Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Slow slip events in the roots of the San Andreas fault

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Science Advances  13 Feb 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 2, eaav3274
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3274


Episodic tremor and accompanying slow slip are observed at the down-dip edge of subduction seismogenic zones. While tremors are the seismic signature of this phenomenon, they correspond to a small fraction of the moment released; thus, the associated fault slip can be quantified only by geodetic observations. On continental strike-slip faults, tremors have been observed in the roots of the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas fault. However, associated transient aseismic slip has never been detected. By making use of the timing of transient tremor activity and the dense Parkfield-area global positioning system network, we can detect deep slow slip events (SSEs) at 16-km depth on the Parkfield segment with an average moment equivalent to Mw 4.90 ± 0.08. Characterization of transient SSEs below the Parkfield locked asperity, at the transition with the creeping section of the San Andreas fault, provides new constraints on the seismic cycle in this region.

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