Global compilation of InSAR source models: 1. Comparisons with seismic catalogs

J. Weston, A. M. G. Ferreira, G. J. Funning

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While many earthquakes have now been studied using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data, a full assessment of the quality and additional value of InSAR source parameters compared to seismological techniques is still lacking. We compile a catalog of source models obtained using InSAR and estimate the corresponding centroid moment tensor (CMT) parameters; we refer to this compilation as the ICMT archive. We compare source parameters from over 70 InSAR studies of 57 global earthquakes with those in the Global CMT (GCMT), International Seismological Centre (ISC) and Engdahl-Hilst-Buland (EHB) seismic catalogs. We find an overall good agreement between fault strike, dip and rake values in the GCMT and ICMT archives. Likewise, the differences in seismic moment between these two archives are relatively small, and we do not find support for previously suggested trends of InSAR leading to larger moments than seismic data. However, epicentral locations show substantial discrepancies, which are larger for the GCMT (median differences of ~21 km) than for the EHB and ISC catalogs (median differences of ~10 km). Since InSAR data have a high spatial resolution, and thus should map epicentral locations accurately, this allows us to obtain a first independent estimate of epicentral location errors in the seismic catalogs. Earthquake depths from InSAR are systematically shallower than those in the EHB catalog, with a median of differences of ~5 km. While this trend may be partly due to unmodeled crustal complexity, it is also compatible with the observation that the rupture of crustal earthquakes tends to propagate upward in the seismogenic layer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B08408
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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