Implications of recent asperity failures and aseismic creep for time-dependent earthquake hazard on the Hayward fault

Manoochehr Shirzaei, Roland Bürgmann, Taka'aki Taira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The probability of large seismic events on a particular fault segment may vary due to external stress changes imparted by nearby deformation events, including other earthquakes and aseismic processes, such as fault creep and postseismic relaxation. The Hayward fault (HF), undergoing both seismic and aseismic fault slip, provides a unique opportunity to study the mutual relation of seismic and aseismic processes on a fault system. We use surface deformation data obtained from InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar), creepmeters and alinement arrays, together with constraints provided by repeating earthquakes to investigate the kinematics of fault creep on the northern HF and its relation to two seismic clusters (Mw≤4.1) in October 2011 and March 2012, and an Mw 4.2 event in July 2007. Recurrences of nearby repeating earthquakes show that these episodes involved both seismic and aseismic slip. We model the stress changes due to fault creep and the recent seismic activity on the locked central asperity of the HF, which is believed to be the rupture zone of past and future M~7 earthquakes. The results show that the shallow fault creep stresses the major locked central patch at an average rate of 0.001-0.003MPa/yr, in addition to background stressing at 0.01-0.015MPa/yr. Given the time-dependent nature of the creep, occasional deviations from this stressing rate occur. We find that the 2011 seismic cluster occurred in areas on the fault that are stressed up to 0.01MPa/yr due to aseismic slip on the surrounding segments, suggesting that the occurrence of these events was encouraged by the fault creep. Changes in the probability of major earthquakes can be estimated from the imparted stress from the recent earthquakes and associated fault creep transients. We estimate that the 1-day probability of a large event on the HF only increased by up to 0.18% and 0.05% due to the static stress increase and stressing rate change by the 2011 and 2012 clusters. For the July 2007 south Oakland event (Mw 4.2) the estimated increase of short-term probabilities is 50%, highlighting the importance of short-term probability changes due to transient stress changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Creep on Hayward fault
  • Inverse modeling
  • Operational earthquake forecasting
  • Repeating earthquakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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