Focal Mechanisms of the 2016 Central Italy Earthquake Sequence Inferred from High-Rate GPS and Broadband Seismic Waveforms
Numerous shallow earthquakes, including a multitude of small shocks and three moderate mainshocks, i.e., the Amatrice earthquake on 24 August, the Visso earthquake on 26 October and the Norcia earthquake on 30 October, occurred throughout central Italy in late 2016 and resulted in many casualties and property losses. The three mainshocks were successfully recorded by high-rate Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers located near the epicenters, while the broadband seismograms in this area
... ms in this area were mostly clipped due to the strong shaking. We retrieved the dynamic displacements from these high-rate GPS records using kinematic precise point positioning analysis. The focal mechanisms of the three mainshocks were estimated both individually and jointly using high-rate GPS waveforms in a very small epicentral distance range (<100 km) and unclipped regional broadband waveforms (100~600 km). The results show that the moment magnitudes of the Amatrice, Visso, and Norcia events are Mw 6.1, Mw 5.9, and Mw 6.5, respectively. Their focal mechanisms are dominated by normal faulting, which is consistent with the local tectonic environment. The moment tensor solution for the Norcia earthquake demonstrates a significant non-double-couple component, which suggests that the faulting interface is complicated. Sparse network tests were conducted to retrieve stable focal mechanisms using a limited number of GPS records. Our results confirm that high-rate GPS waveforms can act as a complement to clipped near-field long-period seismic waveform signals caused by the strong motion and can effectively constrain the focal mechanisms of moderate-to large-magnitude earthquakes. Thus, high-rate GPS observations extremely close to the epicenter can be utilized to rapidly obtain focal mechanisms, which is critical for earthquake emergency response operations.