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Revista mexicana de ciencias geológicas

versión On-line ISSN 2007-2902versión impresa ISSN 1026-8774


ALVARADO, Patricia; SANCHEZ, Gerardo; SAEZ, Mauro  y  CASTRO DE MACHUCA, Brígida. New evidence for the seismic activity of the Cuyania terrane in the flat slab subduction region of Argentina. Rev. mex. cienc. geol [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.2, pp.278-291. ISSN 2007-2902.

The Cuyania terrane in the Andean backarc region between 29°S and 34°S consists of the thin-skinned Precordillera fold and thrust belt and of the Western Sierras Pampeanas thick-skinned basement cored uplifts. At about 31°S, the region is highly seismically active at crustal levels (< 35 km depth) and intermediate depths (~100 km). This deeper seismic activity delimitates the Wadati-Benioff zone showing a geometry of the subducted Nazca plate nearly horizontal beneath South America in good correlation with the location of the Juan Fernandez ridge, which seems to continue its subduction to the northeast beneath the continental plate. In this paper we present the results of the seismic moment tensor inversion forfive crustal earthquakes that occurred in 2008 and 2009 with epicenters in the Cuyania terrane and its boundaries. We provide refined information of the seismic location, seismic moment (M0), moment magnitude (Mw), focal depth and fault parameters of the focal mechanisms for these earthquakes. The seismic source characterization was obtained after modeling the three component full seismic broadband waveforms recorded by the Sierras Pampeanas Experiment using a Multicomponent BRoadband Array (SIEMBRA) local network. The earthquakes show magnitudes Mw between 3.5 and 5.3, dip-slip focal mechanisms and focal depths between 5 and 30 km, which are consistent with previous constraints in the same area using similar inversion techniques. The earthquake deformation is expected according to the compressional stress regime estimated in the crust of the Cuyania terrane over the flat slab subduction segment. The properties of the Cuyania terrane (thick crust of about 50 km thickness; high P-wave velocity; high P- to S-wave velocity ratio and high density in its deeper levels), of the upper mantle between the Wadati-Benioff zone and the Moho, and a stronger coupling between the oceanic and continental lithospheres may favor the transference of stresses from the coupled zone in the west to more extended inland areas located 500 km to the east causing a higher generation of crustal earthquakes in the Cuyania terrane in comparison to adjacent crustal terranes.

Palabras llave : flat slab; Western Sierras Pampeanas; Cuyania terrane; Andean crustal seismicity.

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