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Published December 1981 | Published
Journal Article Open

A broadband study of the 13 August 1978 Santa Barbara earthquake


The Santa Barbara earthquake of 13 August 1978, provides an opportunity to perform a broadband investigation of body waves for a well-recorded, moderate size (M_L = 5.1) event. The long- and short-period teleseismic body waves are modeled in the time domain to construct a source time function which is consistent in the period range of 1 to 20 sec. The long-period records indicate an overall duration of 6 sec while the short-period records reveal the fine-scale character of the slip history consisting of two sharp pulses separated by about 1 sec. The source mechanism determined from this analysis is a moderately dipping (30°NE) thrust with significant left-lateral slip. The moment was determined to be 1.1 × 10^(25) dyne-cm. The earthquake was also reasonably well recorded on accelerographs in the near-field. The modeling of the strong motion displacements was a two step procedure: (1) the displacements were modeled alone, and (2) in an attempt to achieve consistency between the local and far-field time functions, the qualitative features of the teleseismic short-period time function were used to predict the displacements. If the two sources in the short-period time function are allowed to have different mechanisms, the displacements can be modeled quite well. This suggests that the overall faulting process was rough, and the multiple source character suggested at high frequencies is due to high-stress drop asperities. The two sources are modeled as asperities separated by 1.5 km; the first source has a mechanism consistent with the teleseismic solution while the second source is more steeply dipping. The total moment determined from the strong motion data is 3.5 × 10^(24) dyne-cm or one-third the long-period moment. This is consistent with other recent studies which suggest that the high-frequency strong ground motion is controlled by the distribution of asperities even though the sum of their moments may be small compared to the overall moment. This study also shows the importance of teleseismic short periods in predicting the local displacements.

Additional Information

© 1981, by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received April 13, 1981. The authors wish to thank Thorne Lay and Tom Heaton for many useful discussions. Thorne Lay also read the manuscript and made useful suggestions. Dave Boore reviewed the manuscript and made comments which helped improve the quality of it. Research was supported by the Earth Sciences Section, National Science Foundation Grant PER-7921769.

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