During the past 6000 years Isla Mocha, a 12 km-long island 30 km off the coast of south-central Chile, experienced a 38 m fall of relative sea level caused primarily by rapid tectonic uplift of the island. As many as 18 raised shorelines (strandlines) record this uplift. Historic accounts of uplift during the great earthquakes (M > 8) of 1835 and 1960 suggest some of the more prominent prehistoric strandlines also emerged during great earthquakes on the interface between the Nazca and South America plates. But the close elevational spacing of strandlines, subdued morphology of strandline beaches, scarcity of exposed bedrock wave-cut platforms, and the extremely high rates of aseismic uplift (ca. 70 mm/yr) of the island since the last great earthquake suggest that many strandlines were raised by aseismic rather than coseismic uplift. Strandline heights and 14 new radiocarbon ages on marine shells show that the present-day uplift rate is more than three times the net rate (ca. 20 mm/yr) of the past 1000 years. The recent high rate probably reflects increased aseismic slip on an inferred thrust fault in the overriding South America plate. Isla Mocha overlies an area of high stress concentration between two major segments of the Chilean subduction zone. The inferred high rate of slip on the thrust fault may be a response to stress changes on the plate interface near the boundary between the segments. ?? 1992.
Additional Publication Details
Holocene coseismic and aseismic uplift of Isla Mocha, south-central Chile