Skip to main content

Advertisement

Propagation of the 2001–2002 silent earthquake and interplate coupling in the Oaxaca subduction zone, Mexico

Article metrics

Abstract

The aseismic slow slip event of 2001–2002 in Guerrero, Mexico, with an equivalent magnitude MW ~ 7.5, is the largest silent earthquake (SQ) among many recently recorded by GPS in different subduction zones (i.e. Japan, Alaska, Cascadia, New Zealand). The sub-horizontal and shallow plate interface in Central Mexico is responsible for specific conditions for the ~100 km long extended transient zone where the SQs develop from ~80 to ~190 km inland from the trench. This wide transient zone and relatively large slow slips of 10 to 20 cm displacements on the subduction fault result in noticeable surface displacements of 5–6 cm during the SQs. Continuous GPS stations allow one to trace the propagation of SQs, and to estimate their arrival time, duration and geometric attenuation. These propagation parameters must be accounted in order to locate source of slow slips events and to understand the triggering effect that they have on large subduction earthquakes. We use long-baseline tiltmeter data to define new time limits (onset and duration) for the SQs and continuous records from 8 GPS stations to determine the propagation of the 2001–2002 SQ in Central Mexico. Data from the CAYA and IGUA GPS stations, separated by ~170 km and located along the profile perpendicular to the trench, are used to determine that the surface deformation from the 2001–2002 SQ started almost instantaneously. It propagated parallel to the coast at ~2 km/day with an exponential attenuation of the horizontal surface displacement and a linear decrease of its duration with distance. Campaign data obtained yearly from 2001 to 2005 at the Oaxaca GPS network have been modeled according to a propagation of the 2001–2002 SQ step-like displacement anomaly. This modeling shows that the SQ ceased gradually in the central part of the Oaxaca segment of the subduction zone (west of Puerto Angel, PUAN) and then it apparently triggered another SQ in SE Oaxaca (between PUAN and Salina Cruz, SACR). The estimated horizontal velocities for inter-event epochs at each GPS site are used to assess an average interplate coupling in the Central Oaxaca subduction zone.

References

  1. Altamimi, Z., P. Sillard, and C. Boucher, ITRF2000: A new release of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame for earth science applications, J. Geophys. Res., 107(B10), 2214, doi:10.1029/2001JB000561, 2002.

  2. Anderson, J., R. Quaas, S. Singh, J. Espinosa, A. Jiménez, J. Lermo, J. Cuenca, F. Sánchez-Sesma, R. Meli, M. Ordaz, S. Alcocer, B. López, L. Alcántara, E. Mena, and C. Javier, The Copala, Guerrero, Mexico, Earthquake of September 14, 1995 (MW = 7.4): A Preliminary Report, Seism. Res. Lett., SSA, 66(6), 11–39, 1995.

  3. Beavan, J., L. Wallace, and T. Hurst, Observation of an aseismic deformation episode above the northern Hikurangi margin subduction zone, New Zealand, EGS Geophysical Research Abstracts, 5, 04839, 2003.

  4. Boucher, C., Z. Altamimi, and P. Sillard, The 2000 International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF2000), Technical Note 31, IERS, 2003.

  5. Bravo, H., C. J. Rebollar, A. Uribe, and O. Jimenez, Geometry and state of stress of the Wadati-Benioff zone in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico, J. Geophys. Res., 109, B04307, doi:10.1029/2003JB002854, 2004.

  6. Cabral, E., F. Correa Mora, B. Marquez Azúa, and C. DeMets, A GPS study of the subduction interface beneath Oaxaca, Mexico, GEOS, Union Geofísica Mexicana, 23, 182, 2003.

  7. Clark, S. C., H. Frey, and H. H. Thomas, Satellite magnetic anomalies over subduction zones: the Aleutian Arc anomaly, Geophys. Res. Lett., 12, 41–44, 1985.

  8. De la Fuente Duch, M. F., M. Mena, and C. L. V. Aiken, Cartas Gravimétricas de la Republica Mexicana. I. Carta de anomalía Bouguer, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, 1994.

  9. DeMets, C., R. Gordon, D. Argus, and S. Stein, Effect of recent revisions to the geomagnetic time-scale on estimate of current plate motions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 2191–2194, 1994.

  10. Douglas, A., J. Beavan, L. Wallace, and J. Townend, Slow slip on the northern Hikurangi subduction interface,New Zealand, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, 2005L16305, doi:10.1029/2005GL023607, 2005.

  11. Dragert, H., K. Wang, and T. S. James, A Silent Slip Event on the Deeper Cascadia Subduction Interface, Science, 292, 1525–1528, 2001.

