Isolated Triggered Tremor Spots in South America: Southern Chile, Ecuador, and Central Colombia


We report new observations of triggered tectonic tremor in three regions in South America along the plate boundary between the Nazca and South America plates: southern Chile, Ecuador, and central Colombia. In these regions, tremor was observed during the passage of large-amplitude surface waves of recent large earthquakes, which occurred in South America and around the world. In southern Chile, triggered tremor was observed around an ambient tremor active zone in the Chile triple junction region. In Ecuador and central Colombia, only one seismic station in each region recorded triggered tremor. With a single-station approach, we are able to estimate potential tremor sources in these regions. Triggered tremor in Ecuador is likely associated with an inland fault near the volcanic region. In central Colombia, triggered tremor may be associated with the Romeral fault system rather than the subduction zone interface. In addition, we summarize global observations of tremor-triggering stress and background ambient tremor activity in 24 tremor-active regions. Based on the global summary of triggered and ambient tremor activity, the relative lack of triggered tremor in central and northern Chile and Peru is consistent with the lack of background tremor activity in these regions, suggesting tectonic tremor occurs only in isolated regions along major faults.

Seismological Research Letters
William B. Frank
William B. Frank
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on how the Earth’s crust deforms over a broad range spatiotemporal scales.