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Post-seismic relaxation following the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence

December 21, 2021

The 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence involved predominantly right‐lateral strike slip on a northwest–southeast‐trending subvertical fault in the 6 July M 7.1 mainshock, preceded by left‐lateral strike slip on a northeast–southwest‐trending subvertical fault in the 4 July M 6.4 foreshock. To characterize the postseismic deformation, we assemble displacements measured by Global Positioning System (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. The geodetic measurements illuminate vigorous postseismic deformation for at least 21 months following the earthquake sequence. The postseismic transient deformation is particularly well constrained from survey‐mode GPS (sGPS) in the epicentral region carried out during the weeks after the mainshock. We interpret these observations with mechanical models including afterslip and viscoelastic relaxation of the lower crust and mantle asthenosphere. During the first 21 months, up to several centimeters of horizontal motions are measured at continuous GPS and sGPS sites, with amplitude that diminishes slowly with distance from the mainshock rupture, suggestive of deeper afterslip or viscoelastic relaxation. We find that although afterslip involving right‐lateral strike slip along the mainshock fault traces and their deeper extensions reach a few decimeters, most postseismic deformation is attributable to viscoelastic relaxation of the lower crust and mantle. Within the Basin and Range crust and mantle, we infer a transient lower crust viscosity several times that of the mantle asthenosphere. The transient mantle asthenosphere viscosity is ∼1.3×1017  Pa s">

Publication Year 2022
Title Post-seismic relaxation following the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence
DOI 10.1785/0120210170
Authors Fred Pollitz, Charles Wicks, Jerry L. Svarc, Ellen L. Phillips, Benjamin A. Brooks, Mark Hunter Murray, Ryan C. Turner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70249960
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center