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Published February 1983 | Published
Journal Article Open

The near-source ground motion of the 6 August 1979 Coyote Lake, California, earthquake


A finite fault striking N24°W and extending to a depth of 10 km is proposed to explain the strong ground motion data for the 6 August 1979 Coyote Lake, California, earthquake (M_L = 5.9). Our source model suggests that right-lateral faulting initiated at a depth of 8 km and ruptured toward the south with a velocity of 2.8 km/sec. This unilateral rupture can explain the large displacement recorded south of the epicenter. However, the waveform coherency across an array south and southwest of the epicenter suggests that the rupture length is less than 6 km. The maximum dislocation is about 120 cm in a small area near the hypocenter, and the total moment is estimated to be 3.5 × 10^(24) dyne-cm. An abrupt stopping phase which corresponds to a deceleration of right-lateral motion can explain the high peak acceleration recorded at array station 6. The stress drop in the hypocentral area is about 140 bars; the average stress drop over the entire rupture surface is 30 bars. The preferred finite-source model can predict the P_(n1) waveforms and the beginning features in the teleseismic seismograms. No clear arrivals can be observed in the near-source data for the possible second and third smaller events suggested by Nabelek (personal communication).

Additional Information

© 1983, by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 14 April 1982. We would like to thank Tom Heaton, Steve Hartzell, Jeff Given, and Hiroo Kanamori for carefully reading the manuscript. Steve Hartzell and David Harkrider assisted in computing the Green's functions. Tom Heaton provided the finite-fault summation programs. The assistance from Terry Wallace and Gladys Engen in computing the P_(n1) waves is acknowledged. This research is supported by Earth Sciences Section, National Science Foundation PFR-7921769.

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August 19, 2023
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