What caused the March 25, 1998 Antarctic Plate earthquake?: Inferences from regional stress and strain rate fields



We investigate possible driving forces behind the occurrence of the 1998 Antarctic plate earthquake. We determine first a regional strain rate field associated with the accommodation of relative plate motion, and second, a vertically averaged minimum deviatoric stress field associated with lithospheric gravitational potential energy differences and deglaciation of the Antarctic ice cap. We find that the mechanism of this event is inconsistent with strain orientations inferred from kinematic modeling of a diffuse zone of deformation within the triple junction region. Stress perturbations associated with deglaciation cannot be ruled out as a triggering mechanism for this event.