Some characteristics of the complex El Mayor-Cucapah, MW7.2, April 4, 2010, Baja California, Mexico, earthquake, from well-located aftershock data from local and regional networks.
Abstract:Aftershocks from the El Mayor-Cucapah (EMC), MW7.2, April 4, 2010, Baja California, Mexico, earthquake, were recorded over two months by a 31 station local array (Reftek RT130 seismographs loaned from IRIS-PASSCAL), complemented by regional data from SCSN, and CICESE. The resulting data base includes 518 aftershocks with ML ≥ 3.0, plus 181 smaller events. Reliable hypocenters were determined using HYPODD and a velocity structure determined from refraction data for a mesa located to the west of the Mexicali-Imperial Valley.
Aftershock hypocenters show that the El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake was a multiple event comprising two or three different ruptures of which the last one constituted the main event. The main event rupture, which extends in a roughly N45°W direction, is complex with well-defined segments having different characteristics. The main event central segment, located close to the first event epicenter is roughly vertical, the northwest segment dips ~68°NE, while the two southeast segments dip ~60°SW and ~52°SW, respectively, which agrees with results of previous studies based on teleseismic long periods and on GPS-INSAR.
All main rupture aftershock hypocenters have depths above 10-11km and, except for the central segment, they delineate the edges of zones with largest coseismic displacement. The two southern segments show seismicity concentrated below 5km and 3.5km, respectively; the paucity of shallow seismicity may be caused by the thick layer of non-consolidated sediments in this region. The ruptures delineated by aftershocks in the southern regions correspond to the Indiviso fault, unidentified until the occurrence of the EMC earthquake.
The first event was relocated together with the aftershocks; the epicenter lies slightly westwards of published locations, but it definitely does not lie on, or close to, the main rupture. The focal mechanism of the first event, based on first arrival polarities, is predominantly strike-slip; the focal plane coinciding with neighboring aftershocks has N13°E and left-lateral slip. From the above, we conclude that the EMC earthquake consisted of a first event that triggered the main right-lateral strike-slip rupture and probably another rupture indicated by a NS trending aftershock alignment.