Revisiting viscoelastic effects on interseismic deformation and locking degree: A case study of the Peru-North Chile subduction zone

Li, Shaoyang; Moreno, Marcos; Bedford, Jonathan; Rosenau, Matthias; Oncken, Onno


Viscoelastic effects potentially play an important role during all phases of the earthquake cycle in subduction zones. However, most current models neglect such effects in the interseismic deformation pattern. Here we use finite element method (FEM) models to investigate the control of viscoelasticity on interseismic deformation and to highlight the pitfalls of interpreting the data with purely elastic models for both the forward and inverse problems. Our results confirm that elastic models are prone to overestimating the interseismic locking depth, a crucial parameter for estimating the maximum possible earthquake magnitude. The application of the viscoelastic model improves the fit to the interseismic deformation, especially in the inland area. Additionally, we construct 3-D FEM models constrained by geophysical and GPS data and apply our methodology to the Peru-North Chile subduction zone. Our results indicate that viscoelastic effects contribute significantly to the observed GPS data. The signals interpreted as back-arc shortening in the elastic model can be alternatively explained by viscoelastic deformation, which, in turn, dramatically refines the interseismic locking pattern in both dip and strike directions. Our viscoelastic locking map exhibits excellent correlation with the slip distributions of previous earthquakes, especially the recent 2014 Mw 8.1 Iquique earthquake. The incorrect elastic assumptions affect the analysis of interseismic deformation with respect to slip deficit calculations. Our results thus suggest that it is necessary to thoroughly reevaluate existing locking models that are based on purely elastic models, some of which attribute viscoelastic deformation to different sources such as microplate sliver motions.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000357993000029 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 120
Número: 6
Fecha de publicación: 2015
Página de inicio: 4522
Página final: 4538


Notas: ISI