Using systematically characterized low-frequency earthquakes as a fault probe in Guerrero, Mexico


Studies of low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) have focused on detecting events within previously identified tectonic tremor. However, the principal LFE detection tools of matched-filter searches are intrinsically incapable of detecting events that have not already been characterized previously as a template event. In this study, we therefore focus on generating the largest number possible of LFE templates by uniformly applying a recently developed LFE template detection method to a 2.5 yearlong data set in Guerrero, Mexico. Using each of the detected templates in a matched-filter search, we then form event families that each represents a single source. We finally develop simple, empirical statistics to select the event families that represent LFEs. Our resulting catalog contains 1120 unique LFE sources and a total of 1,849,486 detected LFEs over the 2.5 year-long data set. The locations of the LFE sources are then divided into subcatalogs based on their distance from the subduction trench. Considering each LFE as a small unit of slip along the subduction interface, we observe discrete episodes of LFE activity in the region associated with large slow-slip events; this is in direct contrast to the near-continuous activity observed 35 km farther downdip within the previously identified LFE/tremor sweet spot.

Journal of Geophysical Research
William B. Frank
William B. Frank
Assistant Professor

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