Tsujal Marine Survey: Crustal Characterization of the Rivera Plate-Jalisco Block Boundary and its Implications for Seismic and Tsunami Hazard Assessment

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rafael Bartolome1, Juanjo Danobeitia1, Diego Córdoba Barba Sr2, Francisco J Nunez-Cornu3, Alejandra L. Cameselle4, Ferran Estrada1, Manel Prada1 and William Lee Bandy5, (1)ICM-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain, (2)Complutense University of Madrid, Fac. Ciencias Fisicas, Madrid, Spain, (3)University of Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, (4)CMIMA-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain, (5)Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Geofisica, Mexico City, Mexico
During the spring of 2014, a team of Spanish and Mexican scientists explored the western margin of Mexico in the frame of the TSUJAL project. The two main objectives were to characterize the nature and structure of the lithosphere and to identify potential sources triggering earthquakes and tsunamis at the contact between Rivera plate-Jalisco block with the North American Plate. With these purposes a set of marine geophysical data were acquired aboard the RRS James Cook.

This work is focus in the southern part of the TSUJAL survey, where we obtain seismic images from the oceanic domain up to the continental shelf. Thus, more than 800 km of MCS data, divided in 7 profiles, have been acquired with a 6km long streamer and using an air-gun sources ranging from 5800 c.i. to 3540 c.i. Furthermore, a wide-angle seismic profile of 190 km length was recorded in 16 OBS deployed perpendicular to the coast of Manzanillo. Gravity and magnetic, multibeam bathymetry and sub-bottom profiler data were recorded simultaneously with seismic data in the offshore area.

Preliminary stacked MCS seismic sections reveal the crustal structure in the different domains of the Mexican margin. The contact between the Rivera and NA Plates is observed as a strong reflection at 6 s two way travel time (TWTT), in a parallel offshore profile (TS01), south of Manzanillo. This contact is also identified in a perpendicular profile, TS02, along a section of more than 100 km in length crossing the Rivera transform zone, and the plate boundary between Cocos and Rivera Plates. Northwards, offshore Pto. Vallarta, the MCS data reveals high amplitude reflections at around 7-8.5 s TWTT, roughly 2.5-3.5 s TWTT below the seafloor, that conspicuously define the subduction plane (TS06b). These strong reflections which we interpret as the Moho discontinuity define the starting bending of subduction of Rivera Plate.

Another clear pattern observed within the first second of the MCS data shows evidences of a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) along the continental margin, particularly strong offshore Pto. Vallarta. The integration of all these acquired geophysical information will allow obtaining a comprehensive image of the lithosphere that will be valuable for the seismic and tsunamigenic hazard assessment.