In August of 2020, an earthquake sequence initiated within the Maacama fault zone in northern California, raising questions about its relationship with the larger-scale fault. To investigate the faulting geometry and its implications for physical processes driving seismicity, we applied an integrated, multi-faceted seismic analysis including waveform-correlation-based event detection, relative relocation, and high-precision focal mechanisms. To determine mechanisms for a large population of very small earthquakes (predominantly M < 1), we combined correlation-derived polarity analysis with a recently developed technique to determine S/P amplitude ratios from single seismic components. Finally, we applied an iterative stress inversion to distinguish between the likely fault and auxiliary planes. This analysis reveals that although the sequence initiated on a right-lateral fault, plausibly a strand of the Maacama Fault, it also activated numerous en echelon left-lateral conjugate faults. Together, these interlocking faults form a fracture mesh, consistent with structures associated elsewhere with fluid-induced faulting and earthquake swarms.
|Title||Fracture-mesh faulting in the swarm-like 2020 Maacama sequence revealed by high-precision earthquake detection, location, and focal mechanisms|
|Authors||David R. Shelly, Robert John Skoumal, Jeanne L. Hardebeck|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earthquake Science Center; Geologic Hazards Science Center|