Abstract

The ground-velocity recordings of the 20 September 1999, Chi-Chi, Taiwan earthquake recorded at stations near the ruptured fault trace show a simple, large-amplitude, and long-period pulse following the S wave, which is closely associated with the surface faulting and the rupture process of thrust faulting. The conspicuous pulse on the ground-velocity seismogram following the S-wave arrival, called the S1 phase, is interpreted as the superposition of the rupture pulses that nucleate at an asperity near and underneath the station and propagate up-dip and laterally along the fault plane toward the surface stations. The arrival times of the S1 phase and the onsets of the permanent displacement at stations near and along the ruptured fault trace increase with hypocentral distance, suggesting that the rupture of the Chi-Chi earthquake might have initiated at the hypocenter of the mainshock and propagated both upward and laterally from south to north. On the basis of the travel-time differences between the S1 phase and the direct S wave at the stations near and along the ruptured fault trace, the rupture velocities varied from 2.28 to 2.69 km/sec, with an average rupture velocity of about 2.49 km/sec. The rupture velocities decreased from south to north.

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