Abstract

The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica directly overlies the seismogenic zone of the Middle America Trench, making it an ideal location for geophysical investigations of shallow subduction zone earthquake processes. As part of the collaborative Costa Rica Seismogenic Zone Experiment (crseize), a seismic network consisting of 20 land and 14 ocean-bottom seismometers recorded small magnitude local earthquakes along the Nicoya Peninsula from December 1999 to June 2001. Previous studies have used these data to compute local earthquake locations and 3D velocity structure to identify plate boundary seismicity and to investigate seismogenic behavior. Here we utilize waveform cross-correlation and clustering techniques in an attempt to improve earthquake relocations and determine first-motion focal mechanisms to validate, refine, and expand on existing models. Due to the high quality of the original locations and the small cross-correlation P-wave arrival time adjustments, large differences between the previously determined and the cross-correlated earthquake locations are not observed. However, focal mechanism determinations using cross-correlated P waveforms are significantly enhanced. Approximately 90% of the focal mechanisms computed for events previously identified as interplate earthquakes are consistent with underthrusting. Focal mechanisms for continental intraplate events indicate dextral strike-slip motion in the central region and normal faulting at the southern tip of the peninsula. These motions may be associated with oblique convergence and seamount subduction, respectively. Within the subducting plate, steep P and T axes of earthquakes below 50 km depth are consistent with unbending of the slab.

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