Depths of Intraplate Indian Ocean Earthquakes from Waveform Modeling

Monday, 15 December 2014
Austin John Baca, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Pomona, CA, United States and Jascha Polet, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA, United States
The Indian Ocean is a region of complex tectonics and anomalous seismicity. The ocean floor in this region exhibits many bathymetric features, most notably the multiple inactive fracture zones within the Wharton Basin and the Ninetyeast Ridge. The 11 April 2012 MW 8.7 and 8.2 strike-slip events that took place in this area are unique because their rupture appears to have extended to a depth where brittle failure, and thus seismic activity, was considered to be impossible. We analyze multiple intraplate earthquakes that have occurred throughout the Indian Ocean to better constrain their focal depths in order to enhance our understanding of how deep intraplate events are occurring and more importantly determine if the ruptures are originating within a ductile regime. Selected events are located within the Indian Ocean away from major plate boundaries. A majority are within the deforming Indo-Australian tectonic plate. Events primarily display thrust mechanisms with some strike-slip or a combination of the two. All events are between MW5.5-6.5. Event selections were handled this way in order to facilitate the analysis of teleseismic waveforms using a point source approximation. From these criteria we gathered a suite of 15 intraplate events. Synthetic seismograms of direct P-waves and depth phases are computed using a 1-D propagator matrix approach and compared with global teleseismic waveform data to determine a best depth for each event. To generate our synthetic seismograms we utilized the CRUST1.0 software, a global crustal model that generates velocity values at the hypocenter of our events. Our waveform analysis results reveal that our depths diverge from the Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) depths, which underestimate our deep lithosphere events and overestimate our shallow depths by as much as 17 km. We determined a depth of 45km for our deepest event. We will show a comparison of our final earthquake depths with the lithospheric thickness based on halfspace cooling models and the local plate age.