about this animation, as well as download this animation here.
    • Here is a link to the embedded video below, showing the week-long seismicity in April 1992.
    • This is the map used in the animation below. Earthquake epicenters are plotted (some with USGS moment tensors) for this region from 1917-2017 with M ≥ 6.5. I labeled the plates and shaded their general location in different colors.
    • I include some inset maps.
      • In the upper right corner is a map of the Cascadia subduction zone (Chaytor et al., 2004; Nelson et al., 2004).
      • In the upper left corner is a map from Rollins and Stein (2010). They plot epicenters and fault lines involved in earthquakes between 1976 and 2010.


    • Here is a link to the embedded video below, showing these earthquakes.

      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

    • 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.
    • 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/
    • 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/
    • 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, geology, gorda, mendocino, pacific, plate tectonics, San Andreas, San Francisco, strike-slip, subduction, Transform

    Earthquake Report: Cayman Islands

    Contrary to what some people spread around on the internets (some of them major earthquake experts), strike-slip earthquakes can and do generate tsunami (just like this one). More on this below.

    I am in Portland, Oregon this week, attending the Winter National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program Meeting. While one of our workshops, several of us got an alert about a M 7.3 earthquake offshore of Cuba and Jamaica. My colleagues from Puerto Rico were immediately interested to learn more about this. We noticed that nothing was being posted to tsunami.gov.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us60007idc/executive

    The location is familiar with me as I have written reports for earthquakes in this region over the past couple of years. This earthquake happened along a strike-slip plate boundary fault. Thus, the chance of a large tsunami is low. However, strike-slip earthquakes DO generate tsunami, albeit smaller than those created by subduction zone earthquakes. In addition, earthquakes can trigger submarine landslides, which can also serve to cause tsunami (these can be very large, but generally impact the area near the landslide, like the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami.).

    In a few minutes, the earthquake magnitude was updated to M 7.7. This is quite common, as seismological data are analyzed with greater detail after the initial automatic magnitude calculation.

    A few minutes later, the USGS moment tensor (earthquake mechanism) was posted online, confirming that it was a strike-slip earthquake.

    The IOC tide gage network was not working, so I could not check for tsunami observations until later. However, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center sent out an email to the International Tsunami Bulletin Board (email list restricted to tsunami scientists) with arrival times. There was a suggestion that tsunami waves up to 1 meter may arrive along the coast in the region.

    At lunch time, I went to my hotel room to put together an interpretive poster (thanks boss!) to send out on social media. By that time, a small tsunami wave had been observed at the tide gage on the west coast of Cayman Island. The PTWC sent out their final email, stating a 0.4 foot tsunami was recorded there. I went to the IOC website and the gage data were quite noisy, but it matched the PTWC email. Here is a link to the George Town Tide Gage.

    Just as I was about to tweet the poster, the USGS earthquake fault slip model was published online (so I added that to the poster).

    After lunch, as the workshop continued, there was a M 6.1 earthquake. I noticed it was west of the slip model. I had considered an alternate hypothesis (that the M 6.1 was triggered, not an aftershock), but now think that this is just part of the M 7.7 slip patch. Looking at the back projection data from IRIS, it suggests that this earthquake initiated in the east and propagated to the west. It makes sense to me that the fault reached a zone where the fault slip slowed down, until it reached the patch that slipped during the M 6.1. (simplifying this for this report)

    Was this Cayman Islands Earthquake Sequence related to the ongoing Puerto Rico Earthquake Sequence? Probably not. They are simply too far from each other.

    There are two types of earthquake triggering: static and dynamic. Triggering happens when an earthquake on one fault changes the stress on a different fault, causing that other fault to slip during an earthquake. These stress changes are small, so the “receiver” fault needs to be at a state of stress that is high enough that it would be almost ready to slip before the “source” earthquake.

    Dynamic triggering happens when seismic waves from the source earthquake travel through the Earth, triggering an earthquake on the receiver fault. These changes in stress may take a while before the triggered earthquake happens, but generally, we think that this would happen while these waves are traveling through the area.

