A New Set of Focal Mechanisms and a Geodynamic Model for the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone

Monday, 15 December 2014
Matthew T Cooley, Christine Ann Powell and Eunseo Choi, University of Memphis, Center for Earthquake Research and Information, Memphis, TN, United States
We present a new set of 26 focal mechanisms for the eastern Tennessee seismic zone (ETSZ) and discuss the implications for regional uplift. The mechanisms are for earthquakes with magnitudes 2.5 and greater occurring after 1999. The ETSZ is the second largest seismic zone in the central and eastern US and the seismicity is attributed to reactivation of a major Grenville-age shear zone. P- and S- wave velocity models, the distribution of hypocenters, focal mechanisms, and potential field anomalies suggest the presence of a basement shear zone. The new focal mechanism solutions supplement and are consistent with a previously calculated set of 26 focal mechanisms for the period 1983-1993. Focal mechanisms fall into two groups. The first group shows strike-slip motion on steeply dipping nodal planes striking N-S/E-W and NE-SW/NW-SE. Mechanisms in the second group display primarily dip-slip motion and are constrained geographically to the southern portion of the seismic zone. Events in the second group are among the shallowest in the dataset (8-12 km). We are developing a geodynamic model of the regional structure to examine the stress regime, which may be changing with depth. This model will be used to determine a possible relationship between the localized normal faulting and previously established recent regional uplift.