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Seismicity, fault architecture, and slip mode of the westernmost Gofar transform fault
  • Jianhua Gong,
  • Wenyuan Fan
Jianhua Gong
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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Wenyuan Fan
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
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Oceanic transform faults accommodate plate motions through both seismic and aseismic slips. However, deformation partition and slip mode interaction at these faults remain elusive mainly limited by rare observations. We use one-year ocean bottom seismometer data collected in 2008 to detect and locate earthquakes at the westernmost Gofar transform fault. The ultra-fast slipping rate of Gofar results in ~30,000 earthquakes during the observational period, providing an excellent opportunity to investigate interrelations between the slip mode, seismicity, and fault architecture at an unprecedented resolution. Earthquake distribution indicates that the ∼100 km long Gofar transform fault is distinctly segmentated into five zones, including one zone contouring a M6 earthquake that was captured by the experiment. Further, a barrier zone east of the M6 earthquake hosted abundant foreshocks preceding the M6 event and halted its active seismicity afterwards. The barrier zone has two layers of earthquakes at depth, and they responded to the M6 earthquake differently. Additionally, a zone connecting to the East Pacific Rise had quasi-periodic earthquake swarms. The seismicity segmentation suggests that the Gofar fault has multiple slip modes occurring in adjacent fault patches. Spatiotemporal characteristics of the earthquakes suggest that complex fault architecture and fluid-rock interaction play primary roles in modulating the slip modes at Gofar, possibly involving multiple concurrent physical processes.