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Stress/strain changes and triggered seismicity following the MW7.3 Landers, California, earthquake

January 1, 1996

Calculations of dynamic stresses and strains, constrained by broadband seismograms, are used to investigate their role in generating the remotely triggered seismicity that followed the June 28, 1992, MW7.3 Landers, California earthquake. I compare straingrams and dynamic Coulomb failure functions calculated for the Landers earthquake at sites that did experience triggered seismicity with those at sites that did not. Bounds on triggering thresholds are obtained from analysis of dynamic strain spectra calculated for the Landers and MW,6.1 Joshua Tree, California, earthquakes at various sites, combined with results of static strain investigations by others. I interpret three principal results of this study with those of a companion study by Gomberg and Davis [this issue]. First, the dynamic elastic stress changes themselves cannot explain the spatial distribution of triggered seismicity, particularly the lack of triggered activity along the San Andreas fault system. In addition to the requirement to exceed a Coulomb failure stress level, this result implies the need to invoke and satisfy the requirements of appropriate slip instability theory. Second, results of this study are consistent with the existence of frequency- or rate-dependent stress/strain triggering thresholds, inferred from the companion study and interpreted in terms of earthquake initiation involving a competition of processes, one promoting failure and the other inhibiting it. Such competition is also part of relevant instability theories. Third, the triggering threshold must vary from site to site, suggesting that the potential for triggering strongly depends on site characteristics and response. The lack of triggering along the San Andreas fault system may be correlated with the advanced maturity of its fault gouge zone; the strains from the Landers earthquake were either insufficient to exceed its larger critical slip distance or some other critical failure parameter; or the faults failed stably as aseismic creep events. Variations in the triggering threshold at sites of triggered seismicity may be attributed to variations in gouge zone development and properties. Finally, these interpretations provide ready explanations for the time delays between the Landers earthquake and the triggered events.

Publication Year 1996
Title Stress/strain changes and triggered seismicity following the MW7.3 Landers, California, earthquake
Authors J. Gomberg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
Index ID 70018794
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse