Aftershock source properties of events following the 2013 Craig Earthquake: new evidence for structural heterogeneity on the northern Queen Charlotte Fault

Monday, 15 December 2014
Emily C Roland1, Maureen A L Walton2, Natalia A Ruppert3, Sean P S Gulick2, Gail Lynn Christeson2 and Peter J Haeussler4, (1)University of Washington Seattle Campus, School of Oceanography, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)University of Texas at Austin, Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX, United States, (3)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (4)USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, United States
In January 2013, a Mw 7.5 earthquake ruptured a segment of the Queen Charlotte Fault offshore the town of Craig in southeast Alaska. The region of the fault that slipped during the Craig earthquake is adjacent to and possibly overlapping with the northern extent of the 1949 M 8.1 Queen Charlotte earthquake rupture (Canada’s largest recorded earthquake), and is just south of the rupture area of the 1972 M 7.6 earthquake near Sitka, Alaska. Here we present aftershock locations and focal mechanisms for events that occurred four months following the mainshock using data recorded on an Ocean Bottom Seismometer (OBS) array that was deployed offshore of Prince of Wales Island. This array consisted of 9 short period instruments surrounding the fault segment, and recorded hundreds of aftershocks during the months of April and May, 2013. In addition to highlighting the primary mainshock rupture plane, aftershocks also appear to be occurring along secondary fault structures adjacent to the main fault trace, illuminating complicated structure, particularly toward the northern extent of the Craig rupture. Focal mechanisms for the larger events recorded during the OBS deployment show both near-vertical strike slip motion consistent with the mainshock mechanism, as well as events with varying strike and a component of normal faulting. Although fault structure along this northern segment of the QCF appears to be considerably simpler than to the south, where a higher degree of oblique convergence leads to sub-parallel compressional deformation structures, secondary faulting structures apparent in legacy seismic reflection data near the Craig rupture may be consistent with the observed seismicity patterns. In combination, these data may help to characterize structural heterogeneity along the northern segment of the Queen Charlotte Fault that contributes to rupture segmentation during large strike slip events.