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Journal Articles Nature Geoscience Year : 2013

Andean structural control on interseismic coupling in the North Chile subduction zone

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Abstract

Segmentation can influence the extent of earthquake rupture and event magnitude: large megathrust earthquakes result from total rupture of relatively continuous segments of the subduction interface. Segmentation is attributed to variations in the frictional properties of the seismogenic zone or to topographic features on the down-going plate. Structures in the overriding plate may also influence segmentation, but their importance has been dismissed. Here, we investigate the links between interface segmentation at the North Chile seismic gap and a crustal-scale fault structure in the overriding plate that forms a coastal scarp of about 1km in height. We use satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) data to measure interseismic surface deformation between 2003 and 2009 and compare the deformation with rupture extent during well-documented earthquakes. From these data we infer the degree of coupling and segmentation at depth. We find that along a 500-km-long segment, the base of the strongly coupled seismogenic zone correlates with the line of the surface coastal scarp and follows the outline of the Mejillones Peninsula. This correlation implies that large-scale structures in the overriding plate can influence the frictional properties of the seismogenic zone at depth. We therefore suggest that the occurrence of megathrust earthquakes in northern Chile is controlled by the surface structures that build Andean topography.
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Dates and versions

insu-03581785 , version 1 (20-02-2022)

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Marta Béjar-Pizarro, Anne Socquet, Rolando Armijo, Daniel Carrizo, Jeff Genrich, et al.. Andean structural control on interseismic coupling in the North Chile subduction zone. Nature Geoscience, 2013, 6, pp.462-467. ⟨10.1038/ngeo1802⟩. ⟨insu-03581785⟩
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