The 2021 Mw 7.4 Madoi Earthquake: An Archetype Bilateral Slip-Pulse Rupture Arrested at a Splay Fault

Kejie Chen, Jean Philippe Avouac, Jianghui Geng, Cunren Liang, Zhenguo Zhang, Zhicai Li, Shengpeng Zhang

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We combine measurements of ground deformation from Synthetic Aperture Radar images, high-rate Global Navigation Satellite System and tele-seismic waveforms to study the rupture kinematics of the Madoi Earthquake, which occurred in eastern Tibet on 21 May 2021 and reached a moment magnitude Mw 7.4. The data show nearly pure left-lateral motion along a 170 km long rupture and a total duration of 36 s. The earthquake initiated near the middle of the main segment and evolved in a bilateral slip pulse rupture which propagated at a sub-Rayleigh speed of 2.6–2.8 km/s. In our model, slip is concentrated at depth of less than ∼15 km and reaches a maximum of 4.2 m. The rupture arrested ∼10 s after branching on the extensional splay faults at both extremities. The branching onto the splay faults and the eventual arrest of the rupture is used to provide constraints on the fault frictional properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL095243
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 42074024), the Young Talent Promotion Project of China Association for Science and Technology, and National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFC1503601). We have further benefited from fruitful discussions with Shiqing Xu, Lingling Ye, and Jing Liu. We also thank three anonymous reviewers and the Editor Germán Prieto for helpful reviews.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • bilateral rupture
  • high-rate Global Navigation Satellite System (HR-GNSS)
  • Madoi Earthquake
  • splay fault


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