Inference of small-scale Vp/Vs ratio along the rupture area of the Tocopilla earthquake, Northern Chile (Mw 7.7, 14/11/2007)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Mauro Palo, Frederik J Tilmann and Bernd Schurr, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
We have inferred the Vp/Vs ratio along the segment of the Peru-Chile subduction margin corresponding to the rupture area of the Tocopilla earthquake (TE, Mw 7.7, 14/11/2007). This event nucleated in Northern Chile and broke the southern ~100 km of the ~500 km Northern Chile Southern Peru seismic gap, which had not seen an earthquake of this magnitude since the M~9 event of 1877. TE activated two main co-seismic slip patches: one around the epicenter and another north-east of the Mejillones Peninsula. We have applied the Lin and Shearer approach [1] to the aftershock sequence of TE. In this approach, the relative time shift between the S phases of a pair of nearby events at one station are plotted as function of the time shift between the P phases of the same pair. The process is repeated for a set of events. If the events are close enough to assume a uniform local Vp/Vs and the P-reciprocal wavefront can be approximated as planar, the points lay on a line, whose slope is an estimation of the local Vp/Vs. The technique is extended to a set of stations demeaning the time shifts from each pair of events. The time shifts are inferred maximizing the cross-correlation function between the event pairs. The technique has been applied to clusters of events sharing similar waveforms and spatially clustered hypocentres. We have adopted a robust linear L2 regression and have assigned a statistical error to the best fit. Most clusters are identified within a sub-vertical branch of the subduction interface hosting a major aftershock (Michilla earthquake, 16/12/2007, Ml 6.8) and its aftershocks. This branch falls inside the subducted Nazca Plate at depths of 40-50 km, north-east of the Mejillones Peninsula, and shows Vp/Vs mostly in the range 1.8-1.9. Clusters close to the Mejillones Peninsula and to the epicenter displays Vp/Vs around 1.7 and 1.8, respectively. References [1] - Lin, G., & Shearer, P. (2007). Estimating local Vp/Vs ratios within similar earthquake clusters. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 97 (2), 379-388.