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Intraplate Triggered Earthquakes: Observations and Interpretation

Hough, Susan E. and Seeber, Leonardo and Armbruster, John G. (2003) Intraplate Triggered Earthquakes: Observations and Interpretation. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 93 (5). pp. 2212-2221. ISSN 0037-1106. doi:10.1785/0120020055.

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We present evidence that at least two of the three 1811–1812 New Madrid, central United States, mainshocks and the 1886 Charleston, South Carolina, earthquake triggered earthquakes at regional distances. In addition to previously published evidence for triggered earthquakes in the northern Kentucky/southern Ohio region in 1812, we present evidence suggesting that triggered events might have occurred in the Wabash Valley, to the south of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and near Charleston, South Carolina. We also discuss evidence that earthquakes might have been triggered in northern Kentucky within seconds of the passage of surface waves from the 23 January 1812 New Madrid mainshock. After the 1886 Charleston earthquake, accounts suggest that triggered events occurred near Moodus, Connecticut, and in southern Indiana. Notwithstanding the uncertainty associated with analysis of historical accounts, there is evidence that at least three out of the four known M_w 7 earthquakes in the central and eastern United States seem to have triggered earthquakes at distances beyond the typically assumed aftershock zone of 1–2 mainshock fault lengths. We explore the possibility that remotely triggered earthquakes might be common in low-strain-rate regions. We suggest that in a low-strain-rate environment, permanent, nonelastic deformation might play a more important role in stress accumulation than it does in interplate crust. Using a simple model incorporating elastic and anelastic strain release, we show that, for realistic parameter values, faults in intraplate crust remain close to their failure stress for a longer part of the earthquake cycle than do faults in high-strain-rate regions. Our results further suggest that remotely triggered earthquakes occur preferentially in regions of recent and/or future seismic activity, which suggests that faults are at a critical stress state in only some areas. Remotely triggered earthquakes may thus serve as beacons that identify regions of long-lived stress concentration.

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Hough, Susan E.0000-0002-5980-2986
Additional Information:© 2003 by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 26 February 2002. We thank Greg Anderson, Won-Yong Kim, Geoff King, Debi Kilb, and John Ebel for reviews and discussions that greatly improved this manuscript. We also appreciatively acknowledge both the constructive criticisms from two anonymous reviewers and the editorial wisdom of Lorraine Wolf.
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140804-144016000
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Official Citation:Susan E. Hough, Leonardo Seeber, and John G. Armbruster Intraplate Triggered Earthquakes: Observations and Interpretation Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, October 2003, v. 93, p. 2212-2221, doi:10.1785/0120020055
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:47922
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:04 Aug 2014 21:47
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:51

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