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Earthquake rupture below the brittle-ductile transition in continental lithospheric mantle

Prieto, Germán A. and Froment, Bérénice and Yu, Chunquan and Poli, Piero and Abercrombie, Rachel (2017) Earthquake rupture below the brittle-ductile transition in continental lithospheric mantle. Science Advances, 3 (3). Art. No. e1602642. ISSN 2375-2548. PMCID PMC5351985. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602642.

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Earthquakes deep in the continental lithosphere are rare and hard to interpret in our current understanding of temperature control on brittle failure. The recent lithospheric mantle earthquake with a moment magnitude of 4.8 at a depth of ~75 km in the Wyoming Craton was exceptionally well recorded and thus enabled us to probe the cause of these unusual earthquakes. On the basis of complete earthquake energy balance estimates using broadband waveforms and temperature estimates using surface heat flow and shear wave velocities, we argue that this earthquake occurred in response to ductile deformation at temperatures above 750°C. The high stress drop, low rupture velocity, and low radiation efficiency are all consistent with a dissipative mechanism. Our results imply that earthquake nucleation in the lithospheric mantle is not exclusively limited to the brittle regime; weakening mechanisms in the ductile regime can allow earthquakes to initiate and propagate. This finding has significant implications for understanding deep earthquake rupture mechanics and rheology of the continental lithosphere.

Item Type:Article
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Yu, Chunquan0000-0001-8681-8572
Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Submitted 26 October 2016; Accepted 3 February 2017; Published 15 March 2017. We thank W. P. Chen, P. Molnar, B. Hager, B. Schmandt, G. Beroza, and anonymous reviewers for fruitful discussions. We acknowledge U. Faul for help in temperature modeling. Funding: G.A.P. and P.P. was supported by the NSF (grant EAR-1521534). Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Data Services were funded through the Seismological Facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience and EarthScope proposal under the NSF cooperative agreement (EAR-1261681). Author contributions: G.A.P., B.F., R.A., and P.P. designed the study and processed the data. C.Y. and G.A.P. developed the temperature modeling. All authors discussed the results and participated in the writing of the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and /or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors. The IRIS Data Management Center was used to access waveforms and related metadata used here. The seismic data have been downloaded from the IRIS facility using the obspyDMT (57) software and processed using the multitaper algorithm (45).
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:continental lithosphere, rheology, earthquake sources, directivity, lithosphere, rupture mechanics
Issue or Number:3
PubMed Central ID:PMC5351985
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170403-081556777
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Official Citation:Earthquake rupture below the brittle-ductile transition in continental lithospheric mantle BY GERMÁN A. PRIETO, BÉRÉNICE FROMENT, CHUNQUAN YU, PIERO POLI, RACHEL ABERCROMBIE Science Advances 15 Mar 2017: Vol. 3, no. 3, e1602642 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602642
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75639
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 16:20
Last Modified:29 Mar 2022 16:00

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