Plate interaction in the NE Caribbean subduction zone from continuous GPS observations
Table S1: Information about continuous GPS site locations, observation span and velocities in ITRF08 and Caribbean reference frame. (117.5Kb)
Table S2: Comparison of various Caribbean Euler poles in a fixed North America reference frame. (121.5Kb)
ten Brink, Uri S.
Lopez-Venegas, Alberto M.
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KeywordLesser Antilles; Puerto Rico trench; Virgin Islands; Earthquake hazard; Subduction zone coupling; Tsunami hazard
Kinematic similarities between the Sumatra and Puerto Rico Trenches highlight the potential for a mega-earthquake along the Puerto Rico Trench and the generation of local and trans-Atlantic tsunamis. We used the horizontal components of continuous GPS (cGPS) measurements from 10 sites on NE Caribbean islands to evaluate strain accumulation along the North American (NA) – Caribbean (CA) plate boundary. These sites move westward and slightly northward relative to CA interior at rates ≤2.5 mm/y. Provided this motion originates in the subduction interface, the northward motion suggests little or no trench-perpendicular thrust accumulation and may in fact indicate divergence north of Puerto Rico, where abnormal subsidence, bathymetry, and gravity are observed. The Puerto Rico Trench, thus, appears unable to generate mega-earthquakes, but damaging smaller earthquakes cannot be discounted. The westward motion, characterized by decreasing rate with distance from the trench, is probably due to eastward motion of CA plate impeded at the plate boundary by the Bahamas platform. Two additional cGPS sites in Mona Passage and SW Puerto Rico move to the SW similar to Hispaniola and unlike the other 10 sites. That motion relative to the rest of Puerto Rico may have given rise to seismicity and normal faults in Mona Rift, Mona Passage, and SW Puerto Rico.
This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 39 (2012): L10304, doi:10.1029/2012GL051485.
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ten Brink, Uri S. (Elsevier B.V., 2009-03-28)Assessment of natural hazards typically relies on analysis of past occurrences of similar disaster events. Assessment of tsunami hazard to the Atlantic coast of the Unites States poses a scientific challenge because of the ...
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Reply to a comment by Carol S. Prentice, Paul Mann, and Luis R. Peña on: “Historical perspective on seismic hazard to Hispaniola and the northeast Caribbean region” by U. ten Brink et al. ten Brink, Uri S.; Bakun, William H.; Flores, Claudia H. (John Wiley & Sons, 2013-04-19)