abstract

Since a series of moderate earthquakes near Fairbanks, Alaska in 1967, the “Fairbanks seismic zone” has maintained a consistently high level of seismicity interspersed with sporadic earthquake swarms. Five swarms occurring since 1970 demonstrate that tightly compacted centers of activity have tended to migrate away from the epicentral area of the 1967 earthquakes. Comparative b-coefficients of the first four swarms indicate that they occurred under different relative stress conditions than the last episode, which exhibited a higher b-value and was, in fact, a main shock of magnitude 4.6 with a rapidly decaying aftershock sequence. This last recorded sequence in February 1979 was an extension to greater depths along a lineal seismic zone whose first recorded activation occurred during a swarm two years earlier. Focal mechanism solutions indicate a north-south orientation of the greatest principal stress axis, σ1, in the area. A dislocation process related to crustal spreading between strands of a right-lateral fault, similar to that which has been inferred for southern California, is suggested.

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