Seismicity near the slip maximum of the 1960 Mw 9.5 Valdivia earthquake (Chile): Plate interface lock and reactivation of the Valdivia Fracture Zone.

Dzierma, Yvonne, Thorwart, Martin, Rabbel, Wolfgang, Siegmund, C., Comte, D., Bataille, K., Iglesia, P. and Prezzi, C. (2012) Seismicity near the slip maximum of the 1960 Mw 9.5 Valdivia earthquake (Chile): Plate interface lock and reactivation of the Valdivia Fracture Zone. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 117 . B06312. DOI 10.1029/2011JB008914.

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Understanding the processes behind subduction-related hazards is an important responsibility and major challenge for the Earth sciences. Few areas demonstrate this as clearly as south-central Chile, where some of the largest earthquakes in human history have occurred. We present the first observation of local seismicity in the Villarrica region (39°–40°S), based on a temporary local network of 55 stations installed from the Chilean coast into the Argentinian back-arc for one year. While consistent with the Chilean national catalog (SSN), our results allow us to observe smaller magnitudes with a completeness of about 2.0 and image the geometry of the Wadati-Benioff Zone from the Chile Trench down to 200 km. Offshore, a gap in interplate seismicity is observed in the region of the 1960 Valdivia earthquake slip. Above the interface, two offshore seismicity clusters possibly indicate ongoing stress relaxation. In the subducting Nazca Plate, we find a prominent seismicity cluster along the extrapolated trace of the oceanic Valdivia Fracture Zone (VFZ). The seismicity cluster is observed between 70 and 130 km depth and comprises mainly strike-slip events. It indicates weakening and reactivation of the major VFZ by dehydration of oceanic crust and mantle. Interpreting the subducted VFZ section as a localized reservoir of potential fluid release offers an explanation for the Villarrica volcanic complex that is located above the reactivated VFZ and shows the highest volcanic activity in South America. Crustal seismicity is observed near Puyehue volcano, which recently started to erupt (June 2011).
Key Points:
- We observe local seismicity near the 1960 Valdivia maximum slip region
- The subducted Valdivia Fracture Zone is reactivated by fluid release
- The seismogenic zone is free of seismicity; events occur at faults and volcanoes

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000305639800002
Keywords: Geophysics; earthquake, seismicity, plate coupling, Chile; POSTSEISMIC DEFORMATION; NICARAGUA; ANDES; TOMOGRAPHY; VOLCANISM; FAULT; LINK; ARC; 1960 maximum slip; Puyehue volcano; Valdivia fault zone; Villarrica volcano; local seismicity south central Chile
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > SFB 574 > A2
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2011JB008914
ISSN: 0148-0227
Contribution Number:
SFB 574215
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 08:55
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 22:42

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