The characteristics analysis of strain variation associated with Wenchuan earthquake using principal component analysis

Kaiguang Zhu, Chengquan Chi, Zining Yu, Mengxuan Fan, Kaiyan Li, Huihui Sun


Borehole strainmeters that are installed deeply into bedrock are capable of recording both continuous stress and strain measurements, and have consequently become an important tool for monitoring crustal deformation. A YRY-4 borehole strainmeter installed at the Guza Station recorded anomalous changes in borehole strain data preceding the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008 (UTC) (=8.0). We apply principal component analysis (PCA) to analyze borehole strain data from the Guza Station. The first principal component eigenvalues and eigenvectors are calculated. The fitted results of the cumulative number of anomalous eigenvalues demonstrate that an acceleration occurred approximately 4 months before the earthquake (from January 2008). The results of the combined eigenvalue and eigenvector analyses show that the spatial distribution of eigenvectors and accelerated occurrence of eigenvalue anomalies represents the stress evolution characteristics of the fault from a steady state to a sub-instability state in rock experiments. We tentatively infer that this process may also be linked to the preparation phase of a large earthquake.


Borehole strain, The Wenchuan earthquake, Principal component analysis, eigenvalue and eigenvector, earthquake precursor

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