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Lithospheric folding by flexural slip in subduction zones as source for reverse fault intraslab earthquakes



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Romeo Briones, Ignacio and Álvarez Gómez, José Antonio (2018) Lithospheric folding by flexural slip in subduction zones as source for reverse fault intraslab earthquakes. Scientific Reports, 8 (1367). ISSN 2045-2322

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-19682-7


Subduction requires the permanent generation of a bend fold in the subducting slab which mechanics is not well understood. Lithospheric bending of subducting slabs was traditionally considered to be accommodated by orthogonal flexure, generating extensional outer rise earthquakes responsible of the external arc elongation during folding. Here we explore the possibility of lithospheric flexure being accommodated through simple shear deformation parallel to the slab (folding by flexural slip) and evaluate this process as source of earthquakes. The seismicity predicted by flexural slip dominated slab bending explains a significant amount of intermediate earthquakes observed in subduction zones with different degrees of coupling. This mechanism predicts the generation of intraslab thrust earthquakes with fault planes subparallel to the slab top. Being the orientations of the fault planes the same for the interface thrust earthquakes and the flexural-slip intraslab earthquakes, the amount of seismic moment liberated by the interface could be significantly lower than considered before. This proposed seismic source should be taken into account in models and hazard studies of subduction zones. Determining the seismic generating processes in subduction zones and their characteristics is a fundamental issue for the correct assessment of the associated seismic and tsunami risk.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:49959
Deposited On:06 Nov 2018 18:31
Last Modified:06 Nov 2018 18:31

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