Insights into the mechanism of intermediate-depth earthquakes from source properties as imaged by back projection of multiple seismic phases
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)
Volume 116, Issue B6, June 2011
How to Cite
2011), Insights into the mechanism of intermediate-depth earthquakes from source properties as imaged by back projection of multiple seismic phases, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B06310, doi:10.1029/2010JB007831., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 APR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 14 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 7 JUL 2010
- back projection;
- intermediate-depth earthquakes
 This study investigates the spatial and temporal distribution of energy release of large, intermediate-depth earthquakes using a modified back projection technique first used to study the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman megathrust event. Multiple seismic phases are included in the back projection analysis, which provides the capability to determine the energy distribution with respect to depth and time. A total of 22 intermediate-depth earthquakes with moment magnitudes greater than or equal to 6.5 are investigated with hypocentral depths between 100 and 300 km. For most of these events, the vertical extent of energy release is either below the resolution of this study (≤5 km) or slightly above (≤15 km). This observation agrees with previous studies that find large, intermediate-depth earthquakes have subhorizontal rupture planes. The results also show a significant portion of the events have multiple rupture planes that are well separated in depth. The closeness in time of the ruptures on separate planes and the distance between the planes suggest dynamic triggering where the P waves from the first rupture initiate rupture on the second plane. We propose that a dehydration embrittlement mechanism combined with preferentially hydrated subhorizontal faults can explain the observations of dominant subhorizontal rupture planes and the frequent occurrence of rupture complexity involving multiple subevents.