Pure and Applied Geophysics
L1. Amenazas por procesos de tierra sólida
Fuqiang Shi, Shaoyang Li
Análisis del riesgo y mitigación
Central Andes, interseismic deformation, viscoelastic relaxation, mechanical modeling, back-arc shortening, GPS, finite element models, subduction zone
Crustal faults at subduction zones show evidence of activity over geological time, but at the scale of earthquake cycle the mechanical behavior of these faults is not fully understood. Here we construct 2-D viscoelastic models constrained by both horizontal and vertical GPS-derived interseismic velocities to investigate the contribution and interrelation between subduction zone locking, viscous mantle flow, and upper plate faulting on surface deformation in Central Andes. Main pattern of horizontal velocities can be explained by a combination of locking degree and viscous flow, whereas vertical signal is found essential for estimating the locking depth. A sharp deformation gradient near the major back-arc fault suggests an active interseismic shorting across this structure. We further conduct mechanical viscoelastic models with a frictional back-arc fault to analyze its displacement and activation conditions. Our results suggest that the back-arc fault is creeping at ~ 3 mm/year and its motion is mainly driven by the interseismic viscous mantle flow, which spreads plate tectonic stresses broadly across the continent. Moreover, the frictional strength of the back-arc fault must be remarkably weak and its mechanics re-distributes the interseismic deformation and shortens the continental plate in Central Andes. Geological estimates suggest that the long-term shortening rate at the back-arc fault is ~ 10 mm/year, suggesting that this structure can accumulate ~ 7 mm/year of slip deficit, confirming the seismic potential of this structure.