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Stress triggering and the Canterbury earthquake sequence

Steacy, Sandy, Jimenez, Abigail and Holden, Caroline (2013) Stress triggering and the Canterbury earthquake sequence. Geophysical Journal International . pp. 1-8. [Journal article]

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URL: http://gji.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/ggt380?ijkey=08wlrYzIal2C4gB&keytype=ref

DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggt380


The Canterbury earthquake sequence, which includes the devastating Christchurch event of 2011 February, has to date led to losses of around 40 billion NZ dollars. The location and severity of the earthquakes was a surprise to most inhabitants as the seismic hazard model was dominated by an expected Mw > 8 earthquake on the Alpine fault and an Mw 7.5 earthquake on the Porters Pass fault, 150 and 80 km to the west of Christchurch. The sequence to date has included an Mw = 7.1 earthquake and 3 Mw ≥ 5.9 events which migrated from west to east. Here we investigate whether the later events are consistent with stress triggering and whether a simple stress map produced shortly after the first earthquake would have accurately indicated the regions where the subsequent activity occurred. We find that 100 per cent of M > 5.5 earthquakes occurred in positive stress areas computed using a slip model for the first event that was available within 10 d of its occurrence. We further find that the stress changes at the starting points of major slip patches of post-Darfield main events are consistent with triggering although this is not always true at the hypocentral locations. Our results suggest that Coulomb stress changes contributed to the evolution of the Canterbury sequence and we note additional areas of increased stress in the Christchurch region and on the Porters Pass fault.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Earthquake interaction, forecasting, and prediction; earthquake dynamics; seismicity and tectonics
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Environmental Sciences Research Institute
ID Code:27247
Deposited By: Mrs Linda Allen
Deposited On:25 Sep 2013 10:28
Last Modified:04 Oct 2017 16:04

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