Geophysical Research Letters

Locations and types of ruptures involved in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake inferred from SAR image matching



[1] We have detected detailed ground displacements in the proximity of the Longmen Shan fault zone (LMSFZ) by applying a SAR offset-tracking method in the analysis of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. An elevation-dependent correction is indispensable for achieving sub-meter accuracy. A sharp displacement discontinuity with a relative motion of ∼1–2 m appears over a length of 200 km along the LMSFZ, which demonstrates that the main rupture has proceeded on the Beichuan fault (BF) among several active faults composing the LMSFZ, and a new active fault is detected on the northeastward extension of the BF. The rupture on the BF is characterized by a right-lateral motion in the northeast, while in the southwest an oblique right-lateral thrust slip is suggested. In contrast to the northeast, where a major rupture proceeded on the BF only, in the southwest multiple thrust ruptures have occurred in the southeastern foot of the Pengguan massif.