Focal Mechanisms and Variations in Tectonic Stress Fields in Eastern Canada (Western Quebec and Southern Ontario)

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Date
2012-06-19
Authors
Asgharzadeh Sadegh, Parisa
Keyword
Earth Science , Geophysics
Abstract
Earthquakes in western Quebec and southern Ontario present a major contribution to the natural hazards in south eastern Canada due to their proximity to major population centres. However, the seismic characteristics of the events in these regions have not been well documented. Improved knowledge of earthquake distribution and seismic controlling mechanisms provides a great benefit for earthquake hazard analysis in eastern Canada. The available information about the tectonic stress indicators, including focal mechanisms, was compiled for Canada prior to 1994. The present research is concentrated mainly on determination of the focal mechanisms and hypocentre locations of the earthquakes after 1993 with M > 3.5 to characterize the present-day regional and local stress fields in southern Ontario and western Quebec. An attempt was also made to differentiate local zones with comparatively homogeneous tectonic stresses orientation and seismic regimes, thus providing information for future re-assessment of the seismic hazard in each region. Considering seismic parameters such as the trend of the epicentres, focal depths and the state of stress of the events along with their tectonic settings, ten distinct clusters have been proposed for western Quebec and two clusters of events were determined for southern Ontario with comparatively consistent focal mechanisms. The locations and characteristics of seismicity clusters appear to be consistent with the hypothesis that they are near the locations of large historic and prehistoric events, and represent exceptionally persistent aftershocks of past large earthquakes.
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