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Earthquake Source Mechanics

Lecture 5 Earthquake Focal Mechanism

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

What is Seismotectonics?
Study of earthquakes as a tectonic component, divided into three principal areas. 1. Spatial and temporal distribution of seismic activity a) Location of large earthquakes and global earthquake catalogues b) Temporal distribution of seismic activity 2. Earthquake focal mechanisms 3. Physics of the earthquake source through analysis of seismograms
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Location of large earthquakes and the global earthquake catalogues


Historically of crucial importance in the development of plate tectonics theory
It was the recognition of a continuous belt of seismicity across the North Atlantic (together with profiles measured by marine geophysicists) that allowed Ewing & Heezen to predict the existence of a worldwide system of mid-ocean rifts

Goter extended this work in the 60s & 70s to compile global seismicity maps delineating the plate boundaries
Similar maps at larger scale constructed from regional and local seismic networks allow the tectonics to be studied in much finer detail

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Global seismicity

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Earthquake focal mechanisms


Using teleseismic earthquake records to determine the earthquake focal mechanism or fault plane solution and deduce the tectonics of a region Similar work now done at larger scale for looking at regional and local tectonics - neotectonics

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The Seismic Source


Shear faulting
Simple model of the seismic source
1. 2. 3. 4. Fracture criterion Frictional sliding criterion Effect of pore fluid pressure Influence of pressure, i.e. depth, on faulting

Covered more in earthquake source mechanics now start with simplest model and wont specify whether a fresh fracture or unstable frictional sliding on an existing fault

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

The Seismic Source


Simple normal fault Look at first motion on seismogram Dip Displacement Footwall 2 compressional quadrants + 2 dilatational quadrants 2 nodal planes 0

+
no motion 0 Auxiliary plane Perlar to fault plane Perlar to slip direction

+
0

Hanging wall up on vertical axis

Fault plane no motion

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

First motion
S3 & S4 are on nodal plane So no motion or indistinct first motion in P wave +

S4 S1 S3
first motion up

S2

down motion up

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Earthquake Focal Mechanism

Earthquake focal mechanism Fault plane orientation Fault plane solution

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


1. We use a global coverage of seismometers (many stations) to record first motions
In principle we could use any phase (S, pP, PP) but only use P as later arrivals are more difficult to read

2. 3.

Plot onto 2D projection of the Earth Look particularly for nodal planes
where there is no motion as these stations define the fault plane or auxiliary plane

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


To find a nodal plane we need to know the expected arrival time accurately LP seismogram e.g.

Expect here no motion just after arrival, therefore nodal To check arrival time look at high frequency SP record SP seismogram Always get some kick on short period N.B. SP is always more accurate for measurement of times
GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


Examine first motions recorded on long period seismograms because of SP energy from small geological heterogeneities Theoretical path SP LP Never use SP records for polarity measurements (because of scattering, multiple reflections, refractions) e.g. LP period ~20s (seismometer) for v~8 km/s(mantle), wavelength ~v, T ~ 8x20 = 160km SP period T~1s (seismometer) ~ v, T ~ 8km SP records are full of scattered energy LP records are more reliable (if care taken at nodal planes)
GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


Problem: Fault plane is not uniquely specified by 2 nodal planes:
Fault breaks (if earthquake has broken surface) Shallow events Ms> 6

2.

3.

Isoseismals elongate along direction of fault plane (1st discovered after 1906 SF earthquake)

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Aftershocks occur around fault plane and show direction of fault plane

x x

x
zones of damage

Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


4. Source directivity pulse moving along fault (takes finite time from beginning to end of fault) analogous to Doppler effect
Fracture starts

5.

