Abstract

The South China block has been one of the most seismically quiescent regions in China, and the geometries and activities of the Quaternary faults have remained less studied due to the limited outcrops. Thus, source parameters of small‐to‐moderate earthquakes are important to help reveal the location, geometry distribution, and mechanical properties of the subsurface faults and thus improve the seismic risk assessment. On 12 October 2019, two earthquakes (the Ms 4.2 foreshock and the Ms 5.2 mainshock) occurred within 2 s and are located in southern South China block, near the junction region of the large‐scale northeast‐trending fault zones and the less continuous northwest‐trending fault zones. We determined the point‐source parameters of the two events via P‐wave polarity analysis and regional waveform modeling, and the resolved focal mechanisms are significantly different with the minimum 3D rotation angle of 52°. We then resolved the rupture directivity of the two events by analyzing the azimuth variation of the source time duration and found the Ms 4.2 foreshock ruptured toward north‐northwest for ∼1.0 km, and the Ms 5.2 mainshock ruptured toward east‐southeast (ESE) for ∼1.5 km, implying conjugate strike‐slip faulting. The conjugate causative faults have not been mapped on the regional geological map, and we infer that the two faults may be associated with the northwest‐trending Bama‐Bobai fault zone (the Shiwo section). These active faults are optimally oriented in the present‐day stress field (northwest‐southeast) and thus may now be potentially accumulating elastic strain to be released in a future large earthquake.

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