|New insights on the interseismic active deformation along the North Ecuadorian-South Colombian (NESC) margin
|Year of Publication
|Manchuel K, Régnier M, Béthoux N, Font Y, Sallares V, Díaz J, Yepes H
|The North Ecuadorian-South Colombian subduction zone was the site of the 1906 Mw 8.8 megathrust earthquake. This main shock was followed by three large events in 1942, 1958, and 1979 whose rupture zones were located within the 500 km long 1906 rupture area. A combined onshore and offshore temporary seismic network covering from the trench to the Andes was deployed during 3 months in the area of large earthquakes, in order to obtain a detailed knowledge of the seismic background activity. Resulting earthquakes location and mechanisms bring new insights on interseismic active deformation distribution in the three main tectonic units of the margin, namely, the Interplate Seismogenic Zone, the fore-arc region which is part of the North Andean Block and the downgoing oceanic Nazca plate. The interplate seismic activity presents along strike variations, suggesting that the seismicity and the associated stress buildup along the plate interface depend on the time elapsed since the last large earthquakes. According to our results, the updip and downdip limits of the seismogenic zone appear to be located at 12 and 30 km depth, respectively. Shallow to intermediate depth seismicity indicates a slab dip angle of ≈25°. North of the Carnegie Ridge, the Wadati-Benioff plane is defined beneath the fore arc down to ≈100 km depth. Facing the ridge, the Wadati-Benioff plane extends beneath the Andes, down to ≈140 km depth. This observation conflicts with the hypothesis of the presence of a flat slab at a depth of 100 km facing the ridge. In the overlying fore-arc region, the crustal seismicity occurs down to 40 km depth and is mainly concentrated in a roughly NW-SE 100 km wide stripe stretching from the coast, at about 1°N, to the Andes. The location of this active deformation stripe coincides with observed tectonic segmentation of the coastal domain as evidenced by the presence of an uplifting segment to the south and a subsiding segment to the north of the stripe. It also corresponds to a ≈30° change in the trend of the Andes, suggesting that the curvature of the volcanic arc might play an important role in the deformation of the fore-arc region. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.