Searching for Seismically Active Faults in the Gulf of Cadiz
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The repeated occurrence of large magnitude earthquakes in southwest Iberia in historical and instrumental times suggests the presence of active fault segments in the region. However, due to an apparently diffuse seismicity pattern defining a broad region of distributed deformation west of Gibraltar Strait, the question of the location, dimension and geometry of such structures is still open to debate. We recently developed a new algorithm for earthquake location in 3D complex media with laterally varying interface depths, which allowed us to relocate 2363 events having occurred from 2007 to 2013, using P- and S-wave catalog arrival times obtained from the Portuguese Meteorological Institute (IPMA, Instituto Portugues do Mar e da Atmosfera), for a study area lying between 8.5˚W and 5˚W in longitude and 36˚ and 37.5˚ in latitude. The most remarkable change in the seismicity pattern after relocation is an apparent concentration of events, in the North of the Gulf of Cadiz, along a low angle northward-dipping plane rooted at the base of the crust, which could indicate the presence of a major fault. If confirmed, this would be the first structure clearly illuminated by seismicity in a region that has unleashed large magnitude earthquakes. Here, we present results from the joint analysis of focal mechanism solutions and waveform similarity between neighboring events from waveform cross-correlation in order to assess whether those earthquakes occur on the same fault plane.