Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Connecting a broad spectrum of transient slip on the San Andreas fault

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Science Advances  14 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 33, eabb2489
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2489


Strain accumulated on the deep extension of some faults is episodically released during transient slow-slip events, which can subsequently load the shallow seismogenic region. At the San Andreas fault, the characteristics of slow-slip events are difficult to constrain geodetically due to their small deformation signal. Slow-slip events (SSEs) are often accompanied by coincident tremor bursts composed of many low-frequency earthquakes. Here, we probabilistically estimate the spatiotemporal clustering properties of low-frequency earthquakes detected along the central San Andreas fault. We find that tremor bursts follow a power-law spatial and temporal decay similar to earthquake aftershock sequences. The low-frequency earthquake clusters reveal that the underlying slow-slip events have two modes of rupture velocity. Compared to regular earthquakes, these slow-slip events have smaller stress drop and rupture velocity but follow similar magnitude-frequency, moment-area, and moment-duration scaling. Our results connect a broad spectrum of transient fault slip that spans several orders of magnitude in rupture velocity.

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