Structure and seismogenic properties of the Mentawai segment of the Sumatra subduction zone revealed by local earthquake traveltime tomography



[1] On 12 September 2007, an Mw8.4 earthquake occurred within the southern section of the Mentawai segment of the Sumatra subduction zone, where the subduction thrust had previously ruptured in 1833 and 1797. Traveltime data obtained from a temporary local seismic network, deployed between December 2007 and October 2008 to record the aftershocks of the 2007 event, was used to determine two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) velocity models of the Mentawai segment. The seismicity distribution reveals significant activity along the subduction interface and within two clusters in the overriding plate either side of the forearc basin. The downgoing slab is clearly distinguished by a dipping region of highVp (8.0 km/s), which can be a traced to ∼50 km depth, with an increased Vp/Vs ratio (1.75 to 1.90) beneath the islands and the western side of the forearc basin, suggesting hydrated oceanic crust. Above the slab, a shallow continental Moho of less than 30 km depth can be inferred, suggesting that the intersection of the continental mantle with the subducting slab is much shallower than the downdip limit of the seismogenic zone despite localized serpentinization being present at the toe of the mantle wedge. The outer arc islands are characterized by low Vp (4.5–5.8 km/s) and high Vp/Vs (greater than 2.0), suggesting that they consist of fluid saturated sediments. The very low rigidity of the outer forearc contributed to the slow rupture of the Mw 7.7 Mentawai tsunami earthquake on 25 October 2010.