abstract

Employing a new technique for the body-wave analysis of shallow-focus earthquakes, we have made a preliminary analysis of the St. Elias, Alaska earthquake of February 28, 1979, using five long-period P and S waves recorded at three WWSSN stations and at Palisades, New York. Using a well determined focal mechanism and an average source depth of ≈ 11 km, the interference of the depth phases (i.e., pP and sP, or sS) has been deconvolved from the recorded pulse shapes to obtain velocity and displacement pulse shapes as they would appear if the earthquake had occurred within an infinite medium. These “approximate whole space” pulse shapes indicate that the rupture contained three distinct subevents as well as a small initial event which preceded this subevent sequence by about 7 sec. From the pulse rise times of the subevents, their rupture lengths are estimated as 12, 27, and 17 km, assuming that the subevent rupture velocity was 3 km/sec. Overall, the earthquake ruptured ≈ 60 km to the southeast with an average rupture velocity of 2.2 km/sec. The cumulative body-wave moment for the whole event, 1.2 × 1027 dyne-cm, is substantially smaller than the surface-wave moments reported by Lahr et al. (1979) of 5 × 1027 dyne-cm. The moments of the subevents are estimated to be 0.6, 3.2, and 7.5 × 1026 dyne-cm, respectively.

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