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Journal Articles Science Year : 2008

The Aftershock Signature of Supershear Earthquakes


Recent studies show that earthquake faults may rupture at speeds exceeding the shear wave velocity of rocks. This supershear rupture produces in the ground a seismic shock wave similar to the sonic boom produced by a supersonic airplane. This shock wave may increase the destruction caused by the earthquake. We report that supershear earthquakes are characterized by a specific pattern of aftershocks: The fault plane itself is remarkably quiet whereas aftershocks cluster off the fault, on secondary structures that are activated by the supershear rupture. The post-earthquake quiescence of the fault shows that friction is relatively uniform over supershear segments, whereas the activation of off-fault structures is explained by the shock wave radiation, which produces high stresses over a wide zone surrounding the fault.
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insu-00332509 , version 1 (21-10-2008)



Michel Bouchon, H. Karabulut. The Aftershock Signature of Supershear Earthquakes. Science, 2008, 320 (6), pp.1323 à 1325. ⟨10.1126/science.1155030⟩. ⟨insu-00332509⟩
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