P>We study a large M-w = 7.6 earthquake that occurred on 2007 November 14 in the Northern Chile seismic gap near the city of Tocopilla. Using a variety of seismic data we show that this earthquake ruptured only the lower part of the interplate seismic zone and generated a series of plate interface aftershocks. Two large aftershocks on 2007 November 15 ruptured the interplate zone oceanwards of the Mejillones Peninsula, a major geographical feature in the Antofagasta region. On 2007 December 16, a large M-w = 6.8 aftershock, that occurred near the southern bottom of the fault plane of the main event, is shown to be a slab-push earthquake located inside the subducted Nazca Plate and triggered by along slab compression. Aftershocks of this event demonstrate that it occurred on an almost vertical fault. The Tocopilla earthquake took place just after the installation of a new seismological network by Chilean, German and French researchers. The accelerometric data combined with far field seismic data provide a quite complete and consistent view of the rupture process. The earthquake broke a long (130 km) and narrow (about 30-50 km) zone of the plate interface just above the transition zone. Using a non-linear kinematic inversion method, we determined that rupture occurred on two well-defined patches of roughly elliptical shape. We discuss the consequences of this event for models of gap filling earthquakes in Chile proposed in the 1970s.
Peyrat, S. Madariaga, R. Buforn, E. Campos, J. Asch, G. Vilotte, J. P.