A comparison of two methods for earthquake source inversion using strong motion seismograms

B. P. Cohee, G. C. Beroza


In this paper we compare two time-domain inversion methods that have been widely applied to the problem of modeling earthquake rupture using strong-motion seismograms. In the multi-window method, each point on the fault is allowed to rupture multiple times. This allows flexibility in the rupture time and hence the rupture velocity. Variations in the slip-velocity function are accommodated by variations in the slip amplitude in each time-window. The single-window method assumes that each point on the fault ruptures only once, when the rupture front passes. Variations in slip amplitude are allowed and variations in rupture velocity are accommodated by allowing the rupture time to vary. Because the multi-window method allows greater flexibility, it has the potential to describe a wider range of faulting behavior; however, with this increased flexibility comes an increase in the degrees of freedom and the solutions are comparatively less stable. We demonstrate this effect using synthetic data for a test model of the Mw 7.3 1992 Landers, California earthquake, and then apply both inversion methods to the actual recordings. The two approaches yield similar fits to the strong-motion data with different seismic moments indicating that the moment is not well constrained by strong-motion data alone. The slip amplitude distribution is similar using either approach, but important differences exist in the rupture propagation models. The single-window method does a better job of recovering the true seismic moment and the average rupture velocity. The multi-window method is preferable when rise time is strongly variable, but tends to overestimate the seismic moment. Both methods work well when the rise time is constant or short compared to the periods modeled. Neither approach can recover the temporal details of rupture propagation unless the distribution of slip amplitude is constrained by independent data.


earthquake source inversion;rupture propagation;strong ground motion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-4151
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X