Deformation across the rupture zone of the 1964 Alaska earthquake, 1993–1997

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



A linear array of 15 geodetic monuments was installed in 1993 across the rupture zone of the 1964 Alaska earthquake (Mw = 9.2). The array extends from Middleton Island (at the edge of the continental shelf and 80 km from the Alaska‐Aleutian trench) to north of Palmer, Alaska (380 km from the trench), in the approximate direction of Pacific‐North American plate convergence (N15.5°W). The array was surveyed in June 1993, May 1995, and June 1997. The changes between surveys are a measure of the deformation of the continental margin across the subduction zone in southern Alaska. Measured relative to the interior of the North American plate, the horizontal velocities on the outer plate margin are parallel to the direction of plate convergence (N15.5°W ) and reach a maximum (58 mm yr−1) about 150 km from the trench. Beyond about 300 km from the trench the observed horizontal velocities are small. A narrow (halfwidth 50 km) zone of significant uplift (10 mm yr−1 maximum) is observed about 300 km from the trench, coinciding roughly with the locus of maximum coseismic subsidence associated with the 1964 Alaska earthquake. Although the deformation is roughly described by the conventional model of deformation at a subduction zone (deformation due to virtual back slip on the main thrust zone at the 55 mm yr−1 plate convergence rate), a better fit is given with a 65 mm yr−1 virtual back (normal) slip rate. This higher rate is attributed to continued postseismic relaxation. The model does not explain the relatively high uplift rate and low N15.5°W velocity observed at Middleton Island. That anomalous motion is attributed to continued thrusting on postulated upward trending splays from the subduction zone beneath the island.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Deformation across the rupture zone of the 1964 Alaska earthquake, 1993–1997
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/98JB02048
Volume 103
Issue 9
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 21275
Last page 21283
Country United States
State Alaska
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