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A unified perspective of seismicity and fault coupling along the San Andreas Fault

Liu, Yuan-Kai and Ross, Zachary E. and Cochran, Elizabeth S. and Lapusta, Nadia (2022) A unified perspective of seismicity and fault coupling along the San Andreas Fault. Science Advances, 8 (8). Art. No. eabk1167. ISSN 2375-2548. PMCID PMC8865773. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abk1167.

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The San Andreas Fault (SAF) showcases the breadth of possible earthquake sizes and occurrence behavior; in particular, the central SAF is a microcosm of such diversity. This section also exhibits the spectrum of fault coupling from locked to creeping. Here, we show that the observations of aseismic slip, temporal clustering of seismicity, and spatial variations in earthquake size distributions are tightly connected. Specifically, the creep rate along the central SAF is shown to be directly proportional to the fraction of nonclustered earthquakes for the period 1984–2020. This relationship provides a unified perspective of earthquake phenomenology along the SAF, where lower coupling manifests in weaker temporal clustering, with repeating earthquakes as an end-member. This new paradigm provides additional justification for characterizing the northwest ∼75 kilometers of the creeping segment as a transition zone, with potential implications for seismic hazard.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemNorthern California Earthquake Data Center CentralArticle
Liu, Yuan-Kai0000-0003-4032-9444
Ross, Zachary E.0000-0002-6343-8400
Cochran, Elizabeth S.0000-0003-2485-4484
Lapusta, Nadia0000-0001-6558-0323
Additional Information:© 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Received: 22 June 2021. Accepted: 30 December 2021. We thank R. Jolivet and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments. Figure 1 was produced with the Generic Mapping Tools. The study was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey. Author contributions: Z.E.R. and Y.-K.L. conceived the idea of this study. Y.-K.L. constructed the earthquake catalog, conducted the analysis, and wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the conceptualization, interpretation, and editing of the article. Data and materials availability: The seismicity catalog used in this study is available at NCEDC (Northern California Earthquake Data Center at All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:8
PubMed Central ID:PMC8865773
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220223-919579000
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113546
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 Feb 2022 17:31
Last Modified:15 Mar 2022 19:49

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