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Earthquake Swarms, Slow Slip and Fault Interactions at the Western‐End of the Hellenic Subduction System Precede the Mw6.9 Zakynthos Earthquake, Greece

Authors

Mouslopoulou,  V.
0 Pre-GFZ, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Bocchini,  Gian Maria
2.1 Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, 2.0 Geophysics, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

/persons/resource/cesca

Cesca,  Simone
2.1 Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, 2.0 Geophysics, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

/persons/resource/salto

Saltogianni,  V
1.1 Space Geodetic Techniques, 1.0 Geodesy, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

/persons/resource/jbed

Bedford,  Jonathan
4.1 Lithosphere Dynamics, 4.0 Geosystems, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

/persons/resource/gesap

Petersen,  G.
2.1 Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, 2.0 Geophysics, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Gianniou,  Michael
External Organizations;

/persons/resource/oncken

Oncken,  O.
4.1 Lithosphere Dynamics, 4.0 Geosystems, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

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Citation

Mouslopoulou, V., Bocchini, G. M., Cesca, S., Saltogianni, V., Bedford, J., Petersen, G., Gianniou, M., Oncken, O. (2020): Earthquake Swarms, Slow Slip and Fault Interactions at the Western‐End of the Hellenic Subduction System Precede the Mw6.9 Zakynthos Earthquake, Greece. - Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G3), 21, 12, e2020GC009243.
https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GC009243


Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5004824
Abstract
The month‐to‐year‐long deformation of the Earth's crust where active subduction zones terminate is poorly explored. Here we report on a multidisciplinary data set that captures the synergy of slow‐slip events, earthquake swarms and fault interactions during the ∼5 years leading up to the 2018 Mw 6.9 Zakynthos Earthquake at the western termination of the Hellenic Subduction System (HSS). It appears that this long‐lasting preparatory phase initiated due to a slow‐slip event that lasted ∼4 months and released strain equivalent to a ∼Mw 6.3 earthquake. We propose that the slow‐slip event, which is the first to be reported in the HSS, tectonically destabilized the upper 20–40 km of the crust, producing alternating phases of seismic and aseismic deformation, including intense microseismicity (Mw < 4) on neighboring faults, earthquake swarms in the epicentral area of the Mw 6.9 earthquake ∼1.5 years before the main event, another episode of slow slip immediately preceding the mainshock and, eventually, the large (Mw 6.9) Zakynthos Earthquake. Tectonic instability in the area is evidenced by a prolonged (∼4 years) period of overall suppressed b‐values (<1) and strong earthquake interactions on discrete strike‐slip, thrust and normal faults. We propose that composite faulting patterns accompanied by alternating (seismic/aseismic) deformation styles may characterize multifault subduction‐termination zones and may operate over a range of timescales (from individual earthquakes to millions of years).