A Caltech Library Service

Active 650-km Long Fault System and Xolapa Sliver in Southern Mexico

Kazachkina, Ekaterina and Kostoglodov, Vladimir and Cotte, Nathalie and Walpersdorf, Andrea and Ramirez-Herrera, Maria Teresa and Gaidzik, Krzysztof and Husker, Allen and Santiago, Jose Antonio (2020) Active 650-km Long Fault System and Xolapa Sliver in Southern Mexico. Frontiers in Earth Science, 8 . Art. No. 155. ISSN 2296-6463. doi:10.3389/feart.2020.00155.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] Archive (ZIP) - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


New estimates of long-term velocities of permanent GPS stations in Southern Mexico reveal that the geologically discernible ∼650-km long shear zone, which strikes parallel to the Middle America trench, is active. This left-lateral strike-slip, La Venta–Chacalapa (LVC) fault system, is apparently associated with a motion of the Xolapa terrain and at the present time is the northern boundary of a ∼110–160-km wide forearc sliver with a sinistral motion of 3–6 mm/year with respect to the North America plate. This sliver is the major tectonic feature in the Guerrero and Oaxaca regions, which accommodates most of the oblique component of the convergence between the Cocos and North America plates. Previous studies based purely on the moment tensor coseismic slips exceedingly overestimated the sliver inland extent and allocated its northern margin on or to the north of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. While the LVC fault system probably slips slowly over geologic scale time and there is not any historic evidence of large earthquakes on the fault so far, its seismic potential could be very high, assuming a feasible order of ∼10³ years recurrence cycle. A detailed analysis of long-term position time series of permanent GPS stations in the Guerrero and Oaxaca states, Southern Mexico discards previous models and provides clear evidence of an active LVC fault zone bounding the Xolapa forearc sliver. The southeastward motion of this sliver may have persisted for the last ∼8–10 Million year and played an important role in the tectonic evolution of the region.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Kostoglodov, Vladimir0000-0001-7169-3121
Cotte, Nathalie0000-0002-1596-0755
Husker, Allen0000-0003-1139-0502
Additional Information:© 2020 Kazachkina, Kostoglodov, Cotte, Walpersdorf, Ramirez-Herrera, Gaidzik, Husker and Santiago. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Received: 01 February 2020; Accepted: 27 April 2020; Published: 16 June 2020. Some of the GPS and seismological data are from the National Seismological Service of Mexico (SSN, The GPS data for the Oaxaca region were partly provided by Enrique Cabral Cano. Several GPS position time series for the Michoacan and Colima states of Mexico are in free access from the UNAVCO web site ( We thank Victor Cruz Atienza and Michel Campillo for helpful discussions. Several figures were generated with the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) software (Wessel and Smith, 1998). We thank Jorge Real Perez and Juan Payero for their efforts in collecting the data and maintenance of the Guerrero GPS network in very complicated field conditions of Southern Mexico. Data Availability Statement: All datasets generated for this study are included in the article/Supplementary Material. Author Contributions: EK carried out the main part of the study and wrote the manuscript. VK developed the main idea and wrote the manuscript. NC and AW participated in GPS data processing and analysis. MR-H and KG contributed to geomorphological interpretations. AH participated in project discussion and manuscript writing. JS managed the GPS network and provided the most of raw data used in this study. This research was supported by the UNAM PAPIIT IN109117, IN110514, and IN110519, CONACYT 178058, 284212, and 284365 grants. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PAPIIT)IN109117
Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PAPIIT)IN110514
Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PAPIIT)IN110519
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)UNSPECIFIED
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)178058
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)284212
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)284365
Subject Keywords:fault system, oblique subduction, sliver motion, tectonics, GPS, earthquake slip
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210518-123027355
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Kazachkina E, Kostoglodov V, Cotte N, Walpersdorf A, Ramirez-Herrera MT, Gaidzik K, Husker A and Santiago JA (2020) Active 650-km Long Fault System and Xolapa Sliver in Southern Mexico. Front. Earth Sci. 8:155. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.00155
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109179
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 May 2021 18:12
Last Modified:19 May 2021 18:12

Repository Staff Only: item control page