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Surface slip distributions and geometric complexity of intraplate reverse-faulting earthquakes

Haibin Yang, Mark Quigley and Tamarah King
Surface slip distributions and geometric complexity of intraplate reverse-faulting earthquakes
Geological Society of America Bulletin (January 2021) 133 (9-10): 1909-1929


Earthquake ground surface ruptures provide insights into faulting mechanics and inform seismic hazard analyses. We analyze surface ruptures for 11 historical (1968-2018) moment magnitude (Mw) 4.7-6.6 reverse earthquakes in Australia using statistical techniques and compare their characteristics with magnetic, gravity, and stress trajectory data sets. Of the total combined (summative) length of all surface ruptures ( approximately 148 km), 133 km (90%) to 145 km (98%) align with the geophysical structure in the host basement rocks. Surface rupture length (SRL), maximum displacement (MD), and probability of surface rupture at a specified Mw are high compared with equivalent Mw earthquakes globally. This is attributed to (1) a steep cratonic crustal strength gradient at shallow depths, promoting shallow hypocenters ( approximately 1-6 km) and limiting downdip rupture widths ( approximately 1-8.5 km), and (2) favorably aligned crustal anisotropies (e.g., bedrock foliations, faults, fault intersections) that enhanced lateral rupture propagation and/or surface displacements. Combined (modeled and observed) MDs are in the middle third of the SRL with 68% probability and either the < or =33rd or > or =66th percentiles of SRL with 16% probability. MD occurs proximate to or directly within zones of enhanced fault geometric complexity (as evidenced from surface ruptures) in 8 of 11 earthquakes (73%). MD is approximated by 3.3+ or -1.6 (1sigma )XAD (average displacement). S-transform analyses indicates that high-frequency slip maxima also coincide with fault geometric complexities, consistent with stress amplifications and enhanced slip variability due to geometric and kinematic interactions with neighboring faults. Rupture slip taper angles exhibit large variations (-90% to +380% with respect to the mean value) toward rupture termini and are steepest where ruptures terminate at obliquely oriented magnetic lineaments and/or lithology changes. Incremental slip approximates AD between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the SRL. The average static stress drop of the studied earthquakes is 4.8+ or -2.8 MPa. A surface rupture classification scheme for cratonic stable regions is presented to describe the prevailing characteristics of intraplate earthquakes across diverse crustal structural-geophysical settings. New scaling relationships and suggestions for logic tree weights are provided to enhance probabilistic fault displacement hazard analyses for bedrock-dominated intraplate continental regions.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 133
Serial Issue: 9-10
Title: Surface slip distributions and geometric complexity of intraplate reverse-faulting earthquakes
Affiliation: University of Melbourne, School of Earth Sciences, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Pages: 1909-1929
Published: 20210113
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 86
Accession Number: 2021-021381
Categories: SeismologyEnvironmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch maps
S27°00'00" - S25°00'00", E129°00'00" - E134°00'00"
S19°48'00" - S19°48'00", E133°54'00" - E133°54'00"
S35°00'00" - S30°00'00", E115°00'00" - E120°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 202115
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