Tectonic tremor characterized by principal-component analysis in the vicinity of central Chile and Argentina

Yohei Nishitsuji, Luis Franco Marín, Martín Gomez, C.A Rowe, Deyan Draganov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


No conclusive evidence has been presented to date for tectonic tremor (TT) in the vicinity of central Chile, where the Nazca Plate is subducting beneath the South American Plate. Subduction in our experimental location (roughly 35.5° S, 70.5° W) is steep and fairly unobstructed compared to the flattened and more seismogenic behavior to the north. We seek to identify TT in our experimental area, whose geodynamics are comparable to tremor-rich subduction zones such as Cascadia and the Nankai Trough. Our method combines time-series visual inspection, frequency-spectrum analysis, waveform cross-correlation, and 3-component (3C) signal covariance to explore the presence of TT in this region. We have identified TT using stations in central Chile and the Malargüe region, Argentina. The TT exhibits similar features to other TT observations worldwide. Waveform characteristics for the TT in our study, particularly dimension of the 3C signal covariance, vary as a function of apparent source location. The duration of one episode of identified TT was about 10 h, which may indicate that the plate interface where tremor generates is strongly coupled. We conclude that our observations reflect features of the local propagation, rather than the tremor source itself.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102178
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Argentina
  • Cross-correlation
  • Geophysics
  • Principal-component analysis
  • Tectonic tremor

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