Source Parameter Estimation of Indian Ocean Earthquake from observation of GRACE Gravity Gradient Tensor

Armin Rahimi, Mehdi Raoofian Naeeni


In this study, the focal mechanism of Indian Ocean earthquake is determined by combination of GRACE gravity gradient change and analytical model of Okubo (1992). To do so, the co-seismic gravity gradient change resulting from Indian ocean earthquake is derived using monthly solution of GRACE level 02 data after removing the contaminations from hydrological effects and post-seismic creep. Since, De-striping methods lead to reduction and distortion of a co-seismic gravity  change signal, it is suggested to compute a set of gravity gradient tensor components e.g. ΔVxx and ΔVxz, because they are more sensitive to small-scale signals and they reduce the striping errors without need to any de-striping filtering. Then the computed gravity gradient components are compared with the gravity gradient components from Okubo model (1992), which accounts the focal mechanism of the earthquake. By the way, the nonlinear inversion algorithm is constructed and solved by Genetic algorithm to find the best value of fault parameters for Indian Ocean earthquake. For better constraining the fault parameters in the inversion process, a sensitivity analysis is also conducted which reveals that the selected model is highly sensitive to a strike angle, dip angle, length, width and average slip, although it is less sensitive to a depth of a fault. The ultimate optimal estimate of the fault parameters shows a good correspondence compared with some existing slip models obtained by various constraints or via inversion of seismic observations.


undersea earthquakes; Gravitational gradient changes; Fault parameters; GRACE observations; Slip distribution; Genetic algorithm

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X