A seismic swarm near Neshkan, Chukotka, northeastern Russia, and implications for the boundary of the Bering plate
- 1Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
- 2Northeast Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute, Portovaya 16, Magadan 685000, Russia
- 3Magadan Affiliate, Geophysical Survey of Russia, Russian Academy of Sciences, Skuridina 6b, Magadan 685024, Russia
Abstract. A seismic swarm lasting over two years occurred near the village of Neshkan, Chukotka, far northeastern Russia, beginning with a ML, 4.2 (4.1 mb) earthquake on 9 December 2002. The swarm generated considerable anxiety among the local populace and authorities. Two temporary seismic stations were deployed during the latter part of September 2003, and recorded over 150 events with magnitudes up to 3.0. Eighteen locatable events appear to form a northeast striking linear trend, parallel to other seismicity trends in Chukotka, extending 20 km to the southwest from the village. We interpret this trend as a previously unknown fault. A small pond located ~1 km west of the village drained and some apparent surface deformation was observed over the course of the earthquake sequence. Relocation of historic seismicity in the region shows that a magnitude 6.0 in 1996 may have ruptured an adjacent fault segment. Other, less well located but larger, teleseismic events earlier in the 20th century may also have occurred on or near this fault. The seismicity is consistent a proposed region of transtension along the northern boundary of a Bering plate.