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Finite Source Properties of Large Strike-Slip Earthquakes
  • James Atterholt,
  • Zachary E. Ross
James Atterholt
California Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:atterholt@caltech.edu

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Zachary E. Ross
California Institute of Technology
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Earthquake ruptures are complex physical processes that may vary with the structure and tectonics of the region in which they occur. Characterizing the factors controlling this variability would provide fundamental constraints on the physics of earthquakes and faults. We investigate this by determining finite source properties from second moments of the stress glut for a global dataset of large strike-slip earthquakes. Our approach uses a Bayesian inverse formulation with teleseismic body and surface waves, which yields a low-dimensional probabilistic description of rupture properties including spatial extent, directivity, and duration. This technique is useful for comparing events because it makes only minor geometric constraints, avoids bias due to rupture velocity parameterization, and yields a full ensemble of possible solutions given the uncertainties of the data. We apply this framework to all great strike-slip earthquakes of the past three decades, and we use the resultant second moments to compare source quantities like directivity ratio, rectilinearity, stress drop, and depth extent. We find that most strike-slip earthquakes have a large component of unilateral directivity, and many of these earthquakes show a mixture of unilateral and bilateral behavior. We also notice that oceanic intraplate earthquakes usually rupture a much larger width of the seismogenic zone than other strike-slip earthquakes, suggesting these earthquakes consistently breach the expected thermal boundary for oceanic ruptures. We also use these second moments to resolve nodal plane ambiguity for the large oceanic intraplate earthquakes and find that the rupture orientation is usually unaligned with encompassing fossil fracture zones.
15 Mar 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Mar 2023Published in ESS Open Archive