On the relationship between structure, morphology and large coseismic slip: A case study of the M w 8.8 Maule, Chile 2010 earthquake

Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo, Maksymowicz, Andrei, Lange, Dietrich, Grevemeyer, Ingo, Munoz-Linford, Pamela and Moscoso, Eduardo (2017) On the relationship between structure, morphology and large coseismic slip: A case study of the M w 8.8 Maule, Chile 2010 earthquake Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 478 . pp. 27-39. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.08.028.

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Supplementary data:



• 2-D velocity models at the highest slip patch during the Chilean 2010 Mw 8.8 earthquake.
• The highest slip patch correlates with large accretionary prisms.
• The highest slip patch correlates with low continental slope angles.
• A similar pattern is observed along the giant 1960 Mw 9.5 earthquake rupture area.


Subduction megathrust earthquakes show complex rupture behaviour and large lateral variations of slip. However, the factors controlling seismic slip are still under debate. Here, we present 2-D velocity-depth tomographic models across four trench-perpendicular wide angle seismic profiles complemented with high resolution bathymetric data in the area of maximum coseismic slip of the
8.8 Maule 2010 megathrust earthquake (central Chile, 34°–36°S). Results show an abrupt lateral velocity gradient in the trench-perpendicular direction (from 5.0 to 6.0 km/s) interpreted as the contact between the accretionary prism and continental framework rock whose superficial expression spatially correlates with the slope-shelf break. The accretionary prism is composed of two bodies: (1) an outer accretionary wedge (5–10 km wide) characterized by low seismic velocities of 1.8–3.0 km/s interpreted as an outer frontal prism of poorly compacted and hydrated sediment, and (2) the middle wedge (∼50 km wide) with velocities of 3.0–5.0 km/s interpreted as a middle prism composed by compacted and lithified sediment. In addition, the maximum average coseismic slip of the 2010 megathrust event is fairly coincident with the region where the accretionary prism and continental slope are widest (50–60 km wide), and the continental slope angle is low (<5°). We observe a similar relation along the rupture area of the largest instrumentally recorded Valdivia 1960 9.5 megathrust earthquake. For the case of the Maule event, published differential multibeam bathymetric data confirms that coseismic slip must have propagated up to ∼6 km landwards of the deformation front and hence practically the entire base of the middle prism. Sediment dewatering and compaction processes might explain the competent rheology of the middle prism allowing shallow earthquake rupture. In contrast, the outer frontal prism made of poorly consolidated sediment has impeded the rupture up to the deformation front as high resolution seismic reflection and multibeam bathymetric data have not showed evidence for new deformation in the trench region.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000413380200003
Keywords: subduction zone earthquake, Chile, convergent margin, accretionary prism, Maule 2010 earthquake
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
Kiel University
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.08.028
ISSN: 0012-821X
Projects: SFB574, FONDECYT
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 12:37
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:51
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/39507

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