Abstract

Seismological characteristics of the 18 March 2020 Mw 5.7 Magna, 31 March 2020 Mw 6.5 Stanley, and 15 May 2020 Mw 6.5 Monte Cristo Intermountain West earthquakes are largely consistent with expectations arising from observations accumulated over the 40  yr since implementation and subsequent growth of seismic networks in the broad region. Each occurred within a zone of relatively elevated seismicity, active faults, and geodetically observed strain accumulation. Aftershock distributions in each are confined primarily to depths of <15  km, and the total number of aftershocks correlates with the relative size of the events. In each case, the number per day decays exponentially in the days following the mainshock. None of the mainshocks was preceded by a foreshock sequence that delivered a plausible warning of the impending earthquakes. With respect to tectonics, each earthquake brings new insights. The Stanley and Monte Cristo earthquakes are at the margins of geodetically defined regions of right‐lateral transtension, though the pattern of faulting in each region is markedly different. The strike‐slip mechanism of the Stanley earthquake stands in contrast to the zone of normal major range bounding faults and historical earthquake ruptures that characterize the region in which it occurred and is the first relatively well instrumented event to show a rupture extending northward through the Trans‐Challis fault system. The Magna event has been interpreted to represent low‐angle normal slip near the base of a listric Wasatch range bounding fault (Pang et al., 2020). The east‐striking left‐lateral Monte Cristo earthquake within the Walker Lane is in contrast to the major northwest‐striking right‐lateral faults that dominate the area, though predictable from prior regional mapping. Surface rupture reportedly accompanied only the Monte Cristo earthquake, though its trace does not clearly follow the zone of aftershocks.

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