A Caltech Library Service

Observational constraints on the fracture energy of subduction zone earthquakes

Venkataraman, Anupama and Kanamori, Hiroo (2004) Observational constraints on the fracture energy of subduction zone earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research B, 109 (B5). Art. No. B05302. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2003JB002549.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We relate seismologically observable parameters such as radiated energy, seismic moment, rupture area, and rupture speed to the dynamics of faulting. To achieve this objective, we computed the radiated energy for 23 subduction zone earthquakes recorded between 1992 and 2001; most of these earthquakes have a magnitude M_w > 7.5, but we also included some smaller (M_w ∼ 6.7) well-studied subduction zone earthquakes and six crustal earthquakes. We compiled static stress drop estimates for these 29 earthquakes from literature and used a slip-weakening model to determine the radiation efficiency of these earthquakes. We also determined the rupture speed of these earthquakes from literature. From fracture mechanics, fracture energy, and hence radiation efficiency, can be related to the rupture speed. The radiation efficiencies estimated from the partitioning of energy as given by the slip-weakening model are consistent with the rupture speed estimated for these earthquakes. Most earthquakes have radiation efficiencies between 0.25 and 1 and are hence efficient in generating seismic waves, but tsunami earthquakes and two deep earthquakes, the 1994 Bolivia and the 1999 Russia-China border earthquakes, have very small radiation efficiencies (<0.25) and hence dissipate a large amount of energy during faulting. We suggest that differences in the radiation efficiencies of different types of earthquakes could be due to fundamental differences in their rupture mechanics. In deep events, the energy is probably dissipated in thermal processes in the fault zone, while it is possible that the morphology of the trench causes large energy dissipation during the rupture process of tsunami earthquakes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Kanamori, Hiroo0000-0001-8219-9428
Additional Information:Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 21 April 2003; revised 28 October 2003; accepted 10 February 2004; published 11 May 2004. This research was partially supported by NSF Cooperative Agreements EAR-9909371 and EAR-0125182 and also USGS-HQGR0035. We thank Kevin Mayeda and an anonymous reviewer for comments and suggestions that considerably improved our manuscript. This is contribution 8948 of the Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:radiation efficiency; fracture energy; dissipated energy; rupture velocity; static stress drop; radiated seismic energy
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences8948
Issue or Number:B5
Classification Code:7209 Seismology: Earthquake dynamics and mechanics; 7215 Seismology: Earthquake parameters; 7230 Seismology: Seismicity and seismotectonics
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141027-114959475
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Venkataraman, A., and H. Kanamori (2004), Observational constraints on the fracture energy of subduction zone earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res., 109, B05302, doi:10.1029/2003JB002549
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50854
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Oct 2014 20:14
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:01

Repository Staff Only: item control page