Different styles of postseismic deformation after the 2013 M7.7 Balochistan earthquake in Pakistan and the 2010 M7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake in Mexico
Abstract:We study postseismic deformation after the Mw 7.7 earthquake in the Balochistan region of western Pakistan on 24 September 2013 and the Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah (EMC) earthquake in Baja California of northern Mexico on 4 April 2010. Pakistan InSAR measurements from the German TerraSAR-X (TSX) and Canadian RADARSAT-2 (RS2) satellites include TSX narrow stripmap beams on a descending track, RS2 wide strip modes, and TSX wide-swath ScanSAR images on an ascending track, specially acquired with interferometric alignment of ScanSAR bursts. For the EMC earthquake, InSAR includes Envisat, ALOS, and RS2 satellites and NASA/JPL UAVSAR airborne InSAR, with piece-wise time coverage. Plate Boundary Observatory acquires continuous GPS data and others collect campaign GPS.
Interferograms show significant afterslip on both main ruptures in the first weeks and months, not masked by the atmospheric effects. Balochistan shallow afterslip reaches at least 10 cm in 2-4 months in the same area as the largest coseismic slip, but less near the aftershock activity. Rapid afterslip was observed primarily at the ends of the EMC mainshock rupture where the strike changes, with magnitudes up to 30 cm. Large variations of tropospheric water vapor complicate measurement of small long-wavelength deformation so we do time series analysis.
We expect viscoelastic relaxation after these two strike-slip earthquakes to differ due to completely opposite tectonic settings: EMC earthquake in the Salton Trough rift and fast-moving strike-slip system, where crust and lithosphere are thin and hot with very shallow asthenosphere, and Balochistan earthquake in the shortening Makran accretional prism with much slower strike-slip deformation rates and cold and thick lithosphere of the subducting Arabian plate directly beneath it, so asthenosphere is much deeper. Studies have found rapid and large viscoelastic relaxation for the EMC quake, but we don’t expect measurable relaxation in the Balochistan area in the first year, based on preliminary modeling. These very different lithospheric configurations have strong implications for transfer of stress and future earthquake risk.