Interactions Between Strike-slip Earthquakes and the Subduction Interface near the Mendocino Triple Junction

Jianhua Gong, & Jeff J. McGuire

Submitted August 10, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7471, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #215

The interactions between the North American, Pacific, and Gorda plates at the Mendocino Triple Junction (MTJ) create one of the most seismically active regions in North America. The earthquakes rupture all three plate boundaries but also include considerable intraplate seismicity reflecting the strong internal deformation of the Gorda plate. Understanding the stress levels that drive these ruptures and estimating the locking state of the subduction interface are especially important topics for regional earthquake hazard assessment. However owing to the lack of offshore seismic and geodetic instruments, the rupture process of only a few large earthquakes near the MTJ have been studied in detail and the locking state of the subduction interface is not well constrained. First, we use the second moment inversion method to study the rupture process of the January 28, 2015 Mw 5.7 earthquake on the Mendocino transform fault that was unusually well recorded by both onshore and offshore strong motion instruments. We estimate the rupture dimension to be approximately 6 km by 3 km corresponding to a stress drop of ~ 7 MPa, a relatively small value compared to large ambient rock strength. Next we investigate the frictional state of the subduction interface by simulating the afterslip that would be expected there as a result of the stress changes from the 2015 earthquake and a 2010 Mw 6.5 intraplate eathquake within the subducted Gorda plate. We simulate afterslip scenarios for a range of depths of the downdip end of the locked zone defined as the transition to velocity strengthening friction and calculate the corresponding surface deformation expected at onshore GPS monuments. We can rule out a very shallow downdip limit owing to the lack of a detectable signal at onshore GPS stations following the 2010 earthquake. Our simulations indicate that the locking depth on the slab surface is at least 14 km, which suggests that the next M8 earthquake rupture will likely reach the coastline and strong shaking should be expected there.

Citation
Gong, J., & McGuire, J. J. (2017, 08). Interactions Between Strike-slip Earthquakes and the Subduction Interface near the Mendocino Triple Junction. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.


Related Projects & Working Groups
Stress and Deformation Over Time (SDOT)