Coseismic slip model of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake derived from joint inversion of interferometric synthetic aperture radar, GPS, and field data



[1] We derived a coseismic slip model for the Mw 7.9 2008 Wenchuan earthquake on the basis of radar line-of-sight displacements from ALOS interferograms, GPS vectors, and geological field data. Available interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data provided a nearly complete coverage of the surface deformation along both ascending (fine beam mode) and descending orbits (ScanSAR to ScanSAR mode). The earthquake was modeled using four subfaults with variable geometry and dip to capture the simultaneous rupture of both the Beichuan fault and the Pengguan fault. Our model misfits show that the InSAR and GPS data are highly compatible; the combined inversion yields a 93% variance reduction. The best fit model has fault planes that rotate from shallow dip in the south (35°) to nearly vertical dip toward the north (70°). Our rupture model is complex with variations in both depth and rake along two major fault strands. In the southern segment of the Beichuan fault, the slip is mostly thrust (<13 m) and occurred principally in the upper 10 km of the crust; the rupture progressively transformed to right-lateral strike slip as it propagated northeast (with maximum offsets of 7 m). Our model suggests that most of the moment release was limited to the shallow part of the crust (depth less than 10 km). We did not find any “shallow slip deficit” in the slip depth distribution of this mixed mechanism earthquake. Aftershocks were primarily distributed below the section of the fault that ruptured coseismically.