Poroelastic stress-triggering of the 2005 M8.7 Nias earthquake by the 2004 M9.2 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake
The M9.2 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake (SAE) occurred three months prior to the M8.7 Nias earthquake (NE). We propose that the NE was mechanically triggered by the SAE, and that poroelastic effects were a major component of this triggering. This study uses 3D finite element models (FEMs) of the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone (SASZ) to predict the deformation, stress, and pore pressure fields of the SAE. The coseismic slip distribution for the SAE is calibrated to near-field GPS data using FEM-generated Green's Functions and linear inverse methods. The calibrated FEM is then used to predict the postseismic poroelastic contribution to stress-triggering along the rupture surface of the NE, which is adjacent to the southern margin of the SAE. The coseismic deformation of the SAE, combined with the rheologic configuration of the SASZ produces two transient fluid flow regimes having separate time constants. SAE coseismic pore pressures in the relatively shallow forearc and volcanic arc regions (within a few km depth) dissipate within one month after the SAE. However, pore pressures in the oceanic crust of the down-going slab persist several months after the SAE. Predictions suggest that the SAE initially induced MPa-scale negative pore pressure near the hypocenter of the NE. This pore pressure slowly recovered (increased) during the three-month interval separating the SAE and NE due to lateral migration of pore fluids, driven by coseismic pressure gradients, within the subducting oceanic crust. Because pore pressure is a fundamental component of Coulomb stress, the MPa-scale increase in pore pressure significantly decreased stability of the NE fault during the three-month interval after the SAE and prior to rupture of the NE. A complete analysis of stress-triggering due to the SAE must include a poroelastic component. Failure to include poroelastic mechanics will lead to an incomplete model that cannot account for the time interval between the SAE and NE. Our transient poroelastic model explains both the spatial and temporal characteristics of triggering of the NE by the SAE.