Low-frequency earthquakes in the Mexican sweet spot

William B. Frank, Nikolaï M. Shapiro, Vladimir Kostoglodov, Allen L. Husker, Michel Campillo, Juan S. Payero, Germán A. Prieto

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


We use data from the Meso-America Subduction Experiment to detect and locate low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) in the Mexican subduction zone. We use visually-identified templates to perform a network waveform correlation search that produced ∼17,000 robustly detected LFEs that form 15 distinct families. Stacking an LFE family's corresponding detections results in seismograms with high signal-to-noise ratios and clear P and S wave arrivals; we use these travel times to locate the sources. The resulting locations superpose a previously identified region of permanent non-volcanic tremor (NVT) activity. Husker et al. (2012) called this region a Sweet Spot, suggesting that the local conditions are adequate to continuously generate NVT. The LFE hypocenters have been located at a depth of 40-45 km in an area that is surrounding the upper slab-plate interface. We characterize their focal mechanisms by comparing their stacked seismograms to synthetic seismograms. This analysis reveals a common low-dipping focal mechanism. © 2013 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2661-2666
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
StatePublished - Jun 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


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