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Geodetic measurements of slow slip events southeast of Parkfield, CA

March 5, 2020

Tremor and low-frequency earthquakes are presumed to be indicative of surrounding slow, aseismic slip that is often below geodetic detection thresholds. This study uses data from borehole seismometers and long-baseline laser strainmeters to observe both the seismic and geodetic signatures of episodic tremor and slip on the Parkfield region of the San Andreas Fault near Cholame, CA. The observed occurrence rates of both the tremors and co-located families of low-frequency earthquakes are not steady but instead exhibit quasiperiodic bursts of increased activity. We show that these periods of elevated seismic activity correlate with statistically significant stacked strain signals consisting of 44 slow-slip events. Modeled individual slow-slip events and their total summed moment, which are constrained by seismic signals and stacked strain, respectively, indicate that the individual moment magnitudes of these events range from  4.6–5.2. We find that the measured geodetic signal likely precedes the seismic signal by several hours, consistent with the aseismic slip preceding and driving the observed seismic tremor activity. We confirm that strike-slip faults, in addition to subduction zones, are capable of producing episodic tremor and slip.

Publication Year 2020
Title Geodetic measurements of slow slip events southeast of Parkfield, CA
DOI 10.1029/2019JB019059
Authors Brent G. Delbridge, Joshua D. Carmichael, Robert M. Nadeau, David R. Shelly, Roland Burgmann
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research
Index ID 70223324
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center