ABSTRACT

The 2019 Mw 7.1 mainshock of the Ridgecrest earthquake sequence, which was the first event exceeding Mw 7.0 in California since the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake, caused near‐fault ground motions exceeding 0.5g and 70  cm/s. In this study, the rupture process and the generation mechanism of strong ground motions of the mainshock were investigated through waveform inversions of strong‐motion data in the frequency range of 0.2–2.0 Hz using empirical Green’s functions (EGFs). The results suggest that the mainshock involved two large slip regions: the primary one with a maximum slip of approximately 4.4 m was centered 3  km northwest of the hypocenter, which was slightly shallower than the hypocenter, and the secondary one was centered 25  km southeast of the hypocenter. Outside these regions, the slip was rather small and restricted to deeper parts of the fault. A relatively small rupture velocity of 2.1  km/s was identified. The robustness of the slip model was examined by conducting additional inversion analyses with different combinations of EGF events and near‐fault stations. In addition, using the preferred slip model, we synthesized strong motions at stations that were not used in the inversion analyses. The synthetic waveforms captured the timing of the main phases of observed waveforms, indicating the validity of the major spatiotemporal characteristics of the slip model. Our large slip regions are also generally visible in the models proposed by other researchers based on different datasets and focusing on lower frequency ranges (generally lower than 0.5 Hz). In particular, two large slip regions in our model are very consistent with two of the four subevents identified by Ross et al. (2019), which may indicate that part of the large slip regions that generated low‐frequency ground motions also generated high‐frequency ground motions up to 2.0 Hz during the Ridgecrest mainshock.

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