Coseismic Slip Distribution of the 2019 Mw 7.5 New Ireland Earthquake from the Integration of Multiple Remote Sensing Techniques

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Published in Remote Sensing, 2019

Song, C., Yu, C., Li, Z., Li, Y., & Xiao, R.


The 2019 Mw 7.5 New Ireland earthquake occurred at an equatorial area where the dense vegetation prevents remote sensing techniques such as C- or X-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) from acquiring coherent phase measurements. Therefore, in this paper, multiple remote sensing techniques including the L-band interferometric SAR, the range and azimuth offset tracking of SAR intensities, and the offset tracking of optical images were employed to map its co-seismic deformation field and to determine the slip distribution. The surface rupture was clearly and consistently captured by all offset observations, with the ground fault trace striking at an angel of 315° and extending over 10 km. An iterative weighting strategy based on the residual root mean square of inversions using individual datasets was developed to determine the relative weight of each dataset, allowing for the joint inversion of the fault geometry, the refinement of the dip angle, and the determination of the best fitting slip distribution. The resultant model indicates a nearly left-lateral strike-slip motion on the Weitin fault that ruptured to the surface with a maximum slip of 6.10 m, occurring at a depth of ~10 km, and a geodetic moment release of 1.03 × 1020 Nm, corresponding to a magnitude of Mw 7.31. The distribution of aftershocks shows about 70% of aftershocks were located in the area with increased Coulomb failure stress and few aftershocks in the subduction zone to the south of the Weitin fault were triggered by this event.

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