Fluid migration and pore fluid pressure have been implicated in generating the transitional fault zone properties thought to be important for slow slip events (SSEs) in subduction zones. At the northern Hikurangi margin, New Zealand, overpressurized sediments spatially correlated with shallow SSEs are imaged downdip of subducted seamounts, providing an excellent environment to study the relationship between subducted oceanic relief, fluids, shallow SSEs, and related microseismicity. Using data from ocean-bottom seismometers, we detect “burst-type” repeating earthquakes coincident with tremor on an upper-plate fracture network above a subducted seamount. This activity occurred at the edge of a large, shallow SSE recorded offshore of Gisborne, New Zealand, in September–October 2014, but began days to weeks after the SSE and continued for nearly two months. We propose that during the large plate-boundary SSE, fluids migrated from the downdip overpressurized sediments into the fracture network, diverting aseismic slip to multiple faults in the upper plate. Thus, seamount subduction appears to play a key role in controlling the mechanics of shallow slow slip and microseismicity at the northern Hikurangi margin.

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