The aftershock zone of the 3 November 2002, M = 7.9 earthquake that ruptured along the right-slip Denali fault in south-central Alaska has been investigated by using gravity and magnetic, magnetotelluric, and deep-crustal, seismic reflection data as well as outcrop geology and earthquake seismology. Strong seismic reflections from within the Alaska Range orogen north of the Denali fault dip as steeply as 25°N and extend to depths as great as 20 km. These reflections outline a relict crustal architecture that in the past 20 yr has produced little seismicity. The Denali fault is nonreflective, probably because this fault dips steeply to vertical. The most intriguing finding from geophysical data is that earthquake aftershocks occurred above a rock body, with low electrical resistivity (>10 Ω·m), that is at depths below ∼10 km. Aftershocks of the Denali fault earthquake have mainly occurred shallower than 10 km. A high geothermal gradient may cause the shallow seismicity. Another possibility is that the low resistivity results from fluids, which could have played a role in locating the aftershock zone by reducing rock friction within the middle and lower crust.
Additional publication details
Geophysical investigation of the Denali fault and Alaska Range orogen within the aftershock zone of the October-November 2002, M = 7.9 Denali fault earthquake