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Large Earthquakes and Creeping Faults

Ruth A. Harris

Published August 15, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7747, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #203

Most shallow continental crustal faults remain predominantly locked during the long periods of time between large earthquakes, however some slowly slip, or creep. The related microseismicity helps reveal faults that might not otherwise be observed, but there is also the question of whether or not the presence of fault creep prevents large earthquakes, or if they do occur, how these large earthquakes behave compared to similar-sized events on locked faults. I show that well-recorded creeping fault earthquakes of up to magnitude 6.6 that have occurred in shallow continental regions produce similar fault-surface rupture areas and similar peak ground shaking as their locked fault counterparts of the same earthquake magnitude. The behavior of much larger earthquakes on shallow creeping continental faults is less well known, because there is a dearth of comprehensive observations. For more information about this topic, and for a review of creeping faults in active-tectonic shallow continental regions, please also see the open-access review article: Harris, R.A., Large earthquakes and creeping faults, Reviews of Geophysics, 2017.

Key Words
fault creep, earthquakes, earthquake gates, seismic moment, ground motions

Harris, R. A. (2017, 08). Large Earthquakes and Creeping Faults. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Fault and Rupture Mechanics (FARM)