Geodetic observations of megathrust earthquakes and backarc wedge deformation across the central Andes
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 1:55 PM
High-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data offer an opportunity to investigate active orogenic wedges yet surface velocity fields are available for only a few examples worldwide. More observations are needed to link deformation processes across multiple timescales and to better understand strain accumulation and release in active wedge settings. Here we present a new GPS velocity field for the central Andes and the backarc orogenic wedge comprising the southern Subandes of Bolivia (SSA), a region previously thought to be mostly isolated from the plate boundary earthquake cycle. The time span of our observations (2000 to mid-2014) includes two megathrust earthquakes along the Chile trench that affected the SSA. The 2007 Mw 7.7 Tocopilla, Chile earthquake resulted in a regional postseismic decrease in the eastward component of horizontal surface velocities. Preliminary analysis of the deformation field from the April 01 2014 Mw 8.2 Pisagua, Chile earthquake also indicates a postseismic signal extending into the SSA. We create an interseismic velocity field for the SSA by correcting campaign GPS site velocities for the seasonal cycles estimated from continuous GPS site time series. We remove the effects of both megathrust events by estimating coseismic steps and fitting linear and logarithmic functions to the postseismic GPS site motions. The velocity estimates at most locations increase after correcting for the transients. This finding suggests that forces leading to shortening and earthquakes in the backarc wedge are not as temporally consistent as previously considered.