Response of Regional Seismicity to the Static Stress Change Produced by the Loma Prieta Earthquake

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Science  27 Mar 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5052, pp. 1687-1690
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5052.1687


The 1989 Loma Prieta, California, earthquake perturbed the static stress field over a large area of central California. The pattern of stress changes on major faults in the region predicted by models of the earthquake's dislocation agrees closely with changes in the regional seismicity rate after the earthquake. The agreement is best for models with low values of the coefficient of friction (0.1 ≤ µ ≤ 0.3) on Bay Area faults. Both the stress models and measurements suggest that stresses were increased on the San Andreas fault north of the Loma Prieta rupture, but decreased slightly on the Hayward fault. This relaxation does not warrant lower probability estimates for large earthquakes on the Hayward fault in the next 30 years, however.

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