  12. Freymueller, J. T., S. Hreinsdottir, C. Zweck, and P. J. Haeussler, The 1998–2002 deep megathrust slip event, Alaska, AGU 2002 Fall Meeting, G61A-0972, 2002.

  13. GEODAS vs. 4.1, Marine Trackline Geophysics, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2002.

  14. Heflin, M., W. Beriger, G. Blewitt, A. P. Freedman, K. Hurst, S. Lichten, J. Lindqwister, Y. Vigue, F. Webb, T. P. Yunck, and J. Zumberge, Global geodesy using GPS without fiducial sites, Geophys. Res. Lett., 19, 131–134, 1992.

  15. Hinze, W. J., R. R. B. Von Frese, M. B. Longacre, and L. W. Braile, Regional magnetic and gravity anomalies of South America, Geophys. Res. Lett., 9, 314–317, 1982.

  16. Hirose, H., K. Hirahara, F. Kimata, N. Fujii, and S. Miyazaki, A slow thrust slip event following the two 1996 Hyuganada earthquakes beneath the Bungo Channel, southwest Japan, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 3237–3240, 1999.

  17. Iglesias, A., S. K. Singh, A. R. Lowry, M. Santoyo, V. Kostoglodov, K. M. Larson, S. I. Franco-Sánchez, and T. Mikumo, The silent earthquake of 2002 in the Guerrero seismic gap, Mexico (MW = 7.4): inversion of slip on the plate interface and some implications, Geofisica Int., 43, 309–317, 2004.

  18. Kawasaki, I., Silent earthquakes occurring in a stable-unstable transition zone and implications for earthquake prediction, Earth Planets Space, 56, 813–821, 2004.

  19. Kostoglodov, V. and W. Bandy, Seismotectonic constraints on the convergence rate between the Rivera and North American plates, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 17,977–17,989, 1995.

  20. Kostoglodov, V. and L. Ponce, Relationship between subduction and seismicity in the Mexican part of the Middle America Trench, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 729–742, 1994.

  21. Kostoglodov, V., W. Bandy, J. Domínguez, and M. Mena, Gravity and seismicity over the Guerrero seismic gap, Mexico, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23, 3385–3388, 1996.

  22. Kostoglodov, V., R. Bilham, J. A. Santiago, V. Manea, M. Manea, and V. R. Hernandez, Long-baseline fluid tiltmeter for seismotectonic studies of Mexican subduction zone, Geofísica Internacional, 41(1), 11–25, 2002.

  23. Kostoglodov, V., S. K. Singh, J. A. Santiago, S. I. Franco, K. M. Larson, A. R. Lowry, and R. Bilham, A large silent earthquake in the Guerrero seismic gap, Mexico, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1807, 2003.

  24. Larson, K., V. Kostoglodov, A. Lowry, W. Hutton, O. Sanchez, K. Hudnut, and G. Suarez, Crustal Deformation Measurements in Guerrero, Mexico, J. Geophys. Res., 109(B4), B04409 10.1029/2003JB002843, 2004.

  25. Lichten, S. and J. Border, Strategies for high precision Global Positioning System orbit determination, J. Geophys. Res., 92, 12,751–12,762, 1987.

  26. Lowry, A. R., K. M. Larson, V. Kostoglodov, and R. Bilham, Transient slip on the subduction interface in Guerrero, southern Mexico, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 3753–3756, 2001.

  27. Manea, V. C., M. Manea, V. Kostoglodov, C. A. Currie, and G. Sewell, Thermal structure, coupling and metamorphism in the Mexican subduction zone beneath Guerrero, Geophys. J. Int., 158, 775–784, 2004.

  28. Mao, A., C. G. A. Harrison, and T. H. Dixon, Noise in GPS coordinate time series, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 2797–2816, 1999.

  29. Marquez-Azua B. and C. DeMets, Crustal velocity field of Mexico from continuous GPS measurements, 1993 to June 2001: Implications for the neotectonics of Mexico, J. Geophys. Res., 108(B9), B092450 10.1029/2002JB002241, 2003.

  30. Melbourne, T. I., W. M. Szeliga, M. M. Miller, and V. M. Santillan, Extent and duration of the 2003 Cascadia slow earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L04301, doi:10.1029/2004GL021790, 2005.

  31. Miller, M. M., T. I. Melbourne, D. J. Johnson, and W. Q. Sumner, Periodic slow earthquakes from the Cascadia subduction zone, Science, 295, 2423, 2002.

