Abstract

Teleseismic P, SH, and SV first motions and SH to SV amplitude ratios recorded at eight teleseismic receivers from the 1949 magnitude 7.1 Olympia, Washington, earthquake in combination with data from three stations at regional distances were utilized in a grid testing routine to constrain focal mechanism. Identification of the pP phase places the event at 54 km depth. Distinct pulses, assumed to be source effects, are observed in the far-field waveforms. Analysis of these pulses for directivity made possible discrimination between the fault and auxiliary planes. The plane taken to represent the fault surface strikes east-west ± 15°, dips 45° ± 15° to the north, and has nearly pure left-lateral slip. The preferred source model has an eastward propagation of 40 km. Surface reflections of successive source pulses suggest an upward component of propagation of 5 km. Bounds on the earthquake location and rupture of the 13 April event were determined using depth and source mechanism constraints from the teleseismic study and characteristics of local strong ground motion recordings. The 9-sec S-instrument trigger time seen in the Seattle acceleration recordings places the event at least 60 km from Seattle. Strong motion velocity at the Olympia Highway Test Laboratory is characterized by an impulsive and rectilinear S wave. The low amplitude of the vertical component of initial S motion suggests that either the epicenter is within 5 km of the Olympia Highway Test Laboratory for a pure incident SV wave or located along an azimuth of N159° if the wave is SH. The combined constraint of minimum distance from Seattle and the S polarization angle implied by the teleseismic data focal mechanism places the initiation of rupture 5 to 10 km north to north-northwest of the Olympia Highway Test Laboratory at 47.13°N, 122.95°W. This is approximately 20 km west of previously determined epicenters. The T axis, gently dipping to the southeast, supports other evidence that the Juan de Fuca plate dips to the southeast in a zone between segments of the plate north and south of the event's location. The fault plane's slip is taken to indicate that subduction is still active beneath Washington and that motion of the two segments is probably independent.

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