Illuminating the Intricate Details of Tremor and Slow Slip Using an Array of Arrays

Monday, 15 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Kenneth C Creager1, John Emilio Vidale1, Justin R Sweet1, Shelley Chestler1 and Abhijit Ghosh2, (1)Univ Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)University of California Riverside, Earth Sciences, Riverside, CA, United States
Our Array of Arrays experiment consisted of eight 1-km aperture arrays, each containing 10-20 three-component continuously recording stations. One of these arrays ran continuously for five years and the others for more than one year. We applied frequency-domain beam forming to each array, and a multi-beam back projection method to detect and locate tremor on the Cascadia subduction plate interface every minute. We have also used the arrays to detect and locate over 10,000 tiny repeating Low-Frequency Earthquakes (LFEs) in dozens of distinct families. Repeating events are detected by autocorrelating every 6-s window with every other one during many 1-hour periods and stacking them across several stations to find repeating events. Clean templates are built for each family by iteratively scanning for new repeats and stacking them into the previous template. LFE catalogs are obtained by scanning templates through years of continuous data. Waveform similarities across LFEs and across stations within arrays are used to estimate seismic moment, double-difference event locations and source spectra. These methods have revealed fascinating space-time patterns in both tremor and LFEs that shed light on the propagation modes of slow slip earthquakes on the subduction plate interface including tremor streaks that propagate 100 km/hour parallel to relative plate motion, Rapid Tremor Reversals that propagate at 10 km/hour, and up to 4 times variations in the 0.4 km/hour along-strike propagation speed of the main rupture front that indicates sticky spots on the plate interface. Rather than following a standard Gutenberg-Richter power-law relation, the distributions of seismic moment of LFEs within each family follow an exponential law, allowing estimates of characteristic size. LFEs for a given family cluster in time. Going up dip, time between LFE bursts vary systematically from about a week to a year, durations from an hour to several days, and characteristic moment magnitudes from 1.25 to 1.85. The characteristic moment for up dip LFEs is thus 8 times bigger than their down-dip counter parts. Double-difference locations indicate that many of the families occur on patches that are elongated in the direction of relative plate motion, perhaps related to structural features on the plate interface.