Deep Structure of the Continental Plate in the South-Central Chilean Margin: Metamorphic Wedge and Implications for Megathrust Earthquakes

Maksymowicz, A., Contreras-Reyes E.; Díaz, D.; Comte, D.; Bangs, N.; Trehu, A.; Vera, E.; Herve, F.; Rietbrock, A.


We study the deep structure of the continental wedge along the south-central Chilean convergent margin based on a joint interpretation of wide-angle reflection and refraction seismic phases acquired between the southern part of the Maule 2010 (36°S) and the northern part of the Valdivia 1960 (41°S) earthquake rupture areas. When combined with results of previous seismic studies, our results provide new insights into the deep structure (to 15–20 km) of the overriding, continental South American plate. We observe a latitudinal variation of P wave velocity, interpreted in terms of the distribution of Permo-Triassic metamorphic complex near the coast, and deep reflectors at the base of these metamorphic units. A change in the observed deep structural style near 38°S suggests a segmentation in the interplate frictional properties between the Maule and Valdivia earthquakes rupture zones. This regional change in the continental wedge structure indicates a spatial correlation between the coseismic ruptures of large earthquakes (e.g., the 1960 and 2010 megathrust earthquakes) and the rheology/lithology along the interplate boundary.

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Título de la Revista: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volumen: 126
Número: 7
Editorial: Wiley
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Página de inicio: e2021JB021879
Financiamiento/Sponsor: FONDECYT 11170047; ACT172002; AFB180004; FONDECYT 1161806; FONDECYT 1210101 and 1170009