Abstract

This article presents evidence for the channeling of strain energy released by the Ms = 7.4 Landers, California, earthquake within the eastern California shear zone (ECSZ). We document an increase in seismicity levels during the 22-hr period starting with the Landers earthquake and culminating 22 hr later with the Ms = 5.4 Little Skull Mountain (LSM), Nevada, earthquake. We evaluate the completeness of regional seismicity catalogs during this period and find that the continuity of post-Landers strain release within the ECSZ is even more pronounced than is evident from the catalog data. We hypothesize that regional-scale connectivity of faults within the ECSZ and LSM region is a critical ingredient in the unprecedented scale and distribution of remotely triggered earthquakes and geodetically manifest strain changes that followed the Landers earthquake. The viability of static strain changes as triggering agents is tested using numerical models. Modeling results illustrate that regional-scale fault connectivity can increase the static strain changes by approximately an order of magnitude at distances of at least 280 km, the distance between the Landers and LSM epicenters. This is possible for models that include both a network of connected faults that slip “sympathetically” and realistic levels of tectonic prestrain. Alternatively, if dynamic strains are a more significant triggering agent than static strains, ECSZ structure may still be important in determining the distribution of triggered seismic and aseismic deformation.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.