Fault rupture process and strong ground motion simulation of the 2014/04/01 Northern Chile (Pisagua) earthquake (Mw8.2)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nelson E Pulido Hernandez1, Wataru Suzuki2 and Shin Aoi1, (1)Nat. Res. Ins. for Earth Sc., Tsukuba, Japan, (2)NIED, Ibaraki, Japan
A megathrust earthquake occurred in Northern Chile in April 1, 2014, 23:46 (UTC) (Mw 8.2), in a region that had not experienced a major earthquake since the great 1877 (~M8.6) event. This area had been already identified as a mature seismic gap with a strong interseismic coupling inferred from geodetic measurements (Chlieh et al., JGR, 2011 and Metois et al., GJI, 2013). We used 48 components of strong motion records belonging to the IPOC network in Northern Chile to investigate the source process of the M8.2 Pisagua earthquake. Acceleration waveforms were integrated to get velocities and filtered between 0.02 and 0.125 Hz. We assumed a single fault plane segment with an area of 180 km by 135 km, a strike of 357, and a dip of 18 degrees (GCMT). We set the starting point of rupture at the USGS hypocenter (19.610S, 70.769W, depth 25km), and employed a multi-time-window linear waveform inversion method (Hartzell and Heaton, BSSA, 1983), to derive the rupture process of the Pisagua earthquake. Our results show a slip model characterized by one large slip area (asperity) localized 50 km south of the epicenter, a peak slip of 10 m and a total seismic moment of 2.36 x 1021Nm (Mw 8.2). Fault rupture slowly propagated to the south in front of the main asperity for the initial 25 seconds, and broke it by producing a strong acceleration stage. The fault plane rupture velocity was in average 2.9 km/s. Our calculations show an average stress drop of 4.5MPa for the entire fault rupture area and 12MPa for the asperity area. We simulated the near-source strong ground motion records in a broad frequency band (0.1 ~ 20 Hz), to investigate a possible multi-frequency fault rupture process as the one observed in recent mega-thrust earthquakes such as the 2011 Tohoku-oki (M9.0).


Strong motion data was kindly provided by Chile University as well as the IPOC (Integrated Plate boundary Observatory Chile).