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postseismic, afterslip, gps

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The Nicoya Peninsula in northwest Costa Rica overlies a section of the subduction megathrust along the Middle America Trench. On 5 September 2012, a moment magnitude 7.6 megathrust earthquake occurred beneath a dense network of continuous GPS and seismic stations. Many of the GPS stations recorded the event at high rate, 1 Hz or better. We analyze the temporal and spatial evolution of surface deformation after the earthquake. Our results show that the main rupture was followed by significant afterslip within the first 3 h following the main event. The behavior of the surface displacement can be represented by relaxation processes with three characteristic times: 7, 70, and more than 400 days. We assume that the long relaxation time corresponds to viscoelastic relaxation and the intermediate relaxation time corresponds to afterslip on the main fault. The short relaxation time may represent a combination of rapid afterslip, poroelastic adjustment in the upper crust, or other processes. During the first few months that followed the earthquake, afterslip likely released a significant amount of slip deficit still present following the coseismic rupture, in particular updip of the rupture. Afterslip seems to be bounded updip by regions affected by slow slip events prior to the earthquake, suggesting that the two processes are influenced by different frictional properties.

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Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 16, issue 6, p. 1848-1864

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