    Static triggering happens when a source earthquake changes the stress in the crust surrounding the source earthquake. This change typically lasts months to years and won’t extend beyond two fault lengths of the source earthquake. So, If the source quake had a rupture length of 50 km, static triggering probably would not happen more than 100km from the source quake. This is just a rule of thumb… BUT the M 7.7 is very far from Puerto Rico, so is probably unrelated to the Puerto Rico Sequence.

    Earthquake Description

    This M 7.7 earthquake happened along the Oriente fault, which is the Septentrional fault further to the east. This fault is one of the boundaries between the North America plate to the north and the Caribbean plate to the south in a region called the Greater Antilles.

    Further to the east, this plate boundary changes into a subduction zone along the Lesser Antilles. This subduction zone is the source of a great amount of research. There is some evidence that the megathrust subduction zone fault is not locked, so it is slipping and not capable of generating Great (M>8) earthquakes. However, I was on a team of French geologists aboard the Pourquoi Pas? in 2016. We were coring the deep sea to investigate the sedimentary record of Great earthquakes. Based on our analysis, it appears that the fault is capable of producing these large earthquakes, but the average time between earthquakes (the recurrence interval) is on he order of several millenia.

    To the west of the M 7.7 earthquake, there is an oceanic spreading ridge where crust is created, forming the Cayman Trough. As the boundary steps to the south, the relative plate motion is focused on another left-lateral strike-slip fault, the Swan Island fault. This fault extends further to the west into Central America and turns into the Motagua Polochic fault system (there are actually multiple faults hypothesized to be the active part of this plate boundary here). I discuss this more in an Earthquake Report here.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past 3 months, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0 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 lower right corner is a map from Pindell and Kennan (2009) that shows the major plate tectonic faults in the Caribbean. I place a yellow star in the general location of today’s M 7.7 earthquake.
    • In the upper right corner is a map from Symithe et al. (2015). I have used this figure in many of my reports because it is so awesome!!! This map includes the faults of the region, but also includes earthquake mechanisms (e.g. focal mechanisms).
    • To the left of the Symithe map is the USGS model for the earthquake fault that slipped during this earthquake. The color represents the amount of slip. I placed a red line with circles at the end on the map where this fault model is located. Don’t forget, this is just a model (but it matches the data that the USGS uses to constrain the model).
    • In the upper left corner is a map that shows a comparison of the USGS model for shaking intensity (using the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale) and the USGS “Did You Feel It?” observations.
      • The shaking intensity model is based on the results of analyzing thousands of earthquakes and using these earthquakes to develop a relation between earthquake size (e.g. magnitude) and how strongly it shakes based on the distance to the earthquake.
      • The “DYFI” observations are based on the results of surveys that people submit to the USGS website. The questions people answer are about their observations of the earthquake. Here are some basic facts about this DYFI program and here is some scientific background behind the DYFI program.
    • To the right of the intensity map is a plot of the data from the map. The vertical axis represents intensity (MMI) and the horizontal axis represents the distance from the earthquake. The solid lines represent the model results from the USGS. These are the models that the USGS used to create the color on the map to the left. The DYFI observations are the blue dots (the brown dots show averages ofthe blue dots). There is a decent match, but it is far from perfect.
    • Here is the map with 3 month’s seismicity plotted.

    • Here is the tsunami observation posted by the PTWC. A few years ago, it was conventional wisdom (at least, in my mind) that strike-slip earthquakes were not a producer of tsunami. In the past few years, however, most every large strike-slip submarine earthquake has generated a tsunami. We need to break this old way of viewing this.
    • The main difference for tsunami from strike-slip earthquakes is that they are smaller than from subduction or thrust faults. BUT, even a tsunami with a size of about 2-3 meters can cause millions of dollars of damage. These are still dangerous events, even though they are not as dangerous as larger tsunami.

    • As we can see from the plot below, it will take someone more skilled than I to understand the tsunami waves observed here. However, even I can see that there was a change in water surface elevation at about the right time given the distance to the earthquake from the Cayman Islands.

