Preliminary insights into the fault geometry and rupture history of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake

Mareike N. Adams, & Chen Ji

Submitted August 15, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7853, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #057

The November 14th 2016 MW 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake occurred along the east coast of the northern part of the South Island. The local tectonic setting is complicated. The central South Island is dominated by oblique continental convergence, whereas the southern part of this island experiences eastward subduction of the Australian plate. Available information (e.g., Hamling et al., 2017; Bradley et al., 2017) indicate that this earthquake involved multiple fault segments of the Marlborough fault system (MFS) as the rupture propagated northwards for more than 150 km. Additional slip might also occur on the subduction interface of the Pacific plate under the Australian plate, beneath the MFS. However, the exact number of involved fault segments as well as the temporal co-seismic rupture sequence has not been fully determined with geodetic and geological observations. Knowledge of the kinematics of complex fault interactions has important implications for our understanding of global seismic hazards, particularly to relatively unmodeled multisegment ruptures. Understanding the Kaikoura earthquake will provide insight into how one incorporates multi-fault ruptures in seismic-hazard models. We propose to apply a multiple double-couple inversion to determine the fault geometry and spatiotemporal rupture history using teleseismic and strong motion waveforms, before constraining the detailed slip history using both seismic and geodetic data. The Kaikoura earthquake will be approximated as the summation of multiple subevents—each represented as a double-couple point source, characterized by i) fault geometry (strike, dip and rake), ii) seismic moment, iii) centroid time, iv) half-duration and v) location (latitude, longitude and depth), a total of nine variables. We progressively increase the number of point sources until the additional source cannot produce significant improvement to the observations. Our preliminary results using only teleseismic data indicate that, broadly speaking, the sequence of fault planes dips towards the northwest and the motion of slip is largely to the northeast. Sequence and timing of the rupturing faults is still to be determined.

Adams, M. N., & Ji, C. (2017, 08). Preliminary insights into the fault geometry and rupture history of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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