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Ghods A.,Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences | Shabanian E.,Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences | Bergman E.,Global Seismological Services | Faridi M.,Geological Survey of Iran | And 4 more authors.
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2015

On 2012 August 11, a pair of large, damaging earthquakes struck the Varzaghan-Ahar region in northwest Iran, in a region where there was no major mapped fault or any well-documented historical seismicity. To investigate the active tectonics of the source region we applied a combination of seismological methods (local aftershock network, calibrated multiple event relocation and focal mechanism studies), field observations (structural geology and geomorphological) and inversions for the regional stress field. The epicentral region is north of the North Tabriz Fault. The first main shock is characterized by right-lateral strike-slip motion on an almost E-W fault plane of about 23 km length extending from the surface to a depth of about 14 km. The second main shock occurred on an ENE-striking fault that dips at 60-70° to the NW. Independent inversions of focal mechanisms and geologically determined fault kinematic data for the active stress state yield a transpressional tectonic regime with σ1 oriented N132E. For the region northeast of the North Tabriz Fault, the presence of rigid lithosphere of the South Caspian Basin implies the kinematic adjustment by northward transferring of the contracted masses through both distributed deformation and structural deflections. Our results suggest that the kinematic adjustment inside a contracting wedge may occur along interacting crosswise or conjugate faults to accommodate low rates of internal deformation. At a global scale, our results indicate that despite the basic assumption of 'rigid blocks' in geodetic plate modelling, internal deformation of block-like regions could control the kinematics of deformation and the level of seismic hazard within and around such regions of low deformation rate. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

McNamara D.E.,U.S. Geological Survey | Benz H.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Herrmann R.B.,Saint Louis University | Bergman E.A.,Global Seismological Services | And 3 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2015

The sharp increase in seismicity over a broad region of central Oklahoma has raised concern regarding the source of the activity and its potential hazard to local communities and energy industry infrastructure. Since early 2010, numerous organizations have deployed temporary portable seismic stations in central Oklahoma in order to record the evolving seismicity. In this study, we apply a multiple-event relocation method to produce a catalog of 3639 central Oklahoma earthquakes from late 2009 through 2014. Regional moment tensor (RMT) source parameters were determined for 195 of the largest and best recorded earthquakes. Combining RMT results with relocated seismicity enabled us to determine the length, depth, and style of faulting occurring on reactivated subsurface fault systems. Results show that the majority of earthquakes occur on near-vertical, optimally oriented (NE-SW and NW-SE), strike-slip faults in the shallow crystalline basement. These are necessary first-order observations required to assess the potential hazards of individual faults in Oklahoma. ©2015. The Authors.

Karasozen E.,Colorado School of Mines | Nissen E.,Colorado School of Mines | Bergman E.A.,Global Seismological Services | Johnson K.L.,Colorado School of Mines | Walters R.J.,Durham University
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth | Year: 2016

Western Turkey has a long history of large earthquakes, but the responsible faults are poorly characterized. Here we reassess the past half century of instrumental earthquakes in the Simav-Gediz region, starting with the 19 May 2011 Simav earthquake (Mw 5.9), which we image using interferometric synthetic aperture radar and regional and teleseismic waveforms. This event ruptured a steep, planar normal fault centered at 7–9 km depth but failed to break the surface. However, relocated main shock and aftershock hypocenters occurred beneath the main slip plane at 10–22 km depth, implying rupture initiation in areas of low coseismic slip. These calibrated modern earthquakes provide the impetus to relocate and reassess older instrumental events in the region. Aftershocks of the 1970 Gediz earthquake (Mw 7.1) form a narrow band, inconsistent with source models that invoke low-angle detachment faulting, and may include events triggered dynamically by the unilateral main shock rupture. Epicenters of the 1969 Demirci earthquakes (Mw 5.9, 6.0) are more consistent with slip on the south dipping Akdağ fault than the larger, north dipping Simav fault. A counterintuitive aspect of recent seismicity across our study area is that the largest event (Mw 7.1) occurred in an area of slower extension and indistinct surface faulting, yet ruptured the surface, while recent earthquakes in the well-defined and more rapidly extending Simav graben are smaller (Mw <6.0) and failed to produce surface breaks. Though our study area bounds a major metamorphic core complex, there is no evidence for involvement of low-angle normal faulting in any of the recent large earthquakes. ©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Johnson K.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Johnson K.L.,Colorado School of Mines | Hayes G.P.,U.S. Geological Survey | Herrmann R.B.,Saint Louis University | And 3 more authors.
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2016

