Abstract

We investigate the existence of a mechanism of static stress triggering driven by the interaction of normal faults in the Middle American subduction zone and strike-slip faults in the El Salvador volcanic arc. The local geology points to a large strike-slip fault zone, the El Salvador fault zone, as the source of several destructive earthquakes in El Salvador along the volcanic arc. We modeled the Coulomb failure stress (CFS) change produced by the June 1982 and January 2001 subduction events on planes parallel to the El Salvador fault zone. The results have broad implications for future risk management in the region, as they suggest a causative relationship between the position of the normal-slip events in the subduction zone and the strike-slip events in the volcanic arc. After the February 2001 event, an important area of the El Salvador fault zone was loaded with a positive change in Coulomb failure stress (>0.15 MPa). This scenario must be considered in the seismic hazard assessment studies that will be carried out in this area.

You do not currently have access to this article.