Abstract

Displacement waveforms and high-frequency acceleration envelopes from stations at distances of 3–300 km were inverted to determine the source process of the M 7.9 Denali fault earthquake. Fitting the initial portion of the displacement waveforms indicates that the earthquake started with an oblique thrust subevent (subevent #1) with an east–west-striking, north-dipping nodal plane consistent with the observed surface rupture on the Susitna Glacier fault. Inversion of the remainder of the waveforms (0.02–0.5 Hz) for moment release along the Denali and Totschunda faults shows that rupture proceeded eastward on the Denali fault, with two strike-slip subevents (numbers 2 and 3) centered about 90 and 210 km east of the hypocenter. Subevent 2 was located across from the station at ps10 (Trans-Alaska Pipeline Pump Station #10) and was very localized in space and time. Subevent 3 extended from 160 to 230 km east of the hypocenter and had the largest moment of the subevents. Based on the timing between subevent 2 and the east end of subevent 3, an average rupture velocity of 3.5 km/sec, close to the shear wave velocity at the average rupture depth, was found. However, the portion of the rupture 130–220 km east of the epicenter appears to have an effective rupture velocity of about 5.0 km/sec, which is supershear. These two subevents correspond approximately to areas of large surface offsets observed after the earthquake. Using waveforms of the M 6.7 Nenana Mountain earthquake as empirical Green’s functions, the high-frequency (1–10 Hz) envelopes of the M 7.9 earthquake were inverted to determine the location of high-frequency energy release along the faults. The initial thrust subevent produced the largest high-frequency energy release per unit fault length. The high-frequency envelopes and acceleration spectra (>0.5 Hz) of the M 7.9 earthquake can be simulated by chaining together rupture zones of the M 6.7 earthquake over distances from 30 to 180 km east of the hypocenter. However, the inversion indicates that there was relatively little high-frequency energy generated along the 60-km portion of the Totschunda fault on the east end of the rupture.

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