A Caltech Library Service

GPS-derived interseismic fault locking along the Jalisco–Colima segment of the Mexico subduction zone

Cosenza-Muralles, B. and DeMets, C. and Márquez-Azúa, B. and Sánchez, O. and Stock, J. and Cabral-Cano, E. and McCaffrey, R. (2022) GPS-derived interseismic fault locking along the Jalisco–Colima segment of the Mexico subduction zone. Geophysical Journal International, 228 (3). pp. 2174-2197. ISSN 0956-540X. doi:10.1093/gji/ggab436.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] Archive (ZIP) (velocity fields used for this analysis) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Northeastward subduction of the oceanic Rivera and Cocos plates in western Mexico poses a poorly understood seismic hazard to the overlying areas of the North America plate. We estimate the magnitude and distribution of interseismic locking along the northern ∼500 km of the Mexico subduction zone, with a series of elastic half-space inversions that optimize the fits to the velocities of 57 GPS stations in western Mexico. All velocities were corrected for the co-seismic, afterslip and viscoelastic rebound effects of the 1995 Colima–Jalisco and 2003 Tecomán earthquakes. We explore the robustness of interseismic locking estimates to a variety of mantle Maxwell times that are required for the viscoelastic corrections, to the maximum permitted depth for locking of the subduction interface and to the location assigned to the Rivera–Cocos–North America plate triple junction offshore from western Mexico. The best-fitting locking solutions are associated with a maximum locking depth of 40 km, a triple junction location ∼50 km northwest of the Manzanillo Trough and a mantle Maxwell time of 15 yr (viscosity of 2 × 10¹⁹ Pa s). Checkerboard tests show that the locking distribution is best resolved at intermediate depths (10–40 km). All of our inversions define a gradual transition from strong locking (i.e. 70–100 per cent) of most (70 per cent) of the Rivera–North America subduction interface to strong but less uniform locking below the Manzanillo Trough, where oceanic lithosphere transitional between the Cocos and Rivera plate subducts, to weak to moderate locking (averaging 55 per cent) of the Michoacán segment of the Cocos–North America interface. Strong locking of the ∼125-km-long trench segment offshore from Puerto Vallarta and other developed coastal areas, where our modelling indicates an average annual elastic slip-rate deficit of ∼20 mm yr⁻¹, implies that ∼1.8 m of unrelieved plate slip has accrued since the segment last ruptured in 1932, sufficient for an M ∼ 8.0 earthquake.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemData and INEG data from 2001 to 2020
Cosenza-Muralles, B.0000-0002-4626-2757
DeMets, C.0000-0001-7460-1165
Sánchez, O.0000-0003-1683-0247
Stock, J.0000-0003-4816-7865
Cabral-Cano, E.0000-0002-9143-2401
McCaffrey, R.0000-0002-1291-3494
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 October 15. Received 2021 October 8; in original form 2021 January 29. We thank Jeffrey Freymueller, an anonymous reviewer and the associate editor for constructive suggestions. Support for this work during its various stages was provided by NSF grants EAR-9526419, EAR-9804905, EAR-9909321, EAR-0510553 and EAR-1114174; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This material is based on GPS data and services provided by the GAGE Facility, operated by UNAVCO, Inc. and by the TLALOCNet GPS network operated by Servicio de Geodesia Satelital (SGS; Cabral-Cano et al. 2018) at the Instituto de Geofísica-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). UNAVCO’s initial support for TLALOCNet (now part of NOTA) was performed under EAR-1338091 and is currently supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1724794. TLALOCNet and other GPS related operations from SGS have also been supported by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT) projects 253760, 256012 and 2017-01-5955, UNAM-Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PAPIIT) projects IN104213, IN111509, IN109315-3, IN104818-3, IN107321 and supplemental support from UNAM-Instituto de Geofísica. We are deeply grateful to all personnel from UNAVCO and SGS for station maintenance, data acquisition, IT support and data curation and distribution for these networks and in particular to the following individuals and institutions, whose hard work and resourcefulness were central to the success of this project: Bill Douglass, Neal Lord and Bill Unger at UW-Madison, Oscar Díaz-Molina and Luis Salazar-Tlaczani at SGS, John Galetzka, Adam Wallace, Shawn Lawrence, Sean Malloy and Chris Walls at UNAVCO, Jesus Pacheco-Martínez at Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes, personnel at the Universidad de Guadalajara at campus Guadalajara, Mascota and Ameca, Protección Civil de Jalisco, Universidad de Colima at campus Colima and campus El Naranjo, and Instituto de Biología-UNAM Estación Chamela. Most figures were produced using Generic Mapping Tools software (Wessel & Smith 1991). DATA AVAILABILITY. The raw GPS data that are the foundation of the velocity fields used for our analysis are in the public domain and available at, with the exception of sites COLI and INEG. Data from the GPS sites COLI and INEG for the period 1993–2001 were provided courtesy of Professor Bertha Márquez-Azúa of the University of Guadalajara ( COLI and INEG data from 2001 to 2020 were procured from The individual data set DOIs for the raw GPS time-series are referenced in CM21-I. The velocity fields used for this analysis are provided in the Supplementary Information for CM21-I.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of Wisconsin-MadisonUNSPECIFIED
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)253760
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)256012
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)2017-01-5955
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)IN104213
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)IN111509
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)IN109315-3
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)IN104818-3
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)IN107321
Subject Keywords:Plate motions; Earthquake hazards; Seismic cycle; Space geodetic surveys; Subduction zone processes
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220414-27889000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:B Cosenza-Muralles, C DeMets, B Márquez-Azúa, O Sánchez, J Stock, E Cabral-Cano, R McCaffrey, GPS-derived interseismic fault locking along the Jalisco–Colima segment of the Mexico subduction zone, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 228, Issue 3, March 2022, Pages 2174–2197,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114328
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:15 Apr 2022 14:48
Last Modified:15 Apr 2022 14:48

Repository Staff Only: item control page