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Journal Articles Science Year : 2008

The Aftershock Signature of Supershear Earthquakes

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Abstract

Recent studies show that earthquake faults may rupture at speeds exceeding the shear wave velocity of rocks. This supershear rupture produces in the ground a seismic shock wave similar to the sonic boom produced by a supersonic airplane. This shock wave may increase the destruction caused by the earthquake. We report that supershear earthquakes are characterized by a specific pattern of aftershocks: The fault plane itself is remarkably quiet whereas aftershocks cluster off the fault, on secondary structures that are activated by the supershear rupture. The post-earthquake quiescence of the fault shows that friction is relatively uniform over supershear segments, whereas the activation of off-fault structures is explained by the shock wave radiation, which produces high stresses over a wide zone surrounding the fault.
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Dates and versions

insu-00332509 , version 1 (21-10-2008)

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Michel Bouchon, H. Karabulut. The Aftershock Signature of Supershear Earthquakes. Science, 2008, 320 (6), pp.1323 à 1325. ⟨10.1126/science.1155030⟩. ⟨insu-00332509⟩
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