  32. Nagata, T., Reduction of geomagnetic data and interpretation of anomalies, in The Earth’s Crust and Upper Mantle Geophysical Monograh, edited by P. J. Hart, American Geophysical Union, 13, pp. 391–398, 1969.

  33. Ozawa, S., M. Murakami, M. Kaidzu, T. Tada, T. Sagiya, Y. Hatanaka, H. Yarai, and T. Nishimura, Detection and Monitoring of Ongoing Aseismic Slip in the Tokai Region, Central Japan, Science, 298, 1009–1010, 2002.

  34. Pardo, M. and G. Suárez, Shape of the subducted Rivera and Cocos plates in southern Mexico: Seismic and tectonic implications, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 12357–12373, 1995.

  35. Sagiya, T., Interplate Coupling in the Kanto District, Central Japan, and the Boso Peninsula Silent Earthquake in May 1996, PAGEOPH, 161(11-12), 2327–2342, 2004.

  36. Sagiya, T. and S. Ozawa, Anomalous transient deformation and silent earthquakes along the Nankai Trough subduction zones, Seismol. Res. Lett., 73(2), 234–235, 2002.

  37. Savage, J. C., A dislocation model of strain accumulation and release at a subduction zone, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 4984–4996, 1983.

  38. Singh, S. K., J. Havskov, and L. Astiz, Seismic gaps and recurrence periods of large earthquakes along the Mexican subduction zone, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 71(3), 827–843, 1981.

  39. Singh, S. K., M. Rodríguez, and L. Esteva, Statistics of small earthquakes and frequency of occurrence of large earthquakes along the Mexican subduction zone, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 73(6), 1779–1796, 1983.

  40. Singh, S. K., M. Ordaz, L. Alcantara, N. Shapiro, V. Kostoglodov, J. F. Pacheco, S. Alcocer, C. Gutierrez, R. Quaas, T. Mikumo, E. Ovando, J. Aguirre, D. Almora, J. G. Anderson, M. Ayala, C. Javier, G. Castro, R. Duran, G. Espitia, J. Estrada, E. Guevara, J. Lermo, B. Lopez, O. Lopez, M. Macias, E. Mena, M. Ortega, C. Perez, J. Perez, M. Romo, M. Ramirez, C. Reyes, R. Ruiz, H. Sandoval, M. Torres, E. Vazquez, R. Vazquez, J. M. Velasco, and J. Ylizaturri, The Oaxaca earthquake of 30 September 1999 (MW = 7.5); a normal-faulting event in the subducted Cocos plate, Seism. Res. Lett., 71, 67–79, 2000.

  41. Suarez, G., T. Monfret, G. Wittlinger, and C. David, Geometry of subduction and depth of the seismogenic zone in the Guerrero gap, Mexico, Nature, 345, 336–338, 1990.

  42. Thomas, H. H., Petrologic model of the northern Mississippi Embayment based on satellite magnetic and ground based geophysical data, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 70, 115–120, 1984.

  43. Torres-Zamudio, A., El campo gravimétrico y la estructura de la zona de subducción en Oaxaca, Mexico, B.S.-Thesis, Escuela Superior de Ingeniería y Arquitectura, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, pp. 89, 2002.

  44. Vasicek, J. M., H. V. Frey, and H. H. Thomas, Satellite magnetic anomalies and the Middle America Trench, Tectonophysics, 154, 19–24, 1988.

  45. Wang, K. and T. Dixon, “Coupling” Semantics and Science in Earthquake Research, Eos Trans. AGUv, 85(18), 4 May, 2004.

  46. Yoshioka, S., T. Mikumo, V. Kostoglodov, K. M. Larson, A. R. Lowry, and S. K. Singh, Interplate coupling and a recent aseismic slow slip event in the Guerrero seismic gap of the Mexican subduction zone, as deduced from GPS data inversion using a Bayesian information criterion, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 146, 513–530, 2004.

  47. Zumberge, J. F., F. H. Webb, M. B. Heflin, D. C. Jefferson, and M. M. Watkins, Precise point positioning for the efficient and robust analysis of GPS data from large networks, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 5005–5017, 1997.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to S. I. Franco.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Franco, S.I., Kostoglodov, V., Larson, K.M. et al. Propagation of the 2001–2002 silent earthquake and interplate coupling in the Oaxaca subduction zone, Mexico. Earth Planet Sp 57, 973–985 (2005) doi:10.1186/BF03351876

Download citation

Key words

  • Subduction
  • silent earthquakes
  • propagation
  • coupling ratio
  • GPS
  • Mexico