Tidal Triggering of Earthquakes in the Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone

Monday, 15 December 2014
Yen Joe Tan and Maya Tolstoy, LDEO-Columbia Univ, Palisades, NY, United States
Significant tidal triggering of earthquakes has been observed precursory to the Tohoku and Sumatra megathrust earthquakes (Tanaka 2010; 2012). The appearance of high correlation between tidally-induced stresses and earthquake occurrence frequency several to ten years before these megathrust earthquakes suggests that such statistical analysis could be useful in improving forecasting of future subduction zone earthquakes. Using this statistical method, we analyzed the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone which has been known to produce devastating tsunamigenic earthquakes, and specifically the Semidi Segment that is probably late in its earthquake cycle (Davies et. al. 1981). Our study aims to understand if significant tidal triggering of earthquakes were present precursory to historical great earthquakes in this region. We also aim to understand if any segment along the subduction zone is currently displaying statistically significant tidal triggering of earthquakes and whether such observations are indicative of the stress state of the segment. Finally, we test if the strength of tidal triggering captured by this statistical method is sensitive to the tidal stress azimuth used. Such sensitivity could be indicative of the predominant fault slip direction in the specific segment.