Since 1992, remotely triggered earthquakes have been identified following large (M > 7) earthquakes in California as well as in other regions. These events, which occur at much greater distances than classic aftershocks, occur predominantly in active geothermal or volcanic regions, leading to theories that the earthquakes are triggered when passing seismic waves cause disruptions in magmatic or other fluid systems. In this paper, I focus on observations of remotely triggered earthquakes following moderate main shocks in diverse tectonic settings. I summarize evidence that remotely triggered earthquakes occur commonly in mid-continent and collisional zones. This evidence is derived from analysis of both historic earthquake sequences and from instrumentally recorded M5-6 earthquakes in eastern Canada. The latter analysis suggests that, while remotely triggered earthquakes do not occur pervasively following moderate earthquakes in eastern North America, a low level of triggering often does occur at distances beyond conventional aftershock zones. The inferred triggered events occur at the distances at which SmS waves are known to significantly increase ground motions. A similar result was found for 28 recent M5.3-7.1 earthquakes in California. In California, seismicity is found to increase on average to a distance of at least 200 km following moderate main shocks. This supports the conclusion that, even at distances of ???100 km, dynamic stress changes control the occurrence of triggered events. There are two explanations that can account for the occurrence of remotely triggered earthquakes in intraplate settings: (1) they occur at local zones of weakness, or (2) they occur in zones of local stress concentration. ?? 2007 The Geological Society of America.
Additional Publication Details
Remotely triggered earthquakes following moderate main shocks
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America