Slow slip events in Guerrero, Mexico, and consequences on strain accumulation over the past 15 years (invited).
Continuous Global Positioning System (cGPS) time series in Guerrero, Mexico, reveal the widespread existence of large Slow Slip Events (SSEs) at the boundary between the Cocos and North American plates. The existence of these SSEs asks the question of how seismic and aseismic slips complement each other in subduction zones. We examined the last three SSEs that occurred in 2001/2002, 2006 and 2009/2010, and their impact on the strain accumulation along the Guerrero subduction margin. We use continuous cGPS time series and InSAR images to evaluate the surface displacement during SSEs and inter-SSE periods. The slip distributions on the plate interface associated with each SSE, as well as the inter-SSE (short-term) coupling rates are evaluated by inverting these surface displacements. Our results reveal that the three analyzed SSEs have equivalent moment magnitudes of around 7.5 and their lateral extension is variable.The slip distributions for the three SSEs show that in the Guerrero gap area, the slow slip occurs at shallower depth (updip limit around 15-20 km) than in surrounding regions. The InSAR data provide additional information for the 2006 SSE. The joint inversion of InSAR and cGPS data confirms the lateral variation of the slip distribution along the trench, with shallower slip in the Guerrero seismic gap, west of Acapulco, and deeper slip further east. Inversion of inter-SSE displacement rates reveal that during the inter-SSE time intervals, the interplate coupling is high in the area where the slow slip subsequently occurs. Over a 12 year period, corresponding to three cycles of SSEs, our results reveal that the accumulated slip deficit in the Guerrero gap area is only 1⁄4 of the slip deficit accumulated on both sides of the gap. Moreover, the regions of large slip deficit coincide with the rupture areas of recent large earthquakes. We conclude that the SSEs account for a major portion of the overall moment release budget in the Guerrero gap. If large subduction thrust earthquakes occur in the Guerrero gap, their recurrence time is probably increased compared to adjacent regions.
Record created on 2014-01-14, modified on 2016-08-09