Slow Slip History for the MEXICO Subduction Zone: 2005 Through 2011

  • Shannon GrahamEmail author
  • Charles DeMets
  • Enrique Cabral-Cano
  • Vladimir Kostoglodov
  • Baptiste Rousset
  • Andrea Walpersdorf
  • Nathalie Cotte
  • Cécile Lasserre
  • Robert McCaffrey
  • Luis Salazar-Tlaczani
Part of the Pageoph Topical Volumes book series (PTV)


To further our understanding of the seismically hazardous Mexico subduction zone, we estimate the first time-dependent slip distributions and Coulomb failure stress changes for the six major slow slip events (SSEs) that occurred below Mexico between late 2005 and mid-2011. Slip dist ributions are the first to be estimated from all continuous GPS data in central and southern Mexico, which better resolves slow slip in space and time than was previously possible in this region. Below Oaxaca, slip during previously un-modeled SSEs in 2008/9 and 2010/11 extended farther to the west than previous SSEs. This constitutes the first evidence that slow slip accounts for deep slip within a previously noted gap between the Oaxaca and Guerrero SSE source regions. The slip that we estimate for the two SSEs that originated below Guerrero between 2005 and 2011 agrees with slip estimated in previous, mostly static-offset SSE modeling studies; however, we show that both SSEs migrated eastward toward the Oaxaca SSE source region. In accord with previous work, we find that slow slip below Guerrero intrudes up-dip into the potentially seismogenic region, presumably accounting for some of the missing slip within the well-described Guerrero seismic gap. In contrast, slow slip below Oaxaca between 2005 and 2011 occurred mostly down-dip from the seismogenic regions defined by the rupture zones of large thrust earthquakes in 1968 and 1978 and released all of the slip deficit that accumulated in the down-dip region during this period.


Slow slip events earthquake cycle Mexico subduction zone global positioning system 


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Funding was provided in part by National Science Foundation Grants EAR-1114174 (DeMets). Portions of the GPS network were supported by the National Science Foundation under award EAR-1338091; by UNAM-PAPIIT projects IN104213-2 and IN109315-3 (Cabral-Cano); by CONACYT 178058 and PAPIIT IN110514 (Kostoglodov); and by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) under contract RA0000CO69 (G-GAP). Part of the GPS data was obtained by the Servicio Sismológico Nacional (SSN, México); we acknowledge Sara Franco Sanchez and the rest of SSN’s personnel for its acquisition and data distribution support. Graphics were prepared with Generic Mapping Tools software (Wessel and Smith 1991). We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 4560 kb) (15.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (MOV 15663 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon Graham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles DeMets
    • 2
  • Enrique Cabral-Cano
    • 3
  • Vladimir Kostoglodov
    • 3
  • Baptiste Rousset
    • 4
  • Andrea Walpersdorf
    • 4
  • Nathalie Cotte
    • 4
  • Cécile Lasserre
    • 4
  • Robert McCaffrey
    • 5
  • Luis Salazar-Tlaczani
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeoscienceUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  4. 4.ISTerre, CNRS, Univ. Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance
  5. 5.Department of GeologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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