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Determination of Source Finiteness and Depth of Large Earthquakes


Zhang, Jiajun (1988) Determination of Source Finiteness and Depth of Large Earthquakes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/jnbk-0b27.


In this thesis, a method to retrieve the source finiteness, depth of faulting, and the mechanisms of large earthquakes from long-period surface waves is developed and applied to several recent large events.

In Chapter 1, source finiteness parameters of eleven large earthquakes were determined from long-period Rayleigh waves recorded at IDA and GDSN stations. The basic data set is the seismic spectra of periods from 150 to 300 sec. Two simple models of source finiteness are studied. The first model is a point source with finite duration. In the determination of the duration or source-process times, we used Furumoto's phase method and a linear inversion method, in which we simultaneously inverted the spectra and determined the source-process time that minimizes the error in the inversion. These two methods yielded consistent results. The second model is the finite fault model. Source finiteness of large shallow earthquakes with rupture on a fault plane with a large aspect ratio was modeled with the source-finiteness function introduced by Ben-Menahem. The spectra were inverted to find the extent and direction of the rupture of the earthquake that minimize the error in the inversion. This method is applied to the 1977 Sumbawa, Indonesia, 1979 Colombia-Ecuador, 1983 Akita-Oki, Japan, 1985 Valparaiso, Chile, and 1985 Michoacan, Mexico earthquakes. The method yielded results consistent with the rupture extent inferred from the aftershock area of these earthquakes.

In Chapter 2, the depths and source mechanisms of nine large shallow earthquakes were determined. We inverted the data set of complex source spectra for a moment tensor (linear) or a double couple (nonlinear). By solving a least-squares problem, we obtained the centroid depth or the extent of the distributed source for each earthquake. The depths and source mechanisms of large shallow earthquakes determined from long-period Rayleigh waves depend on the models of source finiteness, wave propagation, and the excitation. We tested various models of the source finiteness, Q, the group velocity, and the excitation in the determination of earthquake depths.

The depth estimates obtained using the Q model of Dziewonski and Steim (1982) and the excitation functions computed for the average ocean model of Regan and Anderson (1984) are considered most reasonable. Dziewonski and Steim's Q model represents a good global average of Q determined over a period range of the Rayleigh waves used in this study. Since most of the earthquakes studied here occurred in subduction zones Regan and Anderson's average ocean model is considered most appropriate.

Our depth estimates are in general consistent with the Harvard CMT solutions. The centroid depths and their 90 % confidence intervals (numbers in the parentheses) determined by the Student's t test are: Colombia-Ecuador earthquake (12 December 1979), d = 11 km, (9, 24) km; Santa Cruz Is. earthquake (17 July 1980), d = 36 km, (18, 46) km; Samoa earthquake (1 September 1981), d = 15 km, (9, 26) km; Playa Azul, Mexico earthquake (25 October 1981), d = 41 km, (28, 49) km; El Salvador earthquake (19 June 1982), d = 49 km, (41, 55) km; New Ireland earthquake (18 March 1983), d = 75 km, (72, 79) km; Chagos Bank earthquake (30 November 1983), d = 31 km, (16, 41) km; Valparaiso, Chile earthquake (3 March 1985), d = 44 km, (15, 54) km; Michoacan, Mexico earthquake (19 September 1985), d = 24 km, (12, 34) km.

In Chapter 3, the vertical extent of faulting of the 1983 Akita-Oki, and 1977 Sumbawa, Indonesia earthquakes are determined from fundamental and overtone Rayleigh waves. Using fundamental Rayleigh waves, the depths are determined from the moment tensor inversion and fault inversion. The observed overtone Rayleigh waves are compared to the synthetic overtone seismograms to estimate the depth of faulting of these earthquakes. The depths obtained from overtone Rayleigh waves are consistent with the depths determined from fundamental Rayleigh waves for the two earthquakes. Appendix B gives the observed seismograms of fundamental and overtone Rayleigh waves for eleven large earthquakes.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Geophysics; Applied Mathematics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geophysics
Minor Option:Applied Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hager, Bradford H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Hager, Bradford H.
  • Harkrider, David G.
  • Anderson, Donald L.
  • Kanamori, Hiroo
  • Lorenz, Jens
Defense Date:18 September 1987
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03202013-144322900
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7533
Deposited On:20 Mar 2013 22:57
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 22:22

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