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Dual megathrust slip behaviors of the 2014 Iquique earthquake sequence

  • Author(s): Meng, L
  • Huang, H
  • Bürgmann, R
  • Ampuero, JP
  • Strader, A
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2014 Elsevier B.V. The transition between seismic rupture and aseismic creep is of central interest to better understand the mechanics of subduction processes. A Mw 8.2 earthquake occurred on April 1st, 2014 in the Iquique seismic gap of northern Chile. This event was preceded by a long foreshock sequence including a 2-week-long migration of seismicity initiated by a Mw 6.7 earthquake. Repeating earthquakes were found among the foreshock sequence that migrated towards the mainshock hypocenter, suggesting a large-scale slow-slip event on the megathrust preceding the mainshock. The variations of the recurrence times of the repeating earthquakes highlight the diverse seismic and aseismic slip behaviors on different megathrust segments. The repeaters that were active only before the mainshock recurred more often and were distributed in areas of substantial coseismic slip, while repeaters that occurred both before and after the mainshock were in the area complementary to the mainshock rupture. The spatiotemporal distribution of the repeating earthquakes illustrates the essential role of propagating aseismic slip leading up to the mainshock and illuminates the distribution of postseismic afterslip. Various finite fault models indicate that the largest coseismic slip generally occurred down-dip from the foreshock activity and the mainshock hypocenter. Source imaging by teleseismic back-projection indicates an initial down-dip propagation stage followed by a rupture-expansion stage. In the first stage, the finite fault models show an emergent onset of moment rate at low frequency (<0.1 Hz), while back-projection shows a steady increase of high frequency power (>0.5 Hz). This indicates frequency-dependent manifestations of seismic radiation in the low-stress foreshock region. In the second stage, the rupture expands in rich bursts along the rim of a semi-elliptical region with episodes of re-ruptures, suggesting delayed failure of asperities. The high-frequency rupture remains within an area of local high trench-parallel gravity anomaly (TPGA), suggesting the presence of subducting seamounts that promote high-frequency generation. Our results highlight the complexity of the interactions between large-scale aseismic slow-slip and dynamic ruptures of megathrust earthquakes.

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