The 2013, Mw 7.7 Balochistan earthquake, energetic strike-slip reactivation of a thrust fault

Jean Philippe Avouac, Francois Ayoub, Shengji Wei, Jean Paul Ampuero, Lingsen Meng, Sebastien Leprince, Romain Jolivet, Zacharie Duputel, Don Helmberger

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Abstract

We analyse the Mw 7.7 Balochistan earthquake of 09/24/2013 based on ground surface deformation measured from sub-pixel correlation of Landsat-8 images, combined with back-projection and finite source modeling of teleseismic waveforms. The earthquake nucleated south of the Chaman strike-slip fault and propagated southwestward along the Hoshab fault at the front of the Kech Band. The rupture was mostly unilateral, propagated at 3 km/s on average and produced a 200 km surface fault trace with purely strike-slip displacement peaking to 10 m and averaging around 6 m. The finite source model shows that slip was maximum near the surface. Although the Hoshab fault is dipping by 45° to the North, in accordance with its origin as a thrust fault within the Makran accretionary prism, slip was nearly purely strike-slip during that earthquake. Large seismic slip on such a non-optimally oriented fault was enhanced possibly due to the influence of the free surface on dynamic stresses or to particular properties of the fault zone allowing for strong dynamic weakening. Strike-slip faulting on thrust fault within the eastern Makran is interpreted as due to eastward extrusion of the accretionary prism as it bulges out over the Indian plate. Portions of the Makran megathrust, some thrust faults in the Kirthar range and strike-slip faults within the Chaman fault system have been brought closer to failure by this earthquake. Aftershocks cluster within the Chaman fault system north of the epicenter, opposite to the direction of rupture propagation. By contrast, few aftershocks were detected in the area of maximum moment release. In this example, aftershocks cannot be used to infer earthquake characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume391
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Balochistan earthquake
  • Chaman fault
  • Earthquake source model
  • Image geodesy
  • Makran megathrust

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    Avouac, J. P., Ayoub, F., Wei, S., Ampuero, J. P., Meng, L., Leprince, S., Jolivet, R., Duputel, Z., & Helmberger, D. (2014). The 2013, Mw 7.7 Balochistan earthquake, energetic strike-slip reactivation of a thrust fault. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 391, 128-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2014.01.036