We cluster a global database of 3529 Mw>5.5 earthquakes in 1995–2018 based on a dynamic time warping distance between earthquake source time functions (STFs). The clustering exhibits different degrees of complexity of the STF shapes and suggests an association between STF complexity and earthquake source parameters. Most of the thrust events have simple STF shapes across all depths. In contrast, earthquakes with complex STF shapes tend to be located at shallow depths in complicated tectonic regions, exhibit long source duration compared with others of similar magnitude, and tend to have strike‐slip mechanisms. With 2D dynamic modeling of dynamic ruptures on heterogeneous fault properties, we find a systematic variation of the simulated STF complexity with frictional properties. Comparison between the observed and synthetic clustering distributions provides useful constraints on frictional properties. In particular, the characteristic slip‐weakening distance could be constrained to be short (<0.1  m) and depth dependent if stress drop is in general constant.

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