Interseismic Coupling and Slow Slip Events on the Cascadia Megathrust

Sylvain Michel, Adriano Gualandi, Jean Philippe Avouac

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41 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we model geodetic strain accumulation along the Cascadia subduction zone between 2007.0 and 2017.632 using position time series from 352 continuous GPS stations. First, we use the secular linear motion to determine interseismic locking along the megathrust. We determine two end member models, assuming that the megathrust is either a priori locked or creeping, which differ essentially along the trench where the inversion is poorly constrained by the data. In either case, significant locking of the megathrust updip of the coastline is needed. The downdip limit of the locked portion lies ∼ 20–80 km updip from the coast assuming a locked a priori, but very close to the coast for a creeping a priori. Second, we use a variational Bayesian Independent Component Analysis (vbICA) decomposition to model geodetic strain time variations, an approach which is effective to separate the geodetic strain signal due to non-tectonic and tectonic sources. The Slow Slip Events (SSEs) kinematics is retrieved by linearly inverting for slip on the megathrust the Independent Components related to these transient phenomena. The procedure allows the detection and modelling of 64 SSEs which spatially and temporally match with the tremors activity. SEEs and tremors occur well inland from the coastline and follow closely the estimated location of the mantle wedge corner. The transition zone, between the locked portion of the megathrust and the zone of tremors, is creeping rather steadily at the long-term slip rate and probably buffers the effect of SSEs on the megathrust seismogenic portion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3867-3891
Number of pages25
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2019


  • Cascadia megathrust
  • interseismic coupling
  • slow slip events
  • variational bayesian independent component analysis


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