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Triggering of the 1999 MW 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake by aftershocks of the 1992 MW 7.3 Landers earthquake

Summary: Triggering of the 1999 MW 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake by aftershocks
of the 1992 MW 7.3 Landers earthquake
Karen R. Felzer, Thorsten W. Becker, Rachel E. Abercrombie, Go¨ran Ekstro¨m,
and James R. Rice1
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Received 9 August 2001; revised 19 February 2002; accepted 19 March 2002; published 19 September 2002.
[1] There is strong observational evidence that the 1999 MW 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake
in the Mojave Desert, California, was triggered by the nearby 1992 MW 7.3 Landers
earthquake. Many authors have proposed that the Landers earthquake directly stressed the
Hector Mine fault. Our model of the Landers aftershock sequence, however, suggests
there is an 85% chance that the Hector Mine hypocenter was actually triggered by a chain
of smaller earthquakes that was initiated by the Landers main shock. We perform our
model simulations using the Monte Carlo method based on the Gutenberg-Richter
relationship, Omori's law, Ba°th's law, and assumptions that all earthquakes, including
aftershocks, are capable of producing aftershocks and that aftershocks produce their own
aftershocks at the same rate that other earthquakes do. In general, our simulations show
that if it has been more than several days since an M ! 7 main shock, most new
aftershocks will be the result of secondary triggering. These secondary aftershocks are not
physically constrained to occur where the original main shock increased stress. This may
explain the significant fraction of aftershocks that have been found to occur in main shock


Source: Abercrombie, Rachel E. - Department of Earth Sciences, Boston University
Becker, Thorsten W. - Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California
Felzer, Karen - Earthquake Hazards Program, U.S. Geological Survey
Rice, James R.- Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences & School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University


Collections: Geosciences