On April 9, 2001 a Mw 6.7 earthquake occurred offshore of the Chilean coast close to the intersection of the subducting Juan Fernández Ridge (JFR) and the trench near 33°S. The mainshock as well as an unprecedented number of aftershocks were recorded on regional broad-band and short-period seismic networks. We obtained a regional moment tensor solution of the mainshock that indcates a tensional focal mechanism consistent with the Harvard CMT solution. Based on waveform modeling and relocation, the depth of the mainshock was found to be 10-12 km. We relocated 142 aftershocks, which are strongly clustered and restricted to 10-30 km in depth. The seismicity distribution indicates a conjugate normal fault system extending into the lithospheric mantle that correlates with ridge-parallel fractures observed by previous seismic and bathymetric surveys. In conjunction with the historic regional distribution of outer-rise and large interplate seismicity, our results indicate that, with the exception of anomalously large thrust events, preexisting fractures associated with large bathymetric features like ridges have to exist to allow the generation of outer-rise seismicity along the Chilean margin. Hence, flexural bending and time-dependent interplate earthquakes can locally affect the nucleation of outer-rise events. The occurrence of the outer-rise seismicity in the oceanic mantle suggests the existence of lithospheric scale faults which might act as conduits to hydrate the subducting slab.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology