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Dynamic viability of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake cascade on weak crustal faults

Ulrich, Thomas and Gabriel, Alice-Agnes and Ampuero, Jean-Paul and Xu, Wenbin (2019) Dynamic viability of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake cascade on weak crustal faults. Nature Communications, 10 . Art. No. 1213. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC6418120. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09125-w.

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We present a dynamic rupture model of the 2016 M_w 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake to unravel the event’s riddles in a physics-based manner and provide insight on the mechanical viability of competing hypotheses proposed to explain them. Our model reproduces key characteristics of the event and constraints puzzling features inferred from high-quality observations including a large gap separating surface rupture traces, the possibility of significant slip on the subduction interface, the non-rupture of the Hope fault, and slow apparent rupture speed. We show that the observed rupture cascade is dynamically consistent with regional stress estimates and a crustal fault network geometry inferred from seismic and geodetic data. We propose that the complex fault system operates at low apparent friction thanks to the combined effects of overpressurized fluids, low dynamic friction and stress concentrations induced by deep fault creep.

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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle Paper
Gabriel, Alice-Agnes0000-0003-0112-8412
Ampuero, Jean-Paul0000-0002-4827-7987
Xu, Wenbin0000-0001-7294-8229
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 06 April 2018; Accepted 06 February 2019; Published 14 March 2019. Code availability: We used the SeisSol (master branch, version tag 201807_Kaikoura) available on Github. The procedure to download, compile, and run the code is described in the code documentation ( Data availability: The authors declare that all data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and its Methods section. In particular, all data required to run a simulation of the Kaikōura earthquake can be downloaded from We provide a detailed readme file summarizing the data and data formats provided. We used the following projection: WGS 84/UTM Mercator 41 (EPSG:3994). The work presented in this paper was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (projects no. KA 2281/4-1, GA 2465/2-1, GA 2465/3-1), by BaCaTec (project no. A4), by KONWIHR—the Bavarian Competence Network for Technical and Scientific High-Performance Computing (project NewWave), by the Volkswagen Foundation (ASCETE, grant no. 88479), by KAUST-CRG (GAST, grant no. ORS-2016-CRG5-3027 and FRAGEN, grant no. ORS-2017-CRG6 3389.02), by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (ExaHyPE, grant no. 671698 and ChEESE, grant no. 823844), by NSF CAREER award EAR-1151926, by the French government through the UCAJEDI Investments in the Future project ANR-15-IDEX-01 managed by the National Research Agency (ANR), by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University startup grant (1-ZE6R), and by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Early Career Scheme Fund (F-PP4B). Computing resources were provided by the Institute of Geophysics of LMU Munich, the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ, projects no. h019z, pr63qo, and pr45fi on SuperMUC). We thank J. Townend for sharing his stress inversion data, J. Zhang and M. Vallée for sharing moment rate functions, C. Holden and E. d’Anastasio who provided processed GPS time-series, GNS Science for providing active fault database, earthquake rupture maps and reports, continuous GPS data, and strong-motion waveform data. Author Contributions: This project was initiated by J.-P.A. Modeling was conducted by T.U. under the supervision of A.-A.G. with input from J.-P.A. and W.X. The manuscript was written jointly by T.U., A.-A.G., and J.-P.A. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)KA 2281/4-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GA 2465/2-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GA 2465/3-1
Bavarian Competence Network for Technical and Scientific High Performance ComputingNewWave
Volkswagen Foundation88479
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)ORS-2016-CRG5-3027
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)ORS-2017-CRG6 3389.02
European Research Council (ERC)671698
European Research Council (ERC)823844
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-15-IDEX-01
Hong Kong Polytechnic University1-ZE6R
Research Grants Council of Hong KongF-PP4B
Leibniz Supercomputing Centreh019z
Leibniz Supercomputing Centrepr63qo
Leibniz Supercomputing Centrepr45fi
Subject Keywords:Natural hazards; Seismology
PubMed Central ID:PMC6418120
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190204-152118554
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:92637
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Feb 2019 01:08
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 18:00

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