Changes in repeating earthquake slip behavior following the 2004 Parkfield main shock from waveform empirical Green's functions finite‐source inversion

Ahyi Kim, Douglas S. Dreger, Taka'aki Taira, Robert M. Nadeau

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
March 11, 2016

Finite-source inversions are performed using small earthquake waveforms as empirical Green's functions (eGf) to investigate the rupture process of repeating earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault in Parkfield, California. The eGf waveform inversion method is applied to a repeating Mw 2.1 Parkfield earthquake sequence using three-component velocity waveforms recorded by an array of borehole seismometers. The obtained models show a circular slip distribution with a ~20 m radius, a 3.0–4.2 cm average slip of the main asperity, and peak displacement of 10.6–13.5 cm. The static stress drop distribution shows that the main asperity has a peak stress drop of 69.5–94.7 MPa. The inversion results support an earlier finding by Dreger et al. (2007) that high-strength asperities exist in the rupture areas of the Mw 2.1 events at Parkfield. In addition, notable temporal peak slip and stress drop reduction was observed after the 2004 Parkfield event while the average value remains constant (~12 MPa) over time. These events may represent mechanically strong sections of the fault, surrounded by regions that are undergoing continuous deformation (creep), Given repeated loading of the strong asperities, it would be expected that these similar repeating earthquakes should also have very similar slip distributions since surrounding regions are deforming aseismically. There are small differences in the waveforms of these repeating earthquakes, and this could be because of rupture nucleation points not being in exactly the same location within the region of the fault that is capable of stick-slip behavior. Our result indicates that waveform slip inversion is needed to reveal spatial and temporal variations of the stress drop within the rupture area to improve understanding of fault healing and rupture mechanics.

Featured Fellows

Robert M. Nadeau

Berkeley Seismological Lab
BIDS Alum – Data Science Fellow