New Insights on the Uncertainties in Finite-Fault Earthquake Source Inversion

  • Hoby Razafindrakoto

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


New Insights on the Uncertainties in Finite-Fault Earthquake Source Inversion Hoby Njara Tendrisoa Razafindrakoto Earthquake source inversion is a non-linear problem that leads to non-unique solutions. The aim of this dissertation is to understand the uncertainty and reliability in earthquake source inversion, as well as to quantify variability in earthquake rupture models. The source inversion is performed using a Bayesian inference. This technique augments optimization approaches through its ability to image the entire solution space which is consistent with the data and prior information. In this study, the uncertainty related to the choice of source-time function and crustal structure is investigated. Three predefined analytical source-time functions are analyzed; isosceles triangle, Yoffe with acceleration time of 0.1 and 0.3 s. The use of the isosceles triangle as source-time function is found to bias the finite-fault source inversion results. It accelerates the rupture to propagate faster compared to that of the Yoffe function. Moreover, it generates an artificial linear correlation between parameters that does not exist for the Yoffe source-time functions. The effect of inadequate knowledge of Earth’s crustal structure in earthquake rupture models is subsequently investigated. The results show that one-dimensional structure variability leads to parameters resolution changes, with a broadening of the posterior 5 PDFs and shifts in the peak location. These changes in the PDFs of kinematic parameters are associated with the blurring effect of using incorrect Earth structure. As an application to real earthquake, finite-fault source models for the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake are examined using one- and three-dimensional crustal structures. One- dimensional structure is found to degrade the data fitting. However, there is no significant effect on the rupture parameters aside from differences in the spatial slip extension. Stable features are maintained for both structures. In the last part of this work, a multidimensional scaling method is presented to compare and classify earthquake slip distributions. A similarity scale to rank them are thus formulated. Dissimilarities among slip models (from various parameterizations) are computed using two different distance metrics, normalized squared and gray-scale metrics. Multidimensional scaling is then used to visualize the differences among the models. The analyzes are done for 2 case studies; one based on artificial scenarios with a known answer and another one based on the published rupture models of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.
Date of AwardApr 2015
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMartin Mai (Supervisor)


  • Inverse Theory
  • Earthquake Seismology
  • Uncertainty
  • Rupture Process

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