Slip segmentation and slow rupture to the trench during the 2015, M(w)8.3 Illapel, Chile earthquake

TitleSlip segmentation and slow rupture to the trench during the 2015, M(w)8.3 Illapel, Chile earthquake
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMelgar D, Fan W.Y, Riquelme S., Geng JH, Liang C.R, Fuentes M., Vargas G., Allen R.M, Shearer PM, Fielding E.J
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2016/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0094-8276
Accession NumberWOS:000372056600004
KeywordsEarthquake Seismology; GPS; megathrust earthquake; subduction zone; subfuction zone; tsunami

The 2015 M(w)8.3 Illapel, Chile earthquake is the latest megathrust event on the central segment of that subduction zone. It generated strong ground motions and a large (up to 11m runup) tsunami which prompted the evacuation of more than 1 million people in the first hours following the event. Observations during recent earthquakes suggest that these phenomena can be associated with rupture on different parts of the megathrust. The deep portion generates strong shaking while slow, large slip on the shallow fault is responsible for the tsunami. It is unclear whether all megathrusts can have shallow slip during coseismic rupture and what physical properties regulate this. Here we show that the Illapel event ruptured both deep and shallow segments with substantial slip. We resolve a kinematic slip model using regional geophysical observations and analyze it jointly with teleseismic backprojection. We find that the shallow and deep portions of the megathrust are segmented and have fundamentally different behavior. We forward calculate local tsunami propagation from the resolved slip and find good agreement with field measurements, independently validating the slip model. These results show that the central portion of the Chilean subduction zone has accumulated a significant shallow slip deficit and indicates that, given enough time, shallow slip might be possible everywhere along the subduction zone.

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