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Journal Article

Probing the seismic cycle timing with coseismic twisting of subduction margins


Corbi,  F.
External Organizations;


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

Poli,  P.
External Organizations;

Funiciello,  F.
External Organizations;


Deng,  Z.
1.1 Space Geodetic Techniques, 1.0 Geodesy, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

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Corbi, F., Bedford, J., Poli, P., Funiciello, F., Deng, Z. (2022): Probing the seismic cycle timing with coseismic twisting of subduction margins. - Nature Communications, 13, 1911.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5011391
Assessing the timing of great megathrust earthquakes is together crucial for seismic hazard analysis and deemed impossible. Geodetic instrumentation of subduction zones has revealed unexpected deformation patterns at subduction segments adjacent to those that hosted recent mega-earthquakes: coastal sites move landward with faster velocities than before the earthquake. Here, we show observations from the largest and best-monitored megathrust earthquakes, and from a scaled analog model, to reveal that these events create coseismic and postseismic deformation patterns typical of a complete gear-like rotation about a vertical axis, hereafter called twisting. We find that such twisting alters the interseismic velocity field of adjacent subduction segments depending on the time since the last earthquake. Early interactions accelerate while late interactions decelerate local kinematics. This finding opens the possibility of using megathrust earthquakes, the characteristics of the twisting pattern, and the ensuing geodetic velocity changes, as a proxy for estimating the timing of the seismic cycle at unruptured segments along the margin.