Whats down there? The structures, materials and environment of deep-seated tremor and slip

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Whitney M. Behr, Roland Bürgmann


Episodic tremor and slow slip (ETS) events occur downdip of the seismogenic zone of numerous subduction megathrusts and plate boundary strike-slip faults. These events represent a fascinating and perplexing mode of fault failure that has greatly broadened our view of earthquake dynamics. In this contribution, we review constraints on the
ETS deformation process from both geophysical observations of active subduction zones and geological observations of exhumed field analogs. We first provide an overview of what has been learned about the environment, kinematics and dynamics of ETS from geodetic and seismologic data. We then describe the materials, deformation mechanisms, and metamorphic and fluid pressure conditions that characterize exhumed rocks from ETS source depths. Both the geophysical and geological records strongly suggest the importance of a fluid-rich and high fluid pressure habitat for the ETS source region. Additionally, transient deformation features preserved in the rock record, involving combined frictional-viscous shear in regions of mixed lithology and near-lithostatic fluid pressures, may scale with the tremor component of ETS events. While several open questions remain, it is clear that improved constraints on the materials, environment, structure, and conditions of the plate interface from geophysical imaging and geologic observations will enhance model representations of the boundary conditions and geometry of the ETS system.




Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Tectonics and Structure



Published: 2020-07-16 06:57

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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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