Journal Article

Crustal velocity model along the southern Cuban margin: implications for the tectonic regime at an active plate boundary

Bladimir Moreno, Margaret Grandison and Kuvvet Atakan

in Geophysical Journal International

Volume 151, issue 2, pages 632-645
Published in print November 2002 | ISSN: 0956-540X
Published online November 2002 | e-ISSN: 1365-246X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2002.01810.x
Crustal velocity model along the southern Cuban margin: implications for the tectonic regime at an active plate boundary

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A new 1-D velocity model along the southern Cuban margin has been determined using local earthquake data, which are the result of the merged Cuban and Jamaican catalogues. Simultaneous inversion using joint-hypocentre determination was applied to solve the coupled hypocentre–velocity model problem. We obtained a seven-layer model with an average Moho interface at 20 km. The average velocity was found to be 7.6 km s−1 on the top of the crust–mantle transition zone and 6.9 km s−1 in the basaltic layer of the crust. The improvement in the earthquake locations allowed us for the first time to use local seismicity to characterize the activity on local faults and the stress regime in the area. For this purpose, 34 earthquake focal mechanisms were determined along the eastern segments of the Oriente Fault. These solutions are consistent with the known left-lateral strike-slip motion along this major structure as well as with the stress regime of two local structures: (1) the Cabo Cruz Basin and (2) the Santiago deformed belt. The first structure is dominated by normal faults with minor strike-slip components and the second by reverse faults. The shallow seismicity in the Cabo Cruz Basin is associated with fault planes trending N55°–58°E and dipping 38°–45° to the north. The Santiago deformed belt, on the other hand, exhibits diverse fault plane orientations. These local structures account for most of the earthquake activity along the southern Cuban margin. Deep seismicity observed in the Santiago deformed belt, supported by focal mechanisms, suggests underthrusting of the Gonave Microplate beneath the Cuban Block in this area. The principal stress orientations obtained from stress inversion of earthquake focal mechanisms suggest a thrust faulting regime along the Southern Cuban margin. We obtained a nearly horizontal σ1 and nearly vertical σ3, which indicates active compressional deformation along the major Oriente transcurrent fault in agreement with the dominant structural trend associated with the Santiago deformed belt.

Keywords: crustal structure; Cuba; focal mechanisms; seismicity; stress; tectonic; velocity model

Journal Article.  6973 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geophysics

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