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Nature ; 465(7294): 78-81, 2010 May 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20445628


Slip on a subduction megathrust can be seismic or aseismic, with the two modes of slip complementing each other in time and space to accommodate the long-term plate motions. Although slip is almost purely aseismic at depths greater than about 40 km, heterogeneous surface strain suggests that both modes of slip occur at shallower depths, with aseismic slip resulting from steady or transient creep in the interseismic and postseismic periods. Thus, active faults seem to comprise areas that slip mostly during earthquakes, and areas that mostly slip aseismically. The size, location and frequency of earthquakes that a megathrust can generate thus depend on where and when aseismic creep is taking place, and what fraction of the long-term slip rate it accounts for. Here we address this issue by focusing on the central Peru megathrust. We show that the Pisco earthquake, with moment magnitude M(w) = 8.0, ruptured two asperities within a patch that had remained locked in the interseismic period, and triggered aseismic frictional afterslip on two adjacent patches. The most prominent patch of afterslip coincides with the subducting Nazca ridge, an area also characterized by low interseismic coupling, which seems to have repeatedly acted as a barrier to seismic rupture propagation in the past. The seismogenic portion of the megathrust thus appears to be composed of interfingering rate-weakening and rate-strengthening patches. The rate-strengthening patches contribute to a high proportion of aseismic slip, and determine the extent and frequency of large interplate earthquakes. Aseismic slip accounts for as much as 50-70% of the slip budget on the seismogenic portion of the megathrust in central Peru, and the return period of earthquakes with M(w) = 8.0 in the Pisco area is estimated to be 250 years.

Nature ; 456(7222): 631-5, 2008 Dec 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19052626


The great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami of 2004 was a dramatic reminder of the importance of understanding the seismic and tsunami hazards of subduction zones. In March 2005, the Sunda megathrust ruptured again, producing an event of moment magnitude (M(w)) 8.6 south of the 2004 rupture area, which was the site of a similar event in 1861 (ref. 6). Concern was then focused on the Mentawai area, where large earthquakes had occurred in 1797 (M(w) = 8.8) and 1833 (M(w) = 9.0). Two earthquakes, one of M(w) = 8.4 and, twelve hours later, one of M(w) = 7.9, indeed occurred there on 12 September 2007. Here we show that these earthquakes ruptured only a fraction of the area ruptured in 1833 and consist of distinct asperities within a patch of the megathrust that had remained locked in the interseismic period. This indicates that the same portion of a megathrust can rupture in different patterns depending on whether asperities break as isolated seismic events or cooperate to produce a larger rupture. This variability probably arises from the influence of non-permanent barriers, zones with locally lower pre-stress due to the past earthquakes. The stress state of the portion of the Sunda megathrust that had ruptured in 1833 and 1797 was probably not adequate for the development of a single large rupture in 2007. The moment released in 2007 amounts to only a fraction both of that released in 1833 and of the deficit of moment that had accumulated as a result of interseismic strain since 1833. The potential for a large megathrust event in the Mentawai area thus remains large.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 103(52): 19673-7, 2006 Dec 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17170141


A long section of the Sunda megathrust south of the great tsunamigenic earthquakes of 2004 and 2005 is well advanced in its seismic cycle and a plausible candidate for rupture in the next few decades. Our computations of tsunami propagation and inundation yield model flow depths and inundations consistent with sparse historical accounts for the last great earthquakes there, in 1797 and 1833. Numerical model results from plausible future ruptures produce flow depths of several meters and inundation up to several kilometers inland near the most populous coastal cities. Our models of historical and future tsunamis confirm a substantial exposure of coastal Sumatran communities to tsunami surges. Potential losses could be as great as those that occurred in Aceh in 2004.

Desastres , Modelos Teóricos , Água do Mar/análise , Movimentos da Água , Cidades , Simulação por Computador , Desastres/economia , Indonésia
Science ; 312(5782): 1921-6, 2006 Jun 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-16809533


Continuously recording Global Positioning System stations near the 28 March 2005 rupture of the Sunda megathrust [moment magnitude (Mw) 8.7] show that the earthquake triggered aseismic frictional afterslip on the subduction megathrust, with a major fraction of this slip in the up-dip direction from the main rupture. Eleven months after the main shock, afterslip continues at rates several times the average interseismic rate, resulting in deformation equivalent to at least a M(w) 8.2 earthquake. In general, along-strike variations in frictional behavior appear to persist over multiple earthquake cycles. Aftershocks cluster along the boundary between the region of coseismic slip and the up-dip creeping zone. We observe that the cumulative number of aftershocks increases linearly with postseismic displacements; this finding suggests that the temporal evolution of aftershocks is governed by afterslip.

Nature ; 440(7080): 46-51, 2006 Mar 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-16511486


The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004 is the first giant earthquake (moment magnitude M(w) > 9.0) to have occurred since the advent of modern space-based geodesy and broadband seismology. It therefore provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the characteristics of one of these enormous and rare events. Here we report estimates of the ground displacement associated with this event, using near-field Global Positioning System (GPS) surveys in northwestern Sumatra combined with in situ and remote observations of the vertical motion of coral reefs. These data show that the earthquake was generated by rupture of the Sunda subduction megathrust over a distance of >1,500 kilometres and a width of <150 kilometres. Megathrust slip exceeded 20 metres offshore northern Sumatra, mostly at depths shallower than 30 kilometres. Comparison of the geodetically and seismically inferred slip distribution indicates that approximately 30 per cent additional fault slip accrued in the 1.5 months following the 500-second-long seismic rupture. Both seismic and aseismic slip before our re-occupation of GPS sites occurred on the shallow portion of the megathrust, where the large Aceh tsunami originated. Slip tapers off abruptly along strike beneath Simeulue Island at the southeastern edge of the rupture, where the earthquake nucleated and where an M(w) = 7.2 earthquake occurred in late 2002. This edge also abuts the northern limit of slip in the 28 March 2005 M(w) = 8.7 Nias-Simeulue earthquake.