Mechanism Diversity of the Loma Prieta Aftershocks and the Mechanics of Mainshock-Aftershock Interaction

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Science  08 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5092, pp. 210-213
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5092.210


The diverse aftershock sequence of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake is inconsistent with conventional models of mainshock-aftershock interaction because the aftershocks do not accommodate mainshock-induced stress changes. Instead, the sense of slip of the aftershocks is consistent with failure in response to a nearly uniaxial stress field in which the maximum principal stress acts almost normal to the mainshock fault plane. This orientation implies that (i) stress drop in the mainshock was nearly complete, (ii) mainshock-induced decreases of fault strength helped were important in controlling the occurrence of after-shocks, and (iii) mainshock rupture was limited to those sections of the fault with preexisting shear stress available to drive fault slip.