Strain accumulation across the Prince William Sound asperity, Southcentral Alaska

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 

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Abstract

The surface velocities predicted by the conventional subduction model are compared to velocities measured in a GPS array (surveyed in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, and 2004) spanning the Prince William Sound asperity. The observed velocities in the comparison have been corrected to remove the contributions from postseismic (1964 Alaska earthquake) mantle relaxation. Except at the most seaward monument (located on Middleton Island at the seaward edge of the continental shelf, just 50 km landward of the deformation front in the Aleutian Trench), the corrected velocities qualitatively agree with those predicted by an improved, two-dimensional, back slip, subduction model in which the locked megathrust coincides with the plate interface identified by seismic refraction surveys, and the back slip rate is equal to the plate convergence rate. A better fit to the corrected velocities is furnished by either a back slip rate 20% greater than the plate convergence rate or a 30% shallower megathrust. The shallow megathrust in the latter fit may be an artifact of the uniform half-space Earth model used in the inversion. Backslip at the plate convergence rate on the megathrust mapped by refraction surveys would fit the data as well if the rigidity of the underthrust plate was twice that of the overlying plate, a rigidity contrast higher than expected. The anomalous motion at Middleton Island is attributed to continuous slip at near the plate convergence rate on a postulated, listric fault that splays off the megathrust at depth of about 12 km and outcrops on the continental slope south-southeast of Middleton Island.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Strain accumulation across the Prince William Sound asperity, Southcentral Alaska
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1002/2014JB011652
Volume 120
Issue 3
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Richmond, VA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 1820
Last page 1832
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N