Sub-events

Fracture stops

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Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


Problem: Lack of global coverage
Station coverage 2/3 earth is ocean and island stations are noisy so difficult to get good nodal planes Core shadow near centre of plots (more on this late)

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Fault Plane Orientation from Seismograms


Synthetic seismograms
A large part of modern seismology is devoted to the calculation of seismograms from models of the source and elastic constants

+
By building up these seismograms from a model of an earthquake source, varying a wide range of physical parameters, until the synthetic seismograms matches the real observed seismograms

+
45o

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Faulting
Hanging walls

Footwall Fault strike

Fault plane

Footwall

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation


Measuring strike and dip
By convention the dip is measured to the right of the strike N N

s ~ 45o
E W

s ~ 225o

Study the self-taught module on structural geology on the server

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Orientation


Measuring the rake
normal to fault plane u is slip direction lies in the fault plane

strike direction horizontal

- the rake, measured relative to the strike direction s So, = 0o strike slip (pure) [e.g. San Anreas] = -90o normal (pure) = +90o reverse/thrust (pure) Slip direction refers to the relative movement of the hanging wall

Hanging wall

Foot wall

-ve

Normal fault, hanging wall goes down


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Focal Sphere 3D
Focal sphere for a seismic point source is a sphere centred on the source and having arbitrarily small radius. It is a convenient device for displaying radiation patterns, since information recorded by seismometers (distributed over the Earths surface) may be transferred back to the focal sphere. Remember p = r sin i / v = constant for a spherical Earth

If velocity at station = velocity near source, then isource = istation (applies best to shallow earthquakes, correction can be applied for deeper earthquakes) All teleseismic stations plot i large close in onto the lower focal hemisphere i small upper lower One station one point on focal sphere further out Only local seismometers plot onto upper focal sphere

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Focal Sphere
In principle, azimuth angle of descent i can be worked out if 1. Location of earthquake 2. Location of station 3. Velocity profile i() Use computers to do this, and so one may specify a point on the focal sphere by angular coordinates (i,) e.g.

+ +
C

Strike slip fault

Usually the compressional (+ve polarity) is shaded

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Equal Area Projection (2D) of the Focal Sphere Strike Slip Fault
Schmidt net
preserves area

T.

We map a plan view of the horizontal plane, i.e. an equal area projection of the lower focal hemisphere Strike slip fault

P.

D C T.

.P

C compression D dilatational auxiliary plane fault plane T tension axis

Use equal area projection, so that all data collected over area have same weight

P pressure axis

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Normal Fault
Normal Fault 60o dip N
30 60 = 30o P. T. = 60o

0o strike N ~ 0o s

Auxiliary plane

+
Fault plane Auxiliary plane Fault plane nodal planes

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Thrust Fault
Thrust Fault 30o dip 0o strike N ~ 0o s

60o

P.

T.

= 30o

Auxiliary plane

Fault plane

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Information from the Fault Plane Solution


Null axis
is the interception of 2 nodal planes (direction of movement) If the null axis is nearer the centre of the projection, the mechanism is predominantly strike slip If it is nearer the edge then predominantly normal or thrust fault Normal fault centre is dilatational Thrust fault centre is compressional

Rake
Slip direction relative to the azimuth, movement on the fault plane e.g. angle of slickensides to horizontal

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Fault Plane Solution

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD

Information from the Fault Plane Solution


P & T axes correspond roughly to the directions of minimum (T) and
maximum compressive (P) stress Normal faulting

P max

intermediate
s

Deviatoric stress (tectonic) leads to faulting

45o

min

Fault plane at 45o to P & T axes


Definition of P & T 90o to intermediate axis (strike) 45o to auxiliary plane 45o to fault plane

(Usually max is at 30o to fault plane, i.e. dip of 60o in rocks)


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Information from the Fault Plane Solution


P & T axes P
Section P axis dilatational quadrant

+ +
T

T axis compressional quadrant P-axis direction of tectonic movement 15o Good for plate tectonics as gives direction, c.f. neotectonics

GNH7/GG09/GEOL4002 EARTHQUAKE SEISMOLOGY AND EARTHQUAKE HAZARD