Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published September 22, 2017 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

The hidden simplicity of subduction megathrust earthquakes


The largest observed earthquakes occur on subduction interfaces and frequently cause widespread damage and loss of life. Understanding the rupture behavior of megathrust events is crucial for earthquake rupture physics, as well as for earthquake early-warning systems. However, the large variability in behavior between individual events seemingly defies a description with a simple unifying model. Here we use three source time function (STF) data sets for subduction zone earthquakes, with moment magnitude M_w ≥ 7, and show that such large ruptures share a typical universal behavior. The median STF is scalable between events with different sizes, grows linearly, and is nearly triangular. The deviations from the median behavior are multiplicative and Gaussian—that is, they are proportionally larger for larger events. Our observations suggest that earthquake magnitudes cannot be predicted from the characteristics of rupture onsets.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 2 May 2017; accepted 23 August 2017. The STF data used in this study were generated by Ye et al. (2016), and can be accessed from https://sites.google.com/site/linglingye001/home. The finite fault models and STFs from Hayes (2017) can be obtained through the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center Combined Catalog (https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/search/). The STFs from Vallée et al. (2011) can be downloaded from http://scardec.projects.sismo.ipgp.fr/. This study has been partially funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. J.P.A. acknowledges funding from NSF CAREER award EAR-1151926. We thank L. Ye, H. Kanamori, K. Dahmen, N. Lapusta, H. Owhadi, L. Rivera, D. Sornette, and J.-P. Avouac for discussions, and M. Vallée and G. Hayes for providing their STF data sets.

Attached Files

Supplemental Material - aan5643_Meier_SM.pdf

Supplemental Material - iSTF_vs_medSTF.zip


Files (21.0 MB)
Name Size Download all
15.7 MB Preview Download
5.3 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023