Abstract

Offshore seismicity at the Cascadia margin is poorly constrained because nearly all previous recordings of earthquakes were made using land‐based networks. We conducted earthquake monitoring off Vancouver Island in northern Cascadia using ocean‐bottom seismographs. Our results show that most of the offshore seismicity is concentrated along the Nootka fault zone. Otherwise seismicity is extremely low, with no earthquakes located along the shallow, seismogenic part of the megathrust. The lack of interplate seismicity may indicate complete healing and locking of the megathrust over three centuries after the great earthquake of 1700 and a somewhat lower degree of structure heterogeneity, such as subducting seamounts. Events along the Nootka fault zone occur over a 10–15 km depth range. This wide distribution and the previously reported overall moment release rate suggest that a significant part of deformation of this fault zone is aseismic. Several earthquakes beneath the continental shelf may be related to faults dividing tectonic terrains within the overriding plate.

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