    • UPDATE: 2020.01.29 – This morning I saw a tweet from Christoph Gruetzner and I realized that I had only reviewed the tide gage data from nearest the quake. Below is a plot from a site in Mexico which clearly shows a tsunami wave train. This is a better record that the one above from Cayman Island. The Cayman gage is located on the western side of the island, not optimal to record waves sourced from the east (why it is so noisy). This Puerto Morelos gage (below) is a much better record, albeit still a small wave that is in a location with significant background wave “noise.”

    • Here is a figure that includes a map showing the location of these two tide gages. I will update this later, gotta get to the meeting today.

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • Here is the tectonic map from Symithe et al. (2015). I include their figure caption below in blockquote.

    • 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 the tectonic map from Garcia-Casco et al. (2011). I include their figure caption below in blockquote.

    • Plate tectonic configuration of the Caribbean region showing the location of the study cases presented in this issue (numbers refer to papers, arranged as in the issue), and other important geological features of the region (compiled from several sources).

    • Here is the Benz et al. (2011) Seismicity of the Earth poster for this region.

    • Here is the map from Mann et a. (1991). Note how today’s earthquake is in an area that may have overlapping faults of different types.

    • A. Tectonic map of Cayman trough region showing strike-slip faults (heavy lines), oceanic crust (gray) in Cayman trough, and magnetic anomaly identifications (numbered bars) (after Rosencrantz et a., 1988). Arrows show relative displacement directions. Fault zones: OFZ – Oriente; DFZ- Dunvale; EPGFZ – Enriquillo-Plantain Garden; WFZ – Walton; SIFZ – Swan Islands; MFZ – Motagua. Bl. Late Miocene reconstruction of Cayman trough. C. Early Miocene reconstruction.

    • Here is the large scale map from ten Brink et al. (2002) showing the bathymetry surrounding the Mid-Cayman Rise.

    • Bathymetry of central Cayman Trough adapted from Jacobs et al. (1989). Contour interval: 250 m. Dotted line: location of gravity transect.

    • Here is the USGS Tectonic Summary for this 2018.01.10 M 7.6 earthquake. A more comprehensive review can be found here.
      • The January 10, 2018, M 7.6 Great Swan Island, Honduras earthquake occurred as the result of strike slip faulting in the shallow crust near the boundary between the North America and Caribbean plates. Early focal mechanism solutions indicate that rupture occurred on a steeply dipping structure striking either west-northwest (right-lateral), or west-southwest (left-lateral). At the location of this earthquake, the North America plate moves to the west-southwest with respect to the Caribbean plate at a rate of approximately 19 mm/yr. Local to the January 10, 2018 earthquake, this motion is predominantly accommodated along the Swan Islands transform fault, a left-lateral structure. The location, depth and focal mechanism solution of today’s earthquake are consistent with rupture occurring along this plate boundary structure, or on a nearby and closely related fault.
      • While commonly plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are more appropriately described as slip over a larger fault area. Strike-slip-faulting events of the size of the January 10, 2018, earthquake are typically about 140×20 km (length x width).
      • Nine other earthquakes of M 6 or larger have occurred within 400 km of the January 10, 2018 event over the preceding century. Previous strong earthquakes along the North America-Caribbean plate boundary in this region include the destructive M 7.5 Guatemala earthquake of February 4, 1976, which resulted in more than 23,000 fatalities. The 1976 earthquake occurred on the Motagua fault, a segment of the plate boundary that lies in southern Guatemala, about 650 km west-southwest of the hypocenter of the January 10, 2018, event. In May 2009, a M 7.3 earthquake occurred along the Swan Island transform fault approximately 300 km west of the January 10, 2018 event. The 2009 earthquake (which was much closer to land than the 2018 event) resulted in 7 fatalities, 40 injuries and 130 buildings being damaged or destroyed.

