Geodetic Imaging of the Coseismic and Postseismic deformation from the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake and Mw 7.3 Aftershock in Nepal with SAR and GPS
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The 25th of April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal affected a large area of central Nepal and adjacent parts of India and Tibet. It was followed by a number of large aftershocks, with the largest so far an Mw 7.3 aftershock on the 12th of May 2015. We integrate geodetic measurements from Global Positioning System (GPS) data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images to image the three-dimensional vector field of coseismic surface deformation for these two large events. We analyze SAR data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite operated by the European Space Agency; the RADARSAT-2 satellite operated by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA); and the Advanced Land Observation Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) satellite operated by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. We combine less precise analysis of large scale displacements from the SAR images of the three satellites by pixel offset tracking or sub-pixel correlation, including the along-track component of surface motion, with the more precise SAR interferometry (InSAR) measurements in the radar line-of-sight direction to estimate all three components of the surface displacement for the mainshock and large aftershock. A large area of central Nepal was pushed southward, due to thrust slip on the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT) at depth extending about 170 km along-strike. The InSAR measurements show that there was no detectable slip on the shallower part of the MHT up-dip from the large coseismic slip or on other thrust faults in the Himalayas, except for one area of very shallow triggered slip of up to 5 cm on a thrust to the north of the Himalayan Frontal Thrust, during the two event. We also image postseismic deformation after these earthquakes with ongoing continuous GPS measurements and InSAR analysis of the SAR satellite data. Initial analysis of the GPS measurements indicates the most likely process in the first months is afterslip down-dip from the main coseismic slip. Large atmospheric effects in the InSAR measurements make it challenging to image deep afterslip, but the early interferograms appear to rule out any shallow afterslip up-dip from the mainshock and aftershock ruptures at the time of this writing. Preliminary modeling suggests that viscoelastic relaxation may not be measurable until we have 6-12 months of GPS and InSAR data.