Dynamic Triggering and Earthquake Swarms on East Pacific Rise Transform Faults


While dynamic earthquake triggering has been reported in several continental settings, offshore observations are rare. Oceanic transform faults share properties with continental geothermal areas known for dynamic triggering: high geothermal gradients, high seismicity rates, and frequent swarms. Here we study dynamic triggering along the East Pacific Rise by analyzing one year of seismicity recorded by Ocean Bottom Seismographs. By comparing the response to teleseismic waves from global earthquakes, we find triggering to be most sensitive to changes in normal stress, and to preferentially occur above 0.25 kPa. The clearest example of triggering occurs on the Quebrada and Gofar faults after the M w 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake. On Gofar, triggered seismicity occurs between the rupture areas of large earthquakes, within a zone characterized by aseismic slip, abundant microseismicity, frequent swarms and low Vp . We infer that lithological properties inhibiting rupture propagation, such as high porosity and fluid content, also favor dynamic triggering.