      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

    • Benz, H.M., Tarr, A.C., Hayes, G.P., Villaseñor, Antonio, Furlong, K.P., Dart, R.L., and Rhea, Susan, 2011. Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2010 Caribbean plate and vicinity: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1083-A, scale 1:8,000,000.
    • Franco, A., C. Lasserre H. Lyon-Caen V. Kostoglodov E. Molina M. Guzman-Speziale D. Monterosso V. Robles C. Figueroa W. Amaya E. Barrier L. Chiquin S. Moran O. Flores J. Romero J. A. Santiago M. Manea V. C. Manea, 2012. Fault kinematics in northern Central America and coupling along the subduction interface of the Cocos Plate, from GPS data in Chiapas (Mexico), Guatemala and El Salvador in Geophysical Journal International., v. 189, no. 3, p. 1223-1236. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05390.x
    • Garcia-Casco, A., Projenza, J.A., Iturralde-Vinent, M.A., 2011. Subduction Zones of the Caribbean: the sedimentary, magmatic, metamorphic and ore-deposit records UNESCO/iugs igcp Project 546 Subduction Zones of the Caribbean in Geologica Acta, v. 9, no., 3-4, p. 217-224
    • Mann, P., Tyburski, S.A., and Rosencratz, E., 1991. Neogene development of the Swan Islands restraining-bend complex, Caribbean Sea in Geology, v. 19, p. 823-826.
    • 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 in J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, v. 120, p. 3748–3774, doi:10.1002/2014JB011779.
    • Ten Brink, U.S., Coleman, D.F., and Dillon, W.P., 2002. The nature of the crust under Cayman Trough from gravity in Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 119, p. 971-987.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

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

    Earthquake Report: East Anatolia fault zone

    This M 6.7 earthquake was the result of slip probably along a left-lateral strike-slip fault associated with the East Anatolia fault zone (EAF). The event was shallow and produced strong ground shaking in the region.

    https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us60007ewc/executive

    As I write this, there have been about 5 building collapses and 22 deaths. The high number of deaths may be due to the building design used in the region.

    The EAF accommodates the relative plate motion between the Anatolia and Arabia plates. Because the northern motion of the Arabia plate is oblique to the plate boundary, the tectonic strain (deformation of the Earth) is proportioned on different fault types. We call this strain partitioning.

    The lateral strain is localized along the EAF in the form of strike-slip faults. The compressive strain formed the Southeast Anatolia fault zone, a series of imbricate thrust faults south and east of the EAF.

    Further to the west, this north-south compression results in the subduction of the Africa plate northwards beneath the Anatolia and Eurasia plates. This subduction forms the Hellenic trench.

    On the northern part of Turkey is bordered by a right-lateral strike-slip fault, the North Anatolia fault. Last year (2019) was the 20 year commemoration of the 1999 Izmit M 7.6 earthquake.

    The M 6.7 earthquake may have caused landslides or liquefaction in places, but the chances of this are modest at best.

    Geologists have studied the EAF and subdivided the fault into segments based on their mapping efforts. This M 6.7 is within the Pütürge segment of the EAF. If we look at the historic record of the EAF here, we find that the M 6.7 happened in a part of the fault that does not have an historic rupture. There was an earthquake in 1875 that appears to end to the north of the M 6.7 and there is an earthquake in 1893 that appears to terminate just to the south of the M 6.7.

    Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake

    • I plot the seismicity from the past year, with diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.5 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 is a map from Armijo et al. (1999) that shows the plate boundary faults and tectonic plates in the region. This M 6.7 earthquake, denoted by the blue star, is along the East Anatolia fault, a left-lateral strike-slip plate boundary fault.
    • In the upper left corner is a comparison of the shaking intensity modeled by the USGS and the shaking intensity based on peoples’ “boots on the ground” observations. People felt intensities exceeding MMI 7.
    • To the right of the intensity map is a figure from Duman and Emre (2013). This shows the historic earthquakes along the EAF.
    • In the lower right corner is a larger scale map showing the tectonic geomorphology of the region (how the landscape is sculpted by tectonic forces).
    • To the right of the legend are two maps that show (left) liquefaction susceptibility and (right) landslide probability. These are based on empirical models from the USGS that show the chance an area may have experienced these processes that may have happened as a result of the ground shaking from the earthquake. I spend more time explaining these types of models and what they represent in this Earthquake Report for the recent event in Albania.
    • Here is the map with a month’s (ESMC catalog) and a century’s seismicity plotted (USGS NEIC catalog).

