Abstract

Dynamic stresses associated with crustal surface waves with 15–30-sec periods and peak amplitudes <1 MPa are capable of triggering seismicity at sites remote from the generating mainshock under appropriate conditions. Coulomb failure models based on a frictional strength threshold offer one explanation for instances of rapid-onset triggered seismicity that develop during the surface-wave peak dynamic stressing. Evaluation of the triggering potential of surface-wave dynamic stresses acting on critically stressed faults using a Mohr’s circle representation together with the Coulomb failure criteria indicates that Love waves should have a higher triggering potential than Rayleigh waves when incident on vertical, strike-slip faults. That (1) the onset of triggered seismicity often appears to begin during the Rayleigh wave rather than the earlier-arriving Love wave, (2) vertical strike-slip faults pervade the crust in most tectonic regimes, and (3) Love-wave amplitudes typically exceed those for Rayleigh waves suggests that the explanation for rapid-onset dynamic triggering may not reside solely with a simple static-threshold friction mode. The results also indicate that thrust faults should be more susceptible to dynamic triggering by Rayleigh-wave stresses than normal faults in the shallow seismogenic crust (<5 km), while the reverse should be true in the lower seismogenic crust (>5 km). The latter is consistent with the observation that extensional or transtensional tectonic regimes are more susceptible to remote triggering by Rayleigh-wave dynamic stresses than compressional or transpressional regimes. Locally elevated pore pressures may have a role in the observed prevalence of dynamic triggering in extensional regimes and geothermal/volcanic systems.

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