Subducting oceanic basement roughness impacts on upper-plate tectonic structure and a backstop splay fault zone activated in the southern Kodiak aftershock region of the Mw 9.2, 1964 megathrust rupture, Alaska
In 1964, the Alaska margin ruptured in a giant Mw 9.2 megathrust earthquake, the second largest during worldwide instrumental recording. The coseismic slip and aftershock region offshore Kodiak Island was surveyed in 1977–1981 to understand the region's tectonics. We re-processed multichannel seismic (MCS) field data using current standard Kirchhoff depth migration and/or MCS traveltime tomography. Additional surveys in 1994 added P-wave velocity structure from wide-angle seismic lines and
... smic lines and multibeam bathymetry. Published regional gravity, backscatter, and earthquake compilations also became available at this time. Beneath the trench, rough oceanic crust is covered by ~3–5-km-thick sediment. Sediment on the subducting plate modulates the plate interface relief. The imbricate thrust faults of the accreted prism have a complex P-wave velocity structure. Landward, an accelerated increase in P-wave velocities is marked by a backstop splay fault zone (BSFZ) that marks a transition from the prism to the higher rigidity rock beneath the middle and upper slope. Structures associated with this feature may indicate fluid flow. Farther upslope, another fault extends >100 km along strike across the middle slope. Erosion from subducting seamounts leaves embayments in the frontal prism. Plate interface roughness varies along the subduction zone. Beneath the lower and middle slope, 2.5D plate interface images show modest relief, whereas the oceanic basement image is rougher. The 1964 earthquake slip maximum coincides with the leading and/or landward flank of a subducting seamount and the BSFZ. The BSFZ is a potentially active structure and should be considered in tsunami hazard assessments.