    • Here is the map with a month’s and a year’s seismicity plotted (CSEM EMSC catalog).
    • In the upper left corner is a map that shows the tectonic strain in the region. Areas of red are deforming more from tectonic motion than are areas that are blue. Learn more about the Global Strain Rate Map project here.
    • I also show a figure from Wells and Coppersmith (1994). These authors used a global dataset of earthquakes to develop an empirical relation between earthquakes and various parameters. They found relations between the physical size of an earthquake versus earthquake magnitude. These plots show how the magnitude of an earthquake relates to the “surface rupture length in km.” The surface rupture length is the length of the fault that actually caused the ground surface to be offset during the earthquake.
    • The table shows calculated magnitudes based on surface rupture lengths of different length. Given the formula in the Wells and Coppersmith (1994) plot shown, an earthquake with a surface rupture length of 35 km would have a magnitude of M 6.8. Note how the aftershock zone is about 75 km long. We will see in the coming week or two if there is a potential for finding surface rupture. Geologists will use satellite data to measure ground offset. This type of remote sensing analysis can help people locate field observations of surface rupture. This kind of analysis was very helpful for our mapping following the July 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence.

    • Let’s take a look at the USGS fault slip model. USGS seismologists analyze seismologic data (from broadband seismometers) to model the distribution of slip for this earthquake. Below is their model that is based on a southwest-northeast striking (trending) fault (parallel to the EAF). Maximum slip is less than 2 meters.
    • Note the coincidence between the estimated length of surface rupture length in the table above (35 km) and this slip model. The slip model shows slip on the fault at or near the surface for about 40 km or so.

    • Because this 1999 earthquake is important for many reasons, I will be writing up an Earthquake Report for that event sometime soon. In the meantime, here is a poster I put together for that event.
    • Of particular note is that this August earthquake generated a small tsunami. I use this in my tsunami talks to highlight how there are non-traditional tsunami sources that need to be considered when mitigating tsunami hazards. Even though this tsunami was only a couple meters high, that is enough to damage harbors, boats, and people.

    Other Report Pages

    Some Relevant Discussion and Figures

    • This is the plate tectonic map from Armijo et al., 1999.

    • Tectonic setting of continental extrusion in eastern Mediterranean. Anatolia-Aegean block escapes westward from Arabia-Eurasia collision zone, toward Hellenic subduction zone. Current motion relative to Eurasia (GPS [Global Positioning System] and SLR [Satellite Laser Ranging] velocity vectors, in mm/yr, from Reilinger et al., 1997). In Aegean, two deformation regimes are superimposed (Armijo et al., 1996): widespread, slow extension starting earlier (orange stripes, white diverging arrows), and more localized, fast transtension associated with later, westward propagation of North Anatolian fault (NAF). EAF—East Anatolian fault, K—Karliova triple junction, DSF—Dead Sea fault,NAT—North Aegean Trough, CR—Corinth Rift.Box outlines Marmara pull-apart region, where North Anatolian fault enters Aegean.

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

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

    • This is the Woudloper (2009) tectonic map of the Mediterranean Sea. The yellow/orange band represents the Alpide Belt, a convergent plate boundary that extends from western Europe, through the Middle East, beneath northern India and Nepal (forming the Himalayas), through Indonesia, terminating east of Australia.

    • 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 “Neo Tethys Suture” on the map, for the Eastern Anatolia 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 Anatolia and East Anatolia faults and the thrust/reverse mechanisms associated with the thrust faults.

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

    • Here is a map showing tectonic domains (Taymaz et al., 2007).

