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Coulomb stress transfer and modeled permanent vertical surface deformation from the August 2011, Mineral, Virginia, earthquake

By
Lisa Schleicher Walsh
Lisa Schleicher Walsh
Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
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Laurent G.J. Montési
Laurent G.J. Montési
Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
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Aaron J. Martin
Aaron J. Martin
Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2015

Occurring only 13 months apart, the moment magnitude, Mw 3.4 Germantown, Maryland (16 July 2010), and Mw 5.8 Mineral, Virginia (23 August 2011), earthquakes rocked the U.S. national capital region, drawing renewed attention to the occurrence of intraplate seismicity in the Mid-Atlantic region of the eastern United States. We model the Coulomb stress transferred by these earthquakes to fault zones in the Mid-Atlantic region that were active during the Cenozoic. In most cases, the Mineral earthquake brought these preexisting Cenozoic faults further from failure. This unloading, like all changes in stress located more than 30 km from the epicenter, was very small (~1–3 mbar) and therefore unlikely to affect the occurrence of earthquakes at the regional scale. Between 30 and 15 km away, however, the maximum Coulomb failure stress change ranged one to three orders of magnitude greater (~0.05–6 bar), levels on par with the stress changes that triggered historical earthquakes in California. The Mineral earthquake generated an increase in Coulomb failure stress of ~0.5 bar 10 km from the rupture, ~5 bar 5 km from the rupture, and ~20 bar at the edge of the rupture on receiver faults oriented like the mainshock. The geographic location of the aftershock-defined Northwest fault in the epicentral region may be explained by Coulomb stress transfer from the mainshock. Elastic dislocation modeling of surface deformation caused by the Mineral earthquake indicates a maximum of ~7 cm of permanent vertical surface displacement directly above the center of the rupture.

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GSA Special Papers

The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America

J. Wright Horton, Jr.
J. Wright Horton, Jr.
U.S. Geological Survey, MS 926A, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
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Martin C. Chapman
Martin C. Chapman
Department of Geosciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
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Russell A. Green
Russell A. Green
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (MC 0105), 120B Patton Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 750 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
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The Geological Society of America
Volume
509
ISBN print:
9780813725093
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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