Construction of fault geometry by finite-fault inversion of teleseismic data

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Description: Conventional seismic source inversion estimates the earthquake rupture process on an assumed fault plane that is determined a priori. It has been a difficult challenge to obtain the fault geometry together with the rupture process by seismic source inversion because of the nonlinearity of the inversion technique. In this study, we propose an inversion method to estimate the fault geometry and the rupture process of an earthquake from teleseismic P waveform data, through an elaboration of our previously published finite-fault inversion analysis (Shimizu et al. 2020). That method differs from conventional methods by representing slip on a fault plane with five basis double-couple components, expressed by potency density tensors, instead of two double-couple components compatible with the fault direction. Because the slip direction obtained from the potency density tensors should be compatible with the fault direction, we can obtain the fault geometry consistent with the rupture process. In practice we rely on an iterative process, first assuming a flat fault plane and then updating the fault geometry by using the information included in the obtained potency density tensors. In constructing a non-flat model-fault plane, we assume for simplicity that the fault direction changes only in either the strike or the dip direction. After checking the validity of the proposed method through synthetic tests, we applied it to the Mw 7.7 2013 Balochistan, Pakistan, and Mw 7.9 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquakes, which occurred along geometrically complex fault systems. The modelled fault for the Balochistan earthquake is a curved strike-slip fault convex to the south-east, which is consistent with the observed surface ruptures. The modelled fault for the Gorkha earthquake is a reverse fault with a ramp-flat-ramp structure, which is also consistent with the fault geometry derived from geodetic and geological data. These results exhibit that the proposed method works well for constraining fault geometry of an earthquake.

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