Modern tectonic studies often use regional moment tensors (RMTs) to interpret the seismotectonic framework of an earthquake or earthquake sequence; however, despite extensive use, little existing work addresses RMT parameter uncertainty. Here, we quantify how network geometry and faulting style affect RMT sensitivity. We examine how data-model fits change with fault plane geometry (strike and dip) for varying station configurations. We calculate the relative data fit for incrementally varying geometries about a best-fitting solution, applying our workflow to real and synthetic seismograms for both real and hypothetical station distributions and earthquakes. Initially, we conduct purely observational tests, computing RMTs from synthetic seismograms for hypothetical earthquakes and a series of well-behaved network geometries. We then incorporate real data and station distributions from the International Maule Aftershock Deployment (IMAD), which recorded aftershocks of the 2010 MW 8.8 Maule earthquake, and a set of regional stations capturing the ongoing earthquake sequence in Oklahoma and southern Kansas. We consider RMTs computed under three scenarios: (1) real seismic records selected for high data quality; (2) synthetic seismic records with noise computed for the observed source-station pairings and (3) synthetic seismic records with noise computed for all possible station-source pairings. To assess RMT sensitivity for each test, we observe the 'fit falloff ', which portrays how relative fit changes when strike or dip varies incrementally; we then derive the ranges of acceptable strikes and dips by identifying the span of solutions with relative fits larger than 90 per cent of the best fit. For the azimuthally incomplete IMAD network, Scenario 3 best constrains fault geometry, with average ranges of 45° and 31° for strike and dip, respectively. In Oklahoma, Scenario 3 best constrains fault dip with an average range of 46° however, strike is best constrained by Scenario 1, with a range of 26°.We draw two main conclusions from this study. (1) Station distribution impacts our ability to constrain RMTs using waveform time-series; however, in some tectonic settings, faulting style also plays a significant role and (2) increasing station density and data quantity (both the number of stations and the number of individual channels) does not necessarily improve RMT constraint. These results may be useful when organizing future seismic deployments (e.g. by concentrating stations in alignment with anticipated nodal planes), and in computing RMTs, either by guiding a more rigorous data selection process for input data or informing variable weighting among the selected data (e.g. by eliminating the transverse component when strike-slip mechanisms are expected). © the authors 2016.

Copley A.,University of Cambridge | Hollingsworth J.,California Institute of Technology | Bergman E.,Global Seismological Services
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth | Year: 2012

The 2006 Mw7.0 Mozambique (Machaze) normal-faulting earthquake ruptured an unusually steeply dipping fault plane (∼75°). The amount of slip in the earthquake decreased from depths of ∼10 km toward the surface, and this shallow slip deficit was at least partly recovered by postseismic afterslip on the shallow part of the fault plane. An adjacent normal fault segment slipped postseismically (and possibly also co-seismically) at shallow depths with a large strike-slip component, in response to the stresses generated by slip on the main earthquake fault plane. Our observations suggest that the fault zone behaves in a stick-slip manner in the crystalline basement, and that where it cuts the sedimentary layer the coseismic rupture was partially arrested and there was significant postseismic creep. We discuss the effects of such behavior on the large-scale tectonics of continental regions, and on the assessment of seismic hazard on similar fault systems. The steep dip of the fault suggests the re-activation of a preexisting structure with a coefficient of friction at least ∼25-45% lower than that on optimally oriented planes, and analysis of the deformation following an aftershock indicates that the value of the parameter 'a' that describes the rate-dependence of fault friction lies in the range 1 × 10-3-2 × 10-2. The lack of long-wavelength postseismic relaxation suggests viscosities in the ductile lithosphere of greater than ∼2 × 1019 Pa s, and an examination of the tectonic geomorphology in the region identifies ways in which similar fault systems can be identified before they rupture in future earthquakes. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

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