Spatio-temporal variations of double-couple aftershock mechanisms and possible volumetric earthquake strain


Corresponding author: Z. E. Ross, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740, USA. (


[1] We analyze spatio-temporal patterns in rotation angles of double-couple–constrained mechanisms of aftershocks of the 1992 Landers earthquake. The rotation angles provide information on the distribution of source geometries in different regions of space and time with respect to the mainshock focal mechanism. The results indicate that the mechanisms of the early aftershocks are more scattered and less aligned with the mainshock than those of the long-term events. This is most pronounced around the northern end of the Landers rupture, least pronounced around the central section, and intermediate around the southern end of the rupture. The relatively large scatter and misalignment of the mean rotation angles of the early focal mechanisms around the edges of the Landers rupture suggest possible volumetric earthquake strain in these regions. The results may reflect isotropic source terms produced by dynamic generation of rock damage. Synthetic tests indicate that the observed differences in the rotation distributions of the early and long-term events around the end regions of the Landers rupture can result from neglecting in the inversion process isotropic components that are 0.03–0.15 of the total event moments.