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Interplay of seismic and a-seismic deformation during the 2020 sequence of Atacama, Chile

Abstract : An earthquake sequence occurred in the Atacama region of Chile throughout September 2020. The sequence initiated by a mainshock of magnitude = 6.9, followed 17 hours later by a = 6.4 aftershock. The sequence lasted several weeks, during which more than a thousand events larger than = 1 occurred, including several larger earthquakes of magnitudes between 5.5 and 6.4. Using a dense network that includes broad-band, strong motion and GPS sites, we study in details the seismic sources of the mainshock and its largest aftershock, the afterslip they generate and their aftershock, shedding light of the spatial temporal evolution of seismic and aseismic slip during the sequence. Dynamic inversions show that the two largest earthquakes are located on the subduction interface and have a stress drop and rupture times which are characteristics of subduction earthquakes. The mainshock and the aftershocks, localized in a 3D velocity model, occur in a narrow region of interseismic coupling (ranging 40%-80%), i.e. between two large highly coupled areas, North and South of the sequence, both ruptured by the great 8.5 1922 megathrust earthquake. High rate GPS data (1 Hz) allow to determine instantaneous coseismic displacements and to infer coseismic slip models, not contaminated by early afterslip. We find that the total slip over 24 hours inferred from precise daily solutions is larger than the sum of the two instantaneous coseismic slip models. Differencing the two models indicates that rapid aseismic slip developed up-dip the mainshock rupture area and down-dip of the largest aftershock. During the 17 hours separating the two earthquakes, micro-seismicity migrated from the mainshock rupture area up-dip towards the epicenter of the 6.4 aftershocks and continued to propagate upwards at ∼ 0.7 km/day. The bulk of the afterslip is located up-dip the mainshock and down-dip the largest aftershock, and is accompanied with the migration of seismicity, from the mainshock rupture to the aftershock area, suggesting that this aseismic slip triggered the = 6.4 aftershock. Unusually large post-seismic slip, equivalent to = 6.8 developed during three weeks to the North, in low coupling areas located both up-dip and downdip the narrow strip of higher coupling, and possibly connecting to the area of the deep Slow Sleep Event detected in the Copiapo area in 2014. The sequence highlights how seismic and aseismic slip interacted and witness short scale lateral variations of friction properties at the megathrust.
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Contributor : Emilie Klein Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 11:32:34 AM
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E. Klein, B. Potin, F. Pasten-Araya, R. Tissandier, K. Azua, et al.. Interplay of seismic and a-seismic deformation during the 2020 sequence of Atacama, Chile. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2021, 570, pp.117081. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117081⟩. ⟨hal-03285558⟩



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