Tectonic Tremor and Brittle Seismic Events Triggered along the Eastern Denali Fault in northwest Canada

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Deep tectonic tremor has been observed in a number of plate-bounding tectonic environments around the world. It can occur both spontaneously (i.e. ambient) and as a result of small stress perturbations from passing seismic waves (i.e. triggered). Because tremor occurs beneath the seismogenic zone (> 15 km), it is important to understand where and how tremor occurs to discern its relationship with shallower earthquakes. In this study, we search for triggered tremor and brittle seismic events along the Eastern Denali Fault (EDF) in northwest Canada, an intraplate strike-slip region where previously tremor has not been observed. We retrieve seismic data for 19 distant earthquakes from 9 broadband stations monitored by the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN). We apply high-pass or band-pass filters to the seismic data to suppress signals from distant events and search for local sources. Triggered tremor signals exhibit high-frequency contents, have long duration (> 15 s), are coincident with passing surface waves of the distant earthquakes, and are observable among nearby stations. Using this simple approach, we have identified 4 mainshocks that triggered tremor in our study region: the 2011/03/11 Mw9.1 Tohoku, 2012/04/11 Mw8.6 Sumatra, 2012/10/28 Mw7.7 Haida Gwaii, and 2013/01/05 Mw7.5 Craige earthquakes. Our initial locations indicate that the tremor source occurs on or near the southeastern portion of the EDF near the fault trace. In addition to the triggered tremor sources, we also identified many 'brittle' events with very short durations triggered by the Rayleigh waves of the 2012/10/28 Mw7.7 Haida Gwaii earthquake. While we were unable to locate these brittle events, they appear to be seismically similar to triggered icequakes observed in Antarctica (Peng et al., 2013) and occur during the dilatational strain changes caused by the Rayleigh waves.

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Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in December 2013 in San Francisco, CA