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Resolving Differences in the Rupture Properties of M5 Earthquakes in California Using Bayesian Source Spectral Analysis

Daniel T. Trugman

Published April 5, 2022, SCEC Contribution #11799

The spectra of earthquake waveforms can provide important insight into rupture processes, but the analysis and interpretation of these spectra is rarely straightforward. Here we develop a Bayesian framework that embraces the inherent data and modeling uncertainties of spectral analysis to infer key source properties. The method uses a spectral ratio approach to correct the observed S‐wave spectra of nearby earthquakes for path and site attenuation. The objective then is to solve for a joint posterior probability distribution of three source parameters—seismic moment, corner frequency, and high‐frequency falloff rate—for each earthquake in the sequence, as well as a measure of rupture directivity for select target events with good azimuthal station coverage. While computationally intensive, this technique provides a quantitative understanding of parameter tradeoffs and uncertainties and allows one to impose physical constraints through prior distributions on all source parameters, which guide the inversion when data is limited. We demonstrate the method by analyzing in detail the source properties of 14 different target events of magnitude M5 in southern California that span a wide range of tectonic regimes and fault systems. These prominent earthquakes, while comparable in size, exhibit marked diversity in their source properties and directivity, with clear spatial patterns, depth‐dependent trends, and a preference for unilateral directivity. These coherent spatial variations source properties suggest that regional differences in tectonic setting, hypocentral depth or fault zone characteristics may drive variability in rupture processes, with important implications for our understanding of earthquake physics and its relation to hazard.

Key Words
stress drop, source spectra, rupture directivity, Bayesian inference

Trugman, D. T. (2022). Resolving Differences in the Rupture Properties of M5 Earthquakes in California Using Bayesian Source Spectral Analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 127(4). doi: 10.1029/2021JB023526.