Articles | Volume 13, issue 3
Research article
01 Apr 2022
Research article |  | 01 Apr 2022

Earthquake ruptures and topography of the Chilean margin controlled by plate interface deformation

Nadaya Cubas, Philippe Agard, and Roxane Tissandier

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Subject area: Tectonic plate interactions, magma genesis, and lithosphere deformation at all scales | Editorial team: Structural geology and tectonics, paleoseismology, rock physics, experimental deformation | Discipline: Tectonics
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Cited articles

Adam, J. and Reuther, C.-D.: Crustal dynamics and active fault mechanics during subduction erosion. Application of frictional wedge analysis on to the North Chilean Forearc, Tectonophysics, 321, 297–325, 2000. a, b
Agard, P., Plunder, A., Angiboust, S., Bonnet, G., and Ruh, J.: The subduction plate interface: rock record and mechanical coupling (from long to short timescales), Lithos, 320, 537–566, 2018. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i
Amante, C. and Eakins, B. W.: ETOPO1 1 arc-minute global relief model: procedures, data sources and analysis, Boulder, Coloorado U.S., Deptartment of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Geophysical Data Center, Marine Geology and Geophysics Division, (last access: 15 February 2017), 2009. a
Bangs, N. L., Morgan, J., Tréhu, A., Contreras-Reyes, E., Arnulf, A., Han, S., Olsen, K., and Zhang, E.: Basal accretion along the south central Chilean margin and its relationship to great earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res.-Sol. Ea., 125, e2020JB019861,, 2020. a, b
Bassett, D. and Watts, A. B.: Gravity anomalies, crustal structure, and seismicity at subduction zones: 2. Interrelationships between fore-arc structure and seismogenic behavior, Geochem. Geophy. Geosy., 16, 1541–1576, 2015. a
Short summary
Earthquake extent prediction is limited by our poor understanding of slip deficit patterns. From a mechanical analysis applied along the Chilean margin, we show that earthquakes are bounded by extensive plate interface deformation. This deformation promotes stress build-up, leading to earthquake nucleation; earthquakes then propagate along smoothed fault planes and are stopped by heterogeneously distributed deformation. Slip deficit patterns reflect the spatial distribution of this deformation.