Structural Aspects of the Iquique Area With Possible Influence on the Mw 8.2, 2014, Pisagua Earthquake

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Monika Sobiesiak1, Theresa Schaller1, Gianina Meneses2, Hans-Juergen Goetze1, Claudio Satriano3, Natalia Poiata3, Sergio Ruiz4, Diana Comte4, Pascal Bernard5, Jean-Pierre Vilotte3, Marianne Métois2, Manuel Olcay6, Carlos Tassera6 and Jaime A Campos7, (1)University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, (2)Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris, Paris, France, (3)Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France, (4)University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, (5)Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris, France, (6)Universidad Arturo Prat Iquique, departemento de Fisica, Iquique, Chile, (7)Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
The Mw 8.2, 2014, Pisagua earthquake in Northern Chile did not come as a complete surprise as it was anticipated that in the “near future” a large earthquake could happen in the North Chile seismic gap. Whether the gap would rupture in a single M~9 event or in several M 7-8 events has been subject of debate. Now it is clear that the Pisagua earthquake ruptured the shallower part of one segment of the North Chilean seismogenic subduction interface and leaves the questions why the new rupture started here and what could be a future scenario for the failure of the seismic gaps' residuals.
To identify seismogenic structures which define areas where large events might nucleate, asperities develop or segment boundaries form, we need large catalogues of accurately located seismic events in all magnitude ranges. Therefore, we apply a new method to automatically detect and locate seismic events based on the backprojection algorithm and multi-band kurtosis signal representation (see also abstracts Satriano et al. and Poiata et al.) using the data basis of the Iquique Local Network and the Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory in North Chile. Precise earthquake locations, seismicity rate changes and spatial b-value distributions can then refer to material boundaries, and distinguish between locked and creeping sections, which lead to the sites where actual deformation also on small scales is taking place.
While seismicity distribution and its temporal changes help to identify the outlines of seismogenic structures, congruent gravity isostatic residual anomalies and modeled density distributions tell us something about the physical nature of earthquake nucleation zones and asperities. We present new results from density modeling on narrow profiles over the entire Pisagua earthquake rupture plane revealing dense bodies which we suggest have influenced the start of the main shock rupture as well as its propagation by linking spatial background and aftershock distributions.