Observations and modeling of coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake

Citation:
Wang, K, Fialko Y.  2018.  Observations and modeling of coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 123:761-779.

Date Published:

2018/01

Keywords:

afterslip, earthquake, eastern margin, finite-element model, Geochemistry & Geophysics, gorkha, half-space, InSAR, lower crustal flow, megathrust, plateau, postseismic, relaxation, rupture, surface deformation, tibetan, viscosity

Abstract:

We use space geodetic data to investigate coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha earthquake that occurred along the central Himalayan arc. Because the earthquake area is characterized by strong variations in surface relief and material properties, we developed finite element models that explicitly account for topography and 3-D elastic structure. We computed the line-of-sight displacement histories from three tracks of the Sentinel-1A/B Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellites, using persistent scatter method. InSAR observations reveal an uplift of up to approximate to 70mm over approximate to 20months after the main shock, concentrated primarily at the downdip edge of the ruptured asperity. GPS observations also show uplift, as well as southward movement in the epicentral area, qualitatively similar to the coseismic deformation pattern. Kinematic inversions of GPS and InSAR data and forward models of stress-driven creep suggest that the observed postseismic transient is dominated by afterslip on a downdip extension of the seismic rupture. A poroelastic rebound may have contributed to the observed uplift and southward motion, but the predicted surface displacements are small. We also tested a wide range of viscoelastic relaxation models, including 1-D and 3-D variations in the viscosity structure. Models of a low-viscosity channel previously invoked to explain the long-term uplift and variations in topography at the plateau margins predict opposite signs of horizontal and vertical displacements compared to those observed. Our results do not preclude a possibility of deep-seated viscoelastic response beneath southern Tibet with a characteristic relaxation time greater than the observation period (2years).

Notes:

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Website

DOI:

10.1002/2017jb014620