Seismicity relocation and fault structure near the Leech River Fault Zone, southern Vancouver Island
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CitationLi, G., Liu, Y., Regalla., C, and Morell K. "Seismicity relocation and fault structure near the Leech River Fault Zone, southern Vancouver Island." Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth,
Relatively low rates of seismicity and fault loading have made it challenging to correlate microseismicity to mapped surface faults on the forearc of southern Vancouver Island. Here we use precise relocations of microsciesmicity integrated with existing geologic data, to present the first identification of subsurface seismogenic structures associated with the Leech River fault zone (LRFZ) on southern Vancouver Island. We used HypoDD double difference relocation method to relocate 1253 earthquakes reported by the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN) catalog from 1985 to 2015. Our results reveal an ~8-10 km wide, NNE-dipping zone of seismicity representing a subsurface structure along the eastern 30 km of the terrestrial LRFZ and extending 20 km farther eastward offshore, where the fault bifurcates beneath the Juan de Fuca Strait. Using a clustering analysis we identify secondary structures within the NNE-dipping fault zone, many of which are sub-vertical and exhibit right-lateral strike-slip focal mechanisms. We suggest that the arrangement of these near-vertical dextral secondary structures within a more general NE-dipping fault zone, located well beneath (10-15 km) the Leech River fault (LRF) as imaged by LITHOPROBE, may be a consequence of the reactivation of this fault system as a right-lateral structure in the crust with pre-existing NNE-dipping foliations. Our results provide the first confirmation of active terrestrial crustal faults on Vancouver Island using a relocation method. We suggest that slowly slipping active crustal faults, especially in regions with pre-existing foliations, may result in microseismicity along fracture arrays rather than along single planar structures.