Abstract

The 16 October 1999 Hector Mine earthquake (Mw 7.1) was the first large earthquake for which postearthquake airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data were collected to image the fault surface rupture. In this work, we present measurements of both vertical and horizontal slip along the entire surface rupture of this earthquake based on airborne LiDAR data acquired in April 2000. We examine the details of the along‐fault slip distribution of this earthquake based on 255 horizontal and 85 vertical displacements using a 0.5 m digital elevation model derived from the LiDAR imagery. The slip measurements based on the LiDAR dataset are highest in the epicentral region, and taper in both directions, consistent with earlier findings by other works. The maximum dextral displacement measured from LiDAR imagery is 6.60±1.10  m, located about 700 m south of the highest field measurement (5.25±0.85  m). Our results also illustrate the difficulty in resolving displacements smaller than 1 m using LiDAR imagery alone. We analyze slip variation to see if it is affected by rock type and whether variations are statistically significant. This study demonstrates that a postearthquake airborne LiDAR survey can produce an along‐fault horizontal and vertical offset distribution plot of a quality comparable to a reconnaissance field survey. Although LiDAR data can provide a higher sampling density and enable rapid data analysis for documenting slip distributions, we find that, relative to field methods, it has a limited ability to resolve slip that is distributed over several fault strands across a zone. We recommend a combined approach that merges field observation with LiDAR analysis, so that the best attributes of both quantitative topographic and geological insight are utilized in concert to make best estimates of offsets and their uncertainties.

Online Material: Tables of LiDAR displacement measurements; slip distributions plots; Google Earth index files and locations where displacements were made; LiDAR data files, and access information to view screen captures of the displacement measurements.

You do not currently have access to this article.