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Relocalizing a historical earthquake using recent methods: The 10 November 1935 Earthquake near Montserrat, Lesser Antilles

Abstract : This study investigates the hypothesis of Feuillet et al. (2011) that the hypocenter of the seismic event on November 10, 1935 near Montserrat, Lesser Antilles (MS 6 1/4) (Gutenberg and Richter, 1954) was mislocated by other authors and is actually located in the Montserrat-Havers fault zone. While this proposal was based both on a Ground Motion Prediction Equation and on the assumption that earthquakes in this region are bound to prominent fault systems, our study relies on earthquake localization methods using arrival times of the International Seismological Summary (ISS). Results of our methodology suggest that the hypocenter was really located at 16.90° N, 62.53° W. This solution is about 25 km north-west of the location proposed by Feuillet et al. (2011) within the Redonda fault system, northward of the Montserrat-Havers fault zone. As depth phases that contribute valuable insights to the focal depth are not included in the ISS data set and the reassociation of these phases is difficult, the error in depth is high. Taking into account tectonic constraints and the vertical extend of NonLinLoc's uncertainty area of the preferred solution we assume that the focus is most probably in the lower crust between 20 km and the Moho. Our approach shows that the information of the ISS can lead to a reliable solution even without an exhaustive search for seismograms and station bulletins. This is encouraging for a better assessment of seismic and tsunami hazard in the Caribbean, Mexico, South and Central America, where many moderate to large earthquakes occurred in the first half of the 20th century. The limitations during this early phase of seismology which complicate such relocations are described in detail in this study.
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Submitted on : Sunday, February 20, 2022 - 11:48:32 AM
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P. Niemz, D. Amorèse. Relocalizing a historical earthquake using recent methods: The 10 November 1935 Earthquake near Montserrat, Lesser Antilles. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 2016, 66, pp.166-179. ⟨10.1016/j.jsames.2015.12.010⟩. ⟨insu-03581666⟩



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