    • Schematic map of the principal tectonic settings in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hatching shows areas of coherent motion and zones of distributed deformation. Large arrows designate generalized regional motion (in mm a21) and errors (recompiled after McClusky et al. (2000, 2003). NAF, North Anatolian Fault; EAF, East Anatolian Fault; DSF, Dead Sea Fault; NEAF, North East Anatolian Fault; EPF, Ezinepazarı Fault; CTF, Cephalonia Transform Fault; PTF, Paphos Transform Fault.

    • Here is a tectonic overview figure from Duman and Emre, 2013.

    • The main fault systems of the AN–AR and TR–AF plate boundaries (modified from Sengor & Yılmaz 1981; Saroglu et al. 1992a, b; Westaway 2003; Emre et al. 2011a, b, c). Arrows indicate relative plate motions (McClusky et al. 2000). Abbreviations: AN, Anatolian microplate; AF, African plate; AR, Arabian plate; EU, Eurasian plate; NAFZ, North Anatolian Fault Zone; EAFZ, East Anatolian Fault Zone; DSFZ, Dead Sea Fault Zone; MF; Malatya Fault, TF, Tuzgo¨lu¨ fault; EF, Ecemis¸ fault; SATZ, Southeast Anatolian Thrust Zone; SS, southern strand of the EAFZ; NS, northern strand of the EAFZ.

    • This is a map that shows the subdivisions of the EAF (Duman and Emre, 2013). Note Lake Hazar for reference.

    • Map of the East Anatolian strike-slip fault system showing strands, segments and fault jogs. Abbreviations: FS, fault Segment; RB, releasing bend; RS, releasing stepover; RDB, restraining double bend; RSB, restraining bend; PB, paired bend; (1) Du¨zic¸i–Osmaniye fault segment; (2) Erzin fault segment; (3) Payas fault segment; (4) Yakapınar fault segment; (5) C¸ okak fault segment; (6) Islahiye releasing bend; (7) Demrek restraining stepover; (8) Engizek fault zone; (9) Maras¸ fault zone.

    • This map shows the fault mapping from Duman and Emre, 2013. Note Lake Hazar for reference. We can see some of the thrust faults mapped as part of the Southeast Anatolia fault zone.

    • Map of the (a) Palu and (b) Puturge segments of the East Anatolian fault. Abbreviations: LHRB, Lake Hazar releasing bend; PS, Palu segment; ES, Erkenek segment; H, hill; M, mountain; C, creek; (1) left lateral strike-slip fault; (2) normal fault; (3) reverse or thrust fault; (4) East Anatolian Fault; (5) Southeastern Anatolian Thrust Zone; (6) syncline;(7) anticline; (8) undifferentiated Holocene deposits; (9) undifferentiated Quaternary deposits; (10) landslide.

    • This is the figure from Duman and Emre (2013) that shows the spatial extent for historic earthquakes on the EAF.

    • Surface ruptures produced by large earthquakes during the 19th and 20th centuries along the EAF. Data from Arpat (1971), Arpat and S¸arog˘lu (1972), Seymen and Aydın (1972), Ambraseys (1988), Ambraseys and Jackson (1998), Cetin et al. (2003), Herece (2008), Karabacak et al. (2011) and this study. Ruptured fault segments are highlighted.

    Seismic Hazard and Seismic Risk

    • These are the two seismic maps from the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) project, 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 Europe.

      • The USGS Seismic Hazard Map:
      • Here is a map that displays an estimate of seismic hazard for the region (Jenkins et al., 2010). This comes from Giardini et al. (1999).

      • The Global Seismic Hazard Map. Peak ground acceleration (pga) with a 10% chance of exceedance in 50 years is depicted in m/s2. The site classification is rock everywhere except Canada and the United States, which assume rock/firm soil site classifications. White and green correspond to low seismicity hazard (0%-8%g), yellow and orange correspond to moderate seismic hazard (8%-24%g), pink and dark pink correspond to high seismicity hazard (24%-40%g), and red and brown correspond to very high seismic hazard (greater than 40%g).

      • 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.
    • Here is a view of the GEM seismic risk map for Europe.

