Shallow microearthquakes near Chongqing, China triggered by the Rayleigh waves of the 2015 M7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
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Abstract

We present a case of remotely triggered seismicity in Southwest China by the 2015/04/25 M7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake. A local magnitude ML3.8 event occurred near the Qijiang district south of Chongqing city approximately 12 min after the Gorkha mainshock. Within 30km of this ML3.8 event there are 62 earthquakes since 2009 and only 7 ML>3events, which corresponds to a likelihood of 0.3% for a ML>3on any given day by a random chance. This observation motivates us to investigate the relationship between the ML3.8 event and the Gorkha mainshock. The ML3.8 event is listed in the China Earthquake National Center (CENC) catalog and occurred at shallow depth (∼3km). By examining high-frequency waveforms, we identify a smaller local event (∼ML2.5) ∼15s before the ML3.8 event. Both events occurred during the first two cycles of the Rayleigh waves from the Gorkha mainshock. We perform seismic event detection based on envelope function and waveform matching by using the two events as templates. Both analyses found a statistically significant rate change during the mainshock, suggesting that they were indeed dynamically triggered by the Rayleigh waves. Both events occurred during the peak normal and dilatational stress changes (∼10–30 kPa), consistent with observations of dynamic triggering in other geothermal/volcanic regions. Although other recent events (i.e., the 2011 M9.1 Tohoku-Oki earthquake) produced similar peak ground velocities, the 2015 Gorkha mainshock was the only event that produced clear dynamic triggering in this region. The triggering site is close to hydraulic fracturing wells that began production in 2013–2014. Hence we suspect that fluid injections may increase the region’s susceptibility to remote dynamic triggering.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Shallow microearthquakes near Chongqing, China triggered by the Rayleigh waves of the 2015 M7.8 Gorkha, Nepal earthquake
Series title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.09.024
Volume 479
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 231
Last page 240
Country China
City Chongqing