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The enigma of the Arthur's Pass, New Zealand, earthquake 1. Reconciling a variety of data for an unusual earthquake sequence

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

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Abstract

The 1994 Arthur's Pass earthquake (Mw6.7) is the largest in a recent sequence of earthquakes in the central South Island, New Zealand. No surface rupture was observed the aftershock distribution was complex, and routine methods of obtaining the faulting orientation of this earthquake proved contradictory. We use a range of data and techniques to obtain our preferred solution, which has a centroid depth of 5 km, Mo=1.3??1019 N m, and a strike, dip, and rake of 221??, 47??, 112??, respectively. Discrepancies between this solution and the Harvard centroid moment tensor, together with the Global Positioning System (GPS) observations and unusual aftershock distribution, suggest that the rupture may not have occurred on a planar fault. A second, strike slip, subevent on a more northerly striking plane is suggested by these data but neither the body wave modeling nor regional broadband recordings show any complexity or late subevents. We relocate the aftershocks using both one-dimensional and three-dimensional velocity inversions. The depth range of the aftershocks (1-10 km) agrees well with the preferred mainshock centroid depth. The aftershocks near the hypocenter suggest a structure dipping toward the NW, which we interpret to be the mainshock fault plane. This structure and the Harper fault, ???15 km to the south appear to have acted as boundaries to the extensive aftershock zone trending NNW-SSE Most of the ML???5 aftershocks, including the two largest (ML6.1 and ML5.7), clustered near the Harper fault and have strike slip mechanisms consistent with motion on this fault and its conjugates. Forward modeling of the GPS data suggests that a reverse slip mainshock, combined with strike slip aftershock faulting in the south, is able to match the observed displacements. The occurrence of this earthquake sequence implies that the level of seismic hazard in the central South Island is greater than previous estimates. Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The enigma of the Arthur's Pass, New Zealand, earthquake 1. Reconciling a variety of data for an unusual earthquake sequence
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
Volume
105
Issue:
B7
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
First page:
16119
Last page:
16137