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Transpressional Rupture Cascade of the 2016 M_w 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake, New Zealand

Xu, Wenbin and Feng, Guangcai and Meng, Lingsen and Zhang, Ailin and Ampuero, Jean Paul and Bürgmann, Roland and Fang, Lihua (2018) Transpressional Rupture Cascade of the 2016 M_w 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 123 (3). pp. 2396-2409. ISSN 2169-9313. doi:10.1002/2017JB015168.

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Large earthquakes often do not occur on a simple planar fault but involve rupture of multiple geometrically complex faults. The 2016 M_w 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, New Zealand, involved the rupture of at least 21 faults, propagating from southwest to northeast for about 180 km. Here we combine space geodesy and seismology techniques to study subsurface fault geometry, slip distribution, and the kinematics of the rupture. Our finite‐fault slip model indicates that the fault motion changes from predominantly right‐lateral slip near the epicenter to transpressional slip in the northeast with a maximum coseismic surface displacement of about 10 m near the intersection between the Kekerengu and Papatea faults. Teleseismic back projection imaging shows that rupture speed was overall slow (1.4 km/s) but faster on individual fault segments (approximately 2 km/s) and that the conjugate, oblique‐reverse, north striking faults released the largest high‐frequency energy. We show that the linking Conway‐Charwell faults aided in propagation of rupture across the step over from the Humps fault zone to the Hope fault. Fault slip cascaded along the Jordan Thrust, Kekerengu, and Needles faults, causing stress perturbations that activated two major conjugate faults, the Hundalee and Papatea faults. Our results shed important light on the study of earthquakes and seismic hazard evaluation in geometrically complex fault systems.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Xu, Wenbin0000-0001-7294-8229
Meng, Lingsen0000-0003-2428-0548
Ampuero, Jean Paul0000-0002-4827-7987
Bürgmann, Roland0000-0002-3560-044X
Fang, Lihua0000-0003-2156-4406
Additional Information:© 2018 American Geophysical Union. Received 29 OCT 2017; Accepted 5 FEB 2018; Accepted article online 12 FEB 2018; Published online 10 MAR 2018. We thank associate editor Y Kaneko and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive reviews. The ALOS-2 data were provided by JAXA ( under a contract of the 6th Research Announcement for ALOS-2 (No. 3375) and the Sentinel-1A data by ESA/Copernicus ( The broadband China Array seismic data were provided by China Earthquake Administration (, in Chinese). Hamling et al., (2017) published the GPS data, which can be downloaded from Several figures were prepared by using Generic Mapping Tools software. W.X. was supported by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University startup grant (1-ZE6R) and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) Early Career Scheme (ECS) Fund (Project No. F-PP4B). G.F. was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41574005) and Shenghua Yuying fund of Central South University. A.Z and L.M. were supported by NSF EAR-1614609 and the Knopoff fellowship. J.P.A. was supported by NSF CAREER award EAR-1151926, R.B. was supported by NASA ESI award NNX16AL17G. L.F. was supported by CEA research grant No. 16A43ZX236.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Hong Kong Polytechnic University1-ZE6R
Hong Kong Research Grants CouncilF-PP4B
National Natural Science Foundation41574005
Central South UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Knopoff FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
China Earthquake Administration16A43ZX236
Subject Keywords:Kaikoura Earthquake; Geodetic slip; Back Projection; InSAR 3d displacement
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180212-085412641
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Xu, W., Feng, G., Meng, L., Zhang, A., Ampuero, J. P., Bürgmann, R., & Fang, L. (2018). Transpressional rupture cascade of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123, 2396–2409.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:84782
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Feb 2018 17:57
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:22

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