Abstract

We calculated seismic moment rates from crustal earthquake information for the upper Cook Inlet region, including Anchorage, Alaska, for the 30 yr prior to and 36 yr following the 1964 Great Alaska earthquake. Our results suggest over a factor of 1000 decrease in seismic moment rate (in units of dyne centimeters per year) following the 1964 mainshock. We used geologic information on structures within the Cook Inlet basin to estimate a regional geologic moment rate, assuming the structures extend to 30 km depth and have near-vertical dips. The geologic moment rates could underestimate the true rates by up to 70% since it is difficult determine the amount of horizontal offset that has occurred along many structures within the basin. Nevertheless, the geologic moment rate is only 3-7 times lower than the pre-1964 seismic moment rate, suggesting the 1964 mainshock has significantly slowed regional crustal deformation. If we compare the geologic moment rate to the post-1964 seismic moment rate, the moment rate deficit over the past 36 yr is equivalent to a moment magnitude 6.6-7.0 earthquake. These observed differences in moment rates highlight the difficulty in using seismicity in the decades following a large megathrust earthquake to adequately characterize long-term crustal deformation.

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