Constraining Source Locations of Shallow Subduction Megathrust Earthquakes in 1-D and 3-D Velocity Models – A Case Study of the 2002 Mw=6.4 Osa Earthquake, Costa Rica

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Ivonne G Arroyo and Ingo Grevemeyer, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Earthquake source locations are generally routinely constrained using a global 1-D Earth model. However, the source location might be associated with large uncertainties. This is definitively the case for earthquakes occurring at active continental margins were thin oceanic crust subducts below thick continental crust and hence large lateral changes in crustal thickness occur as a function of distance to the deep-sea trench. Here, we conducted a case study of the 2002 Mw 6.4 Osa thrust earthquake in Costa Rica that was followed by an aftershock sequence. Initial relocations indicated that the main shock occurred fairly trenchward of most large earthquakes along the Middle America Trench off central Costa Rica. The earthquake sequence occurred while a temporary network of ocean-bottom-hydrophones and land stations 80 km to the northwest were deployed. By adding readings from permanent Costa Rican stations, we obtain uncommon P wave coverage of a large subduction zone earthquake. We relocated this catalog using a nonlinear probabilistic approach using a 1-D and two 3-D P-wave velocity models. The 3-D model was either derived from 3-D tomography based on onshore stations and a priori model based on seismic refraction data. All epicentres occurred close to the trench axis, but depth estimates vary by several tens of kilometres. Based on the epicentres and constraints from seismic reflection data the main shock occurred 25 km from the trench and probably along the plate interface at 5-10 km depth. The source location that agreed best with the geology was based on the 3-D velocity model derived from a priori data. Aftershocks propagated downdip to the area of a 1999 Mw 6.9 sequence and partially overlapped it. The results indicate that underthrusting of the young and buoyant Cocos Ridge has created conditions for interpolate seismogenesis shallower and closer to the trench axis than elsewhere along the central Costa Rica margin.