      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

    • Armijo, R., Meyer, B., Hubert, A., and Barka, A., 1999. Westward propagation of the North Anatolian fault into the northern Aegean: Timing and kinematics in Geology, v. 27, no. 3, p. 267-270
    • Basili R., G. Valensise, P. Vannoli, P. Burrato, U. Fracassi, S. Mariano, M.M. Tiberti, E. Boschi (2008), The Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), version 3: summarizing 20 years of research on Italy’s earthquake geology, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2007.04.014
    • Brun, J.-P., Sokoutis, D., 2012. 45 m.y. of Aegean crust and mantle flow driven by trench retreat. Geol. Soc. Am., v. 38, p. 815–818.
    • Caputo, R., Chatzipetros, A., Pavlides, S., and Sboras, S., 2012. The Greek Database of Seismogenic Sources (GreDaSS): state-of-the-art for northern Greece in Annals of Geophysics, v. 55, no. 5, doi: 10.4401/ag-5168
    • Dilek, Y., 2006. Collision tectonics of the Mediterranean region: Causes and consequences in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 1–13
    • Dilek, Y. and Sandvol, E., 2006. Collision tectonics of the Mediterranean region: Causes and consequences in Dilek, Y., and Pavlides, S., eds., Postcollisional tectonics and magmatism in the Mediterranean region and Asia: Geological Society of America Special Paper 409, p. 1–13
    • DISS Working Group (2015). Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS), Version 3.2.0: A compilation of potential sources for earthquakes larger than M 5.5 in Italy and surrounding areas. http://diss.rm.ingv.it/diss/, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia; DOI:10.6092/INGV.IT-DISS3.2.0.
    • Duman, T.Y. and Emre, O., 2013. The East Anatolian Fault: geometry, segmentation and jog characteristics in Geological Society of London, Special Publications, v. 372, doi: 10.1144/SP372.14
    • Ersoy, E.Y., Cemen, I., Helvaci, C., and Billor, Z., 2014. Tectono-stratigraphy of the Neogene basins in Western Turkey: Implications for tectonic evolution of the Aegean Extended Region in Tectonophysics v. 635, p. 33-58.
    • Jenkins, Jennifer, Turner, Bethan, Turner, Rebecca, Hayes, G.P., Sinclair, Alison, Davies, Sian, Parker, A.L., Dart, R.L., Tarr, A.C., Villaseñor, Antonio, and Benz, H.M., compilers, 2013, Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2010 Middle East and vicinity (ver 1.1, Jan. 28, 2014): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1083-K, scale 1:7,000,000, https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1083/k/.
    • Jolivet, L., et al., 2013. Aegean tectonics: Strain localisation, slab tearing and trench retreat in Tectonophysics, v. 597-598, p. 1-33
    • Kokkalas, S., et al., 2006. Postcollisional contractional and extensional deformation in the Aegean region in GSA Special Papers, v. 409, p. 97-123.
    • Kurt, H., Demirbag, E., and Kuscu, I., 1999. Investigation of the submarine active tectonism in the Gulf of Gokova, southwest Anatolia–southeast Aegean Sea, by multi-channel seismic reflection data in Tectonophysics, v. 305, p. 477-496
    • Papazachos, B.C., Papadimitrious, E.E., Kiratzi, A.A., Papazachos, C.B., and Louvari, E.k., 1998. Fault Plane Solutions in the Aegean Sea and the Surrounding Area and their Tectonic Implication, in Bollettino Di Geofisica Terorica Ed Applicata, v. 39, no. 3, p. 199-218.
    • Taymaz, T., Yilmaz, Y., and Dilek, Y., 2007. The geodynamics of the Aegean and Anatolia: introduction in Geological Society Special Publications, v. 291, p. 1-16.
    • Wouldloper, 2009. Tectonic map of southern Europe and the Middle East, showing tectonic structures of the western Alpide mountain belt. Only Alpine (tertiary) structures are shown.

    Return to the Earthquake Reports page.

    Posted in earthquake, education, europe, geology, mediterranean, middle east, plate tectonics, strike-slip

    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).

    UPDATE: 2020.02.02 -palindrome day!

    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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