Displacement waveforms and high-frequency acceleration envelopes from stations at distances of 3-300 km were inverted to determine the source process of the M 7.9 Denali fault earthquake. Fitting the initial portion of the displacement waveforms indicates that the earthquake started with an oblique thrust subevent (subevent # 1) with an east-west-striking, north-dipping nodal plane consistent with the observed surface rupture on the Susitna Glacier fault. Inversion of the remainder of the waveforms (0.02-0.5 Hz) for moment release along the Denali and Totschunda faults shows that rupture proceeded eastward on the Denali fault, with two strike-slip subevents (numbers 2 and 3) centered about 90 and 210 km east of the hypocenter. Subevent 2 was located across from the station at PS 10 (Trans-Alaska Pipeline Pump Station #10) and was very localized in space and time. Subevent 3 extended from 160 to 230 km east of the hypocenter and had the largest moment of the subevents. Based on the timing between subevent 2 and the east end of subevent 3, an average rupture velocity of 3.5 km/sec, close to the shear wave velocity at the average rupture depth, was found. However, the portion of the rupture 130-220 km east of the epicenter appears to have an effective rupture velocity of about 5.0 km/ sec, which is supershear. These two subevents correspond approximately to areas of large surface offsets observed after the earthquake. Using waveforms of the M 6.7 Nenana Mountain earthquake as empirical Green's functions, the high-frequency (1-10 Hz) envelopes of the M 7.9 earthquake were inverted to determine the location of high-frequency energy release along the faults. The initial thrust subevent produced the largest high-frequency energy release per unit fault length. The high-frequency envelopes and acceleration spectra (>0.5 Hz) of the M 7.9 earthquake can be simulated by chaining together rupture zones of the M 6.7 earthquake over distances from 30 to 180 km east of the hypocenter. However, the inversion indicates that there was relatively little high-frequency energy generated along the 60-km portion of the Totschunda fault on the east end of the rupture.
Additional publication details
Rupture process of the M 7.9 Denali fault, Alaska, earthquake: Subevents, directivity, and scaling of high-frequency ground motions