The nucleation area of the series of M6 events in Parkfield has been shown to be characterized by low b-values throughout the seismic cycle. Since low b-values represent high differential stresses, the asperity structure seems to be always stably stressed and even unaffected by the latest main shock in 2004. However, because fault loading rates and applied shear stress vary with time, some degree of temporal variability of the b-value within stable blocks is to be expected. We discuss in this study adequate techniques and uncertainty treatment for a detailed analysis of the temporal evolution of b-values. We show that the derived signal for the Parkfield asperity correlates with changes in surface creep, suggesting a sensitive time resolution of the b-value stress meter, and confirming near-critical loading conditions within the Parkfield asperity.
Additional publication details
Size distribution of Parkfield’s microearthquakes reflects changes in surface creep rate