Large slip, long duration, and moderate shaking of the Nicaragua 1992 tsunami earthquake caused by low near-trench rock rigidity

Sallares, Valenti; Prada, Manel; Riquelme, Sebastian; Melendez, Adria; Calahorrano, Alcinoe; Grevemeyer, Ingo


Large earthquake ruptures propagating up to areas close to subduction trenches are infrequent, but when they occur, they heavily displace the ocean seafloor originating destructive tsunamis. The current paradigm is that the large seafloor deformation is caused by local factors reducing friction and increasing megathrust fault slip, or prompting the activation of ancillary faults or energy sources. As alternative to site-specific models, it has been proposed that large shallow slip could result from depth-dependent rock rigidity variations. To confront both hypotheses, here, we map elastic rock properties across the rupture zone of the MS7.0-MW7.7 1992 Nicaragua tsunami earthquake to estimate a property-compatible finite fault solution. The obtained self-consistent model accounts for trenchward increasing slip, constrains stress drop, and explains key tsunami earthquake characteristics such as long duration, high-frequency depletion, and magnitude discrepancy. The confirmation that these characteristics are all intrinsic attributes of shallow rupture opens new possibilities to improve tsunami hazard assessment.

Más información

Título de la Revista: SCIENCE ADVANCES
Volumen: 7
Número: 32
Fecha de publicación: 2021