The 2017 Mw 7.3 Sarpol Zahāb Earthquake, Iran: A compact blind shallow-dipping thrust event in the mountain front fault basement

Kejie Chen, Wenbin Xu*, P. Martin Mai, Hua Gao, Lei Zhang, Xiaoli Ding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The 12 November 2017 Mw 7.3 Sarpol Zahāb earthquake is one of the largest events to have occurred in the north-western Zagros fold-and-thrust belt during the instrumental period. We use teleseismic and synthetic aperture radar data to study the earthquake source parameters, rupture process and active tectonic characteristics of the event. We find that both data sets individually produce remarkably similar slip distribution, indicative of buried faulting that is consistent with the lack of significant surface rupture. Through the joint inversion of satellite radar and teleseismic data, we find that the rupture propagated rapidly (~3.2 km/s) and asymmetrically along strike to the south, but relatively slowly (~1.5 km/s) in the updip direction, and formed a single large-slip asperity with a peak slip value close to 5 m. Given the regional tectonic context of the distribution of known faults and lithologies, we suggest that the maximum slip is either located in the lowest sedimentary cover or the uppermost basement of the Mountain Front Fault.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Nov 13 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank editor Kelin Wang and two anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved this manuscript. The seismic data were processed using the SAC software packages. The ALOS-2 data were provided by JAXA ( ) under a contract of the 6th Research Announcement for ALOS-2 (No. P1246, P3381) and the Sentinel-1A data by ESA/Copernicus ( ). Several figures were prepared by using the Generic Mapping Tools software. The modified Mudpy software was used for slip inversion. W. X. was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Early Career Scheme Fund (F-PP4B). P.M.M is funded by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, grants BAS/1339-01-01 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • InSAR
  • Joint inversion
  • Mountain Front Fault
  • Zagros

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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