ABSTRACT

Recent earthquakes off the northeastern Kamchatka coast reveal that this region is seismically active, although details of the locations and complexity of the fault system are lacking. The northern part of Kamchatka has poor coverage by permanent seismic stations and ground geodetic instruments. Here, we exploit the Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) technique to characterize the fault geometry and kinematics associated with the 29 March 2017 Mw 6.6 Yuzhno‐Ozernovskoe earthquake. The aim is to contribute to identifying the active fault branches and to better understanding the complex tectonic regime in this region using the DInSAR technique, which has never before been applied to the analysis of coseismic offsets in Kamchatka.

We produced coseismic deformation maps using Advanced Land Observation Satellite‐2 ascending and descending and Sentinel‐1A descending Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) scenes and detected a predominant uplift up to 20 cm and a westward motion of approximately 7 cm near the shoreline. We jointly inverted the three geodetic datasets using elastic half‐space fault modeling to retrieve source geometry and fault kinematics. The best‐fit solution for the nonlinear inversion suggests a north–west‐dipping oblique reverse fault with right‐lateral rupture.

The model fault geometry is not only generally consistent with the seismic data but also reveals that a hitherto unknown fault was ruptured. The identified fault structure is interpreted as the northern extension of the east Kamchatka fault zone, implying that the region is more complex than previously thought. Important implications arise for the presence of unknown faults at the edges of subduction zones that can generate earthquakes with magnitudes greater than Mw 6.

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