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Tiny intraplate earthquakes triggered by nearby episodic tremor and slip in Cascadia

January 1, 2011

Episodic tremor and slip (ETS) has been observed in many subduction zones, but its mechanical underpinnings as well as its potential for triggering damaging earthquakes have proven difficult to assess. Here we use a seismic array in Cascadia of unprecedented density to monitor seismicity around a moderate 16 day ETS episode. In the 4 months of data we examine, we observe five tiny earthquakes within the subducting slab during the episode and only one more in the same area, which was just before and nearby the next ETS burst. These earthquakes concentrate along the sides and updip edge of the ETS region, consistent with greater stress concentration there than near the middle and downdip edge of the tremor area. Most of the seismicity is below the megathrust, with a similar depth extent to the background intraslab seismicity. The pattern of earthquakes that we find suggests slow slip has a more continuous temporal and spatial pattern than the tremor loci, which notoriously appear in bursts, jumps, and streaks. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Tiny intraplate earthquakes triggered by nearby episodic tremor and slip in Cascadia
DOI 10.1029/2011GC003559
Authors J.E. Vidale, A.J. Hotovec, A. Ghosh, K. C. Creager, J. Gomberg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Series Number
Index ID 70036383
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization