• Seismicity and Stresses in the Kantishna Seismic Cluster, Central Alaska

      Burris, Lea A. (2007-12)
      The Kantishna Cluster is an enigmatic and energetic cluster of earthquakes located in central Alaska, just to the northwest of Mt. McKinley/Denali and adjacent to the Denali Fault. The Kantishna Cluster has no visible fault traces, and is often speculated to have a connection to the Denali Fault. The Kantishna Cluster is located at a hub of tectonic activity including Bering Block rotation to the west, bookshelf faulting to the northeast, and rotation of southern Alaska due to Pacific plate convergence to the south. The intention of this study was to broaden the knowledge base about the Kantishna Cluster and use the Mw 7.9 Denali Fault earthquake to find a relationship between the cluster and the Denali Fault Zone. Rate calculations in conjunction with z- and b-value changes show that the Denali Fault earthquake had little influence on the seismicity of the Kantishna Cluster, with the exception being the southern most portion closest to the Denali Fault. The highly variable background rate of seismicity in the Kantishna Cluster makes seeing changes in the seismicity difficult. Stress tensor inversions suggest a change in the stresses in the Kantishna Cluster; however, triangle diagram comparisons show that the pattern of earthquake mechanism types did not change. Coulomb stress change calculations predict small changes that were not observed in the data. Double difference hypocentral relocations show that the cloud of earthquakes collapses down to several distinct features. Seismicity trends resolved from hypocentral relocations made it possible to infer fault planes or planar structures in the region. The newly uncovered structures are utilized in the formation of a model involving two wedges to describe the seismicity in the Kantishna Cluster. The two wedges are being “squeezed” in opposite directions accommodating for compression across the cluster due to Pacific plate convergence.