Seismicity and crustal structure at the Mendocino triple junction, Northern California

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A high level of seismicity at the Mendocino triple junction in Northern California reflects the complex active tectonics associated with the junction of the Pacific, North America, and Gorda plates. To investigate seismicity patterns and crustal structure, 6193 earthquakes recorded by the Northern California Seismic Network (NCSN) are relocated using a one-dimensional crustal velocity model. A near vertical truncation of the intense seismic activity offshore Cape Mendocino follows the strike of the Mattole Canyon fault and is interpreted to define the Pacific plate boundary. Seismicity along this boundary displays a double seismogenic layer that is attributed to interplate activity with ... continued below

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Medium: P; Size: 91 pages

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Dicke, M. December 1, 1998.

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Description

A high level of seismicity at the Mendocino triple junction in Northern California reflects the complex active tectonics associated with the junction of the Pacific, North America, and Gorda plates. To investigate seismicity patterns and crustal structure, 6193 earthquakes recorded by the Northern California Seismic Network (NCSN) are relocated using a one-dimensional crustal velocity model. A near vertical truncation of the intense seismic activity offshore Cape Mendocino follows the strike of the Mattole Canyon fault and is interpreted to define the Pacific plate boundary. Seismicity along this boundary displays a double seismogenic layer that is attributed to interplate activity with the North America plate and Gorda plate. The interpretation of the shallow seismogenic zone as the North America - Pacific plate boundary implies that the Mendocino triple junction is situated offshore at present. Seismicity patterns and focal mechanisms for events located within the subducting Gorda pl ate are consistent with internal deformation on NE-SW and NW-SE trending rupture planes in response to north-south compression. Seismic sections indicate that the top of the Gorda plate locates at a depth of about 18 Km beneath Cape Mendocino and dips gently east-and southward. Earthquakes that are located in the Wadati-Benioff zone east of 236{sup o}E show a change to an extensional stress regime indicative of a slab pull force. This slab pull force and scattered seismicity within the contractional forearc region of the Cascadia subduction zone suggest that the subducting Gorda plate and the overriding North America plate are strongly coupled. The 1992 Cape Mendocino thrust earthquake is believed to have ruptured a blind thrust fault in the forearc region, suggesting that strain is accumulating that must ultimately be released in a potential M 8+ subduction earthquake.

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Medium: P; Size: 91 pages

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OSTI as DE00006505

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  • Other Information: Supercedes report DE00006505; PBD: 1 Dec 1998

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  • Report No.: LBNL--42723
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/6505 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 6505
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc708777

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  • December 1, 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • April 5, 2016, 5:38 p.m.

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Dicke, M. Seismicity and crustal structure at the Mendocino triple junction, Northern California, report, December 1, 1998; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc708777/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.