Authors: Fida Medina, Taj-Eddine Cherkaoui
We expose the results of the study of the south-western Alboran seismic sequence of January-March 2016 and the stress perturbations it caused by means of Coulomb modeling. The use of data from numerous stations allowed us to relocate the largest events (Mw ≥ 3.8) south of those determined by IGN (Spain). The main shock of 25 January 2016 (Mw = 6.3) was relocated at 35.6133°N × 3.6888°W, at a hypocentral depth of 15.5 ± 6.0 km. The epicenters are aligned along two distinct clusters: The first runs N-S towards the Moroccan coast along Al-Idrissi fracture zone, while the second is centered on the Alboran ridge northern thrust fault. The focal mechanisms determined by different agencies correspond to a strike-slip/normal/reverse motion in the western cluster and thrusting in the eastern one. Coulomb stress change modeling shows that the main earthquake: (1) may have been triggered by stress accumulation by the 1994 and 2004 earthquakes; (2) has induced stress perturbations that provide a suitable explanation for the distribution of the aftershock clusters, including the eastern cluster. The prediction of the next event shows that it is likely to occur near the Moroccan coast.
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