We have compared aftershock patterns following several moderate to large earthquakes with the corresponding distributions of coseismic slip obtained from previous analyses of the recorded strong ground motion and teleseismic waveforms. Well-located aftershock hypocenters are projected onto the main shock fault plane, and their positions are examined relative to the zones of coseismic displacement indicated by the estimated distributions of main shock slip. We also examine the aftershock focal mechanisms, when these data are available, in an attempt to identify possible patterns of secondary faulting within the aftershock zone.
Our results are consistent with a hypothesis of aftershock occurrence that requires a secondary redistribution of stress following primary failure on the earthquake fault. Aftershocks following the earthquakes examined in this study occur mostly outside of or near the edges of the source areas indicated by the patterns of main shock slip. The spatial distribution of aftershocks reflects either a continuation of slip in the outer regions of the areas of maximum coseismic displacement or the activation of subsidiary faults within the volume surrounding the boundaries of main shock rupture.