The Pucallpa Nest and its constraints on the geometry of the Peruvian Flat Slab

Lara S. Wagner*, Emile A Okal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Seismic nests (or clusters) are typically defined as regions of high seismic activity at intermediate depths that do not move over time and are not associated with volcanic activity at the surface (e.g. Zarifi and Havskov, 2003; Zarifi et al., 2007; Prieto et al., 2012). In this study, we focus on a seismic nest located in central Peru beneath the Amazon basin city of Pucallpa. The location of this nest is just beyond the eastern-most extent of the Peruvian flat slab, similar to the settings of two other South American clusters, the Bucaramanga and Pipanaco nests. While the Pucallpa nest is visible in the figures of many earlier papers on intermediate depth South American seismicity, it has not to our knowledge been described as a seismic nest before. We present the first detailed description of the Pucallpa nest, compare it to other established nests, and discuss its implications for our understanding of the Peruvian flat slab. Our results indicate that the Pucallpa nest demarcates the northern margin of a sag in the horizontally subducting Nazca plate in central Peru. The position of the nest along the projected location of the downgoing Mendaña fracture zone is consistent with local variations in b-values and could help to explain both the nest's genesis and the co-located change in slab geometry. The nest is also spatially well correlated with the northern margin of the thick-skinned Shira Mountains and with the high heat flow associated with the Agua Caliente dome (Hermoza et al., 2006; Navarro Comet, 2018). Further study is needed to understand the effects of the complex Peruvian slab geometry on the formation of thick skinned deformation and heat flow anomalies on the overriding South American continent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jul 5 2019


  • Flat-slab subduction
  • Intermediate-depth seismicity
  • Peru
  • Seismic nest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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