Early aftershocks and afterslip surrounding the 2015 Mw 8.4 Illapel rupture

Hui Huang, Wenbin Xu, Lingsen Meng, Roland B�rgmann, Juan Carlos Baez

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31 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016 Elsevier B.V. On 16 September 2015, the Mw 8.4 Illapel earthquake ruptured a section of the subduction thrust on the west coast of central Chile. The mainshock was followed by numerous aftershocks including some normal-faulting events near the trench. We apply a template matching approach to improve the completeness of early aftershocks within one month of the mainshock. To constrain the distribution of afterslip, we utilize repeating earthquakes among the aftershocks and perform a joint slip inversion of postseismic GPS and InSAR data. The results show that the aftershock zone abruptly expands to the south ∼14 h after the mainshock while growing relatively continuously to the north within the first day. The repeating earthquakes accompanying the early expansion suggest that aseismic afterslip on the subduction thrust surrounding the coseismic rupture is an important triggering mechanism of aftershocks in addition to stress transfer or poroelastic effects. An energetic earthquake sequence near the trench initiated with a M 4.6 event ∼3.5 h after the mainshock, suggesting delayed triggering by the static or dynamic stress changes induced by the mainshock. The spatial distribution of repeating earthquakes and the geodetic-inverted afterslip are consistent and appear to wrap around the large coseismic slip patch. Both data sets suggest that the largest cumulative afterslip is located at ∼30.5�S to the north of the mainshock rupture zone. The estimated postseismic moment released in the first ∼24 days of afterslip is equivalent to an earthquake of Mw 7.5. The afterslip illuminates the velocity strengthening sections of the plate interface that surround the mainshock rupture, consistent with plate coupling models inferred from interseismic GPS velocities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-291
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • 2015 Mw 8.4 Illapel earthquake
  • early aftershocks
  • early afterslip
  • repeating earthquakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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