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Evaluation of deep moonquake source parameters: Implication for fault characteristics and thermal state

Abstract : While deep moonquakes are seismic events commonly observed on the Moon, their source mechanism is still unexplained. The two main issues are poorly constrained source parameters and incompatibilities between the thermal profiles suggested by many studies and the apparent need for brittle properties at these depths. In this study, we reinvestigated the deep moonquake data to reestimate its source parameters and uncover the characteristics of deep moonquake faults that differ from those on Earth. We first improve the estimation of source parameters through spectral analysis using new broadband seismic records made by combining those of the Apollo long- and short-period seismometers. We use the broader frequency band of the combined spectra to estimate corner frequencies and DC values of spectra, which are important parameters to constrain the source parameters. We further use the spectral features to estimate seismic moments and stress drops for more than 100 deep moonquake events from three different source regions. This study revealed that deep moonquake faults are extremely smooth compared to terrestrial faults. Second, we reevaluate the brittle-ductile transition temperature that is consistent with the obtained source parameters. We show that the source parameters imply that the tidal stress is the main source of the stress glut causing deep moonquakes and the large strain rate from tides makes the brittle-ductile transition temperature higher. Higher transition temperatures open a new possibility to construct a thermal model that is consistent with deep moonquake occurrence and pressure condition and thereby improve our understandings of the deep moonquake source mechanism
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Taichi Kawamura, Philippe Lognonné, Yasuhiro Nishikawa, Satoshi Tanaka. Evaluation of deep moonquake source parameters: Implication for fault characteristics and thermal state. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, Wiley-Blackwell, 2017, 122 (7), pp.1487-1504. ⟨10.1002/2016JE005147⟩. ⟨insu-02553247⟩

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