Alternative rupture-scaling relationships for subduction interface and other offshore environments

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By:  and 



Alternative fault-rupture-scaling relationships are developed for Mw 7.1– 9.5 subduction interface earthquakes using a new database of consistently derived finitefault rupture models from teleseismic inversion. Scaling relationships are derived for rupture area, rupture length, rupture width, maximum slip, and average slip. These relationships apply width saturation for large-magnitude interface earthquakes (approximately Mw >8:6) for which the physical characteristics of subduction zones limit the depth extent of seismogenic rupture, and consequently, the down-dip limit of strong ground motion generation. On average, the down-dip rupture width for interface earthquakes saturates near 200 km (196 km on average). Accordingly, the reinterpretation of rupture-area scaling for subduction interface earthquakes through the use of a bilinear scaling model suggests that rupture asperity area is less well correlated with magnitude for earthquakes Mw >8:6. Consequently, the size of great-magnitude earthquakes appears to be more strongly controlled by the average slip across asperities. The sensitivity of the interface scaling relationships is evaluated against geographic region (or subduction zone) and average dip along the rupture interface to assess the need for correction factors. Although regional perturbations in fault-rupture scaling could be identified, statistical significance analyses suggest there is little rationale for implementing regional correction factors based on the limited number of interface rupture models available for each region. Fault-rupture-scaling relationships are also developed for intraslab (within the subducting slab), extensional outer-rise and offshore strike-slip environments. For these environments, the rupture width and area scaling properties yield smaller dimensions than interface ruptures for the corresponding magnitude. However, average and maximum slip metrics yield larger values than interface events. These observations reflect both the narrower fault widths and higher stress drops in these faulting environments. Although expressing significantly different rupture-scaling properties from earthquakes in subduction environments, the characteristics of offshore strike-slip earthquake ruptures compare similarly to commonly used rupture-scaling relationships for onshore strike-slip earthquakes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Alternative rupture-scaling relationships for subduction interface and other offshore environments
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120160255
Volume 107
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 1240
Last page 1253
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