Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Daily measurement of slow slip from low-frequency earthquakes is consistent with ordinary earthquake scaling

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Science Advances  02 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaaw9386
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw9386


Slow slip transients on faults can last from seconds to months and stitch together the earthquake cycle. However, no single geophysical instrument is able to observe the full range of slow slip because of bandwidth limitations. Here, we connect seismic and geodetic data from the Mexican subduction zone to explore an instrumental blind spot. We establish a calibration of the daily median amplitude of the seismically recorded low-frequency earthquakes to the daily geodetically recorded moment rate of previously established slow slip events. This calibration allows us to use the precise evolution of low-frequency earthquake activity to quantitatively measure the moment of smaller, subdaily slip events that are unresolvable by geodesy alone. The resulting inferred slow slip moments scale with duration and inter-event time like ordinary earthquakes. These new quantifications help connect slow and fast events in a broad spectrum of transient slip and suggest that slow slip events behave much like ordinary earthquakes.

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