Abstract

The 1975 Kalapana, Hawaii, earthquake occurred under the highly mobile south flank of Kilauea Volcano. It has been interpreted variously as a normal-faulting earthquake, a thrust-faulting earthquake, and a landslide. Primary evidence for the landslide model has been the failure of previous faulting models to explain the observed Love-wave radiation pattern and the tsunami amplitudes generated by the Kalapana event. Here, we present a reanalysis of the long-period, digital seismic data for this event. Centroid-moment-tensor analysis shows that the seismic radiation pattern can be explained well by thrust faulting on a plane dipping shallowly landward. The seismic moment of 3.8 × 1020 N m (MW 7.7) that we determine is approximately twice as large as earlier estimates. The geometry and seismic moment of the focal mechanism determined here are consistent with the observed tsunami amplitudes. Inversion of long-period body-wave waveforms shows that the earthquake source duration (∼72 sec) is unusually long for an earthquake of this size.

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