Joint Inversion of Seismic, Tsunami and Geodetic Data for Rupture Models of Large Earthquakes

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The dynamics of fault rupture during large earthquake is still poorly understood, and many fundamental questions remained unanswered; Why does rupture initiate in one part of a fault rather than another, why does rupture sometimes stop after generation of a small earthquake, and why does it sometimes grow to the size of a mega-earthquake? Kinematic rupture models, which describe how fault rupture evolves in space and time, are the fundamental data used to answer questions such as these. Such models are typically obtained through inversion of seismic, geodetic or tsunami data. Each type of data has its strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, we would perform joint inversions of multiple data types in a way that would maximize their strengths, thereby obtaining models with the optimal spatial and temporal resolution.

 This project will consider the joint inversion of seismic, tsunami and geodetic data for kinematic rupture models of large earthquakes. We have been working with data from several large earthquakes in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea which we believe are amenable to joint inversion methods. We invite a student with interest in large earthquakes who want to develop their quantitative skills in data inference to join us in this exciting project.

Figure 1. (a) Cumulative slip distribution of the 2006 Kuril earthquake estimated from the simultaneous inversion of P waves, long-period surface waves and tsunami. The colour shows the slip amount and arrows represent themotion of hanging wall relative to footwall. The star denotes the hypocenter. (b) Comparison of the deep-ocean tsunami waveforms. Black and red lines show the observed and calculated tsunami waveforms respectively, with the latter calculated from the slip model shown in (a). From Baba, Cummins, Thio, Tsushima, (2009). Validation and Joint Inversion of Teleseismic Waveforms for Earthquake Source Models Using Deep Ocean Bottom Pressure Records: A Case Study of the 2006 Kuril Megathrust Earthquake, Pure appl. geophys. 166 (2009) 55–76.

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