Abstract

Regional distance surface waves are used to study the source parameters for moderate-size aftershocks of the 25 April 1992 Petrolia earthquake sequence. The Cascadia subduction zone had been relatively seismically inactive until the onset of the mainshock (Ms = 7.1). This underthrusting event establishes that the southern end of the North America-Gorda plate boundary is seismogenic. It was followed by two separate and distinct large aftershocks (Ms = 6.6 for both) occurring at 07:41 and 11:41 on 26 April, as well as thousands of other small aftershocks. Many of the aftershocks following the second large aftershock had magnitudes in the range of 4.0 to 5.5. Using intermediate-period surface-wave spectra, we estimate focal mechanisms and depths for one foreshock and six of the larger aftershocks (Md = 4.0 to 5.5). These seven events can be separated into two groups based on temporal, spatial, and principal stress orientation characteristics. Within two days of the mainshock, four aftershocks (Md = 4 to 5) occurred within 4 hr of each other that were located offshore and along the Mendocino fault. These four aftershocks comprise one group. They are shallow, thrust events with northeast-trending P axes. We interpret these aftershocks to represent internal compression within the North American accretionary prism as a result of Gorda plate subduction. The other three events compose the second group. The shallow, strike-slip mechanism determined for the 8 March foreshock (Md = 5.3) may reflect the right-lateral strike-slip motion associated with the interaction between the northern terminus of the San Andreas fault system and the eastern terminus of the Mendocino fault. The 10 May aftershock (Md = 4.1), located on the coast and north of the Mendocino triple junction, has a thrust fault focal mechanism. This event is shallow and probably occurred within the accretionary wedge on an imbricate thrust. A normal fault focal mechanism is obtained for the 5 June aftershock (Md = 4.8), located offshore and just north of the Mendocino fault. This event exhibits a large component of normal motion, representing internal failure within a rebounding accretionary wedge. These two aftershocks and the foreshock have dissimilar locations in space and time, but they do share a north-northwest oriented P axis.

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