Earthquakes and Tremor Linked to Seamount Subduction During Shallow Slow Slip at the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand

TitleEarthquakes and Tremor Linked to Seamount Subduction During Shallow Slow Slip at the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsTodd, EK, Schwartz, SY, Mochizuki, K, Wallace, LM, Sheehan, AF, Webb, SC, Williams, CA, Nakai, J, Yarce, J, Fry, B, Henrys, S, Ito, Y
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Keywordsearthquake, New Zealand, Seamount, slow slip, subduction, tremor

Shallow slow slip events have been well documented offshore Gisborne at the northern Hikurangi subduction margin, New Zealand, and are associated with tectonic tremor downdip of the slow slip patch and increases in local microseismicity. Tremor and seismicity on the shallow subduction interface are often poorly resolved due to their distance from land-based seismic and geodetic networks. To address this shortcoming, the Hikurangi Ocean Bottom Investigation of Tremor and Slow Slip experiment deployed 24 absolute pressure gauges and 15 ocean bottom seismometers on the seafloor above the Gisborne slow slip patch to investigate the spatial and temporal extent of slow slip and associated tremor and earthquake activity. We present a detailed spatiotemporal analysis of the seismic signatures of various interplate slip processes associated with the September/October 2014 Gisborne slow slip event. Tectonic tremor begins toward the end and continues after the geodetically constrained slow slip event and is localized in the vicinity of two subducted seamounts within and updip of the slow slip patch. The subsequent, rather than synchronous occurrence of tremor suggests that tremor may be triggered by stress changes induced by slow slip. However, Coulomb failure stress change models based on the slow slip distribution fail to predict the location of tremor, suggesting that seamount subduction plays a dominant role in the stress state of the shallow megathrust. This and the observed interplay of seismic and aseismic interplate slip processes imply that stress changes from slow slip play a secondary role in the distribution of associated microseismicity.


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