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Transient gravity perturbations induced by earthquake rupture

Harms, J. and Ampuero, J.-P. and Barsuglia, M. and Chassande-Mottin, E. and Montagner, J.-P. and Somala, S. N. and Whiting, B. F. (2015) Transient gravity perturbations induced by earthquake rupture. Geophysical Journal International, 201 (3). pp. 1416-1425. ISSN 0956-540X. doi:10.1093/gji/ggv090.

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The static and transient deformations produced by earthquakes cause density perturbations which, in turn, generate immediate, long-range perturbations of the Earth's gravity field. Here, an analytical solution is derived for gravity perturbations produced by a point double-couple source in homogeneous, infinite, non-self-gravitating elastic media. The solution features transient gravity perturbations that occur at any distance from the source between the rupture onset time and the arrival time of seismic P waves, which are of potential interest for real-time earthquake source studies and early warning. An analytical solution for such prompt gravity perturbations is presented in compact form. We show that it approximates adequately the prompt gravity perturbations generated by strike-slip and dip-slip finite fault ruptures in a half-space obtained by numerical simulations based on the spectral element method. Based on the analytical solution, we estimate that the observability of prompt gravity perturbations within 10 s after rupture onset by current instruments is severely challenged by the background microseism noise but may be achieved by high-precision gravity strainmeters currently under development. Our analytical results facilitate parametric studies of the expected prompt gravity signals that could be recorded by gravity strainmeters.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Harms, J.0000-0002-7332-9806
Ampuero, J.-P.0000-0002-4827-7987
Montagner, J.-P.0000-0001-9958-3012
Whiting, B. F.0000-0002-8501-8669
Additional Information:© 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2015 February 20. Received 2015 February 11; in original form 2014 October 22. We thank Eric Clévédé for discussions during the initial phase of this study and Mauricio Fuentes for assistance with verification and simplification of analytical derivations. This work was supported by NSF Grants PHY 0855313 and PHY 1205512 to UF. BFW acknowledges sabbatical support from the Université Paris Diderot and the CNRS through the APC, where part of this work was carried out. JPA acknowledges support by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Caltech. We acknowledge the financial support from the UnivEarthS Labex program at Sorbonne Paris Cité (ANR-10-LABX-0023 and ANR-11-IDEX-0005-02) and the financial support of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche through the grant ANR-14-CE03-0014-01. SPECFEM3D is available at
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY 0855313
NSFPHY 1205512
Université Paris DiderotUNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Sorbonne Paris CitéANR-10-LABX-0023
Sorbonne Paris CitéANR-11-IDEX-0005-02
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)ANR-14-CE03-0014-01
Subject Keywords:Transient deformation; Time variable gravity; Earthquake source observations; Theoretical seismology; Early warning
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150618-084429927
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:J. Harms, J.-P. Ampuero, M. Barsuglia, E. Chassande-Mottin, J.-P. Montagner, S. N. Somala, and B. F. Whiting Transient gravity perturbations induced by earthquake rupture Geophys. J. Int. (June, 2015) 201 (3): 1416-1425 doi:10.1093/gji/ggv090
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58337
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Jun 2015 01:11
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:03

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