A change in fault-plane orientation between foreshocks and aftershocks of the Galway Lake earthquake, ML = 5.2, 1975, Mojave desert, California

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A marked change is observed in P/SV amplitude ratios, measured at station TPC, from foreshocks to aftershocks of the Galway Lake earthquake. This change is interpreted to be the result of a change in fault-plane orientation occurring between foreshocks and aftershocks. The Galway Lake earthquake, ML= 5.2, occurred on June 1, 1975. The first-motion fault-plane solutions for the main shock and most foreshocks and aftershocks indicate chiefly right-lateral strike-slip on NNW-striking planes that dip steeply, 70-90??, to the WSW. The main event was preceded by nine located foreshocks, ranging in magnitude from 1.9 to 3.4, over a period of 12 weeks, starting on March 9, 1975. All of the foreshocks form a tight cluster approximately 1 km in diameter. This cluster includes the main shock. Aftershocks are distributed over a 6-km-long fault zone, but only those that occurred inside the foreshock cluster are used in this study. Seismograms recorded at TPC (?? = 61 km), PEC (?? = 93 km), and CSP (?? = 83 km) are the data used here. The seismograms recorded at TPC show very consistent P/SV amplitude ratios for foreshocks. For aftershocks the P/SV ratios are scattered, but generally quite different from foreshock ratios. Most of the scatter for the aftershocks is confined to the two days following the main shock. Thereafter, however, the P/SV ratios are consistently half as large as for foreshocks. More subtle (and questionable) changes in the P/SV ratios are observed at PEC and CSP. Using theoretical P/SV amplitude ratios, one can reproduce the observations at TPC, PEC and CSP by invoking a 5-12?? counterclockwise change in fault strike between foreshocks and aftershocks. This interpretation is not unique, but it fits the data better than invoking, for example, changes in dip or slip angle. First-motion data cannot resolve this small change, but they permit it. Attenuation changes would appear to be ruled out by the fact that changes in the amplitude ratios, PTPC/PPEC and ptpc/pcsp, are observed, and these changes accompany the changes in P/SV. Observations for the Galway Lake earthquake are similar to observations for the Oroville, California, earthquake (ML = 5.7) of August 1, 1975, and the Brianes Hills, California, earthquake (ML = 4.3) of January 8, 1977 (Lindh et al., Science Vol. 201, pp. 56-59). A change in fault-plane orientation between foreshocks and aftershocks may be understandable in terms of early en-echelon cracking (foreshocks) giving way to shear on the main fault plane (main shock plus aftershocks). Recent laboratory data (Byerlee et al., Tectonophysics, Vol. 44, pp. 161-171) tend to support this view. ?? 1979.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A change in fault-plane orientation between foreshocks and aftershocks of the Galway Lake earthquake, ML = 5.2, 1975, Mojave desert, California
Series title Tectonophysics
Volume 52
Issue 1-4
Year Published 1979
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Tectonophysics
First page 601
Last page 602