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Published October 6, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Distribution of slip from 11 M_w > 6 earthquakes in the northern Chile subduction zone


We use interferometric synthetic aperture radar, GPS, and teleseismic data to constrain the relative location of coseismic slip from 11 earthquakes on the subduction interface in northern Chile (23°–25°S) between the years 1993 and 2000. We invert body wave waveforms and geodetic data both jointly and separately for the four largest earthquakes during this time period (1993 M_w 6.8; 1995 M_w 8.1; 1996 M_w 6.7; 1998 M_w 7.1). While the location of slip in the teleseismic-only, geodetic-only, and joint slip inversions is similar for the small earthquakes, there are differences for the 1995 M_w 8.1 event, probably related to nonuniqueness of models that fit the teleseismic data. There is a consistent mislocation of the Harvard centroid moment tensor locations of many of the 6 < M_w < 8 earthquakes by 30–50 km toward the trench. For all models, the teleseismic data are better able to resolve fine details of the earthquake slip distribution. The 1995 earthquake did not rupture to the maximum depth of the seismogenic zone (as defined by the other earthquakes). In addition to the above events, we use only teleseismic data to determine the rupture characteristics of four other M_w > 6 earthquakes, as well as three M_w > 7 events from the 1980s. All of these earthquakes appear to rupture different portions of the fault interface and do not rerupture a limited number of asperities.

Additional Information

© 2006 American Geophysical Union. Received 27 August 2005; revised 6 April 2006; accepted 6 June 2006; published 6 October 2006. We thank J. Polet and H. Kanamori for discussions as well as two anonymous reviewers and an anonymous associate editor for critical reviews. This study used ERS SAR imagery acquired under a category 1 research project from the European Space Agency. SRTM DEMs were supplied by NASA. GMT was used to create several figures [Wessel and Smith, 1998]. M.E.P. was partly supported by a Hess postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University.

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