ABSTRACT

We estimated the areas exhibiting high‐frequency (110  Hz) wave radiation on the fault plane of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, by applying envelope inversion to strong‐motion acceleration records. The corrected records of two small earthquakes are adopted as the empirical Green’s functions. Considering the change in the rupture pattern of the Wenchuan earthquake from southwest to northeast, the records of small earthquakes dominated by thrust and strike‐slip are utilized as the empirical Green’s function for the southwestern and northeastern fault sections, respectively. The results are as follows: (1) According to the high‐frequency wave radiation, the rupture process is complex. High‐frequency waves radiated strongly in six areas: around the initial rupture point, along the north and south edges of the fault plane, near the area of intersection with the cross‐cutting Xiaoyudong fault, south of Nanba, and near the area of Qingchuan. In total, these areas can be divided into three cases. In the first situation, high‐frequency waves radiated strongly around the initial rupture area, which may be associated with the initiation of rupture and a high stress drop. The second location is near the periphery of the fault, which is associated with the termination of rupture. The third condition comprises high‐frequency waves near the intersection with the cross‐cutting Xiaoyudong fault. This area as a geometric barrier, and the surface rupture is observed. (2) The distribution patterns of the high‐ and low‐frequency radiation intensity differ on the fault plane. From the hypocenter to the point of intersection with the Xiaoyudong fault, the high‐frequency wave is located around the area with large slip value. In other areas, the distribution of the high‐ and low‐frequency radiation is no obvious relationship. This different characteristic indicates the complexity of the rupture process.

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