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Nature. 2005 Jun 16;435(7044):933-6.

Extent, duration and speed of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake imaged by the Hi-Net array.

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Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, IGPP 0225, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


The disastrous Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004 was one of the largest ever recorded. The damage potential of such earthquakes depends on the extent and magnitude of fault slip. The first reliable moment magnitude estimate of 9.0 was obtained several hours after the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, but more recent, longer-period, normal-mode analyses have indicated that it had a moment magnitude of 9.3, about 2.5 times larger. Here we introduce a method for directly imaging earthquake rupture that uses the first-arriving compressional wave and is potentially able to produce detailed images within 30 min of rupture initiation. We used the Hi-Net seismic array in Japan as an antenna to map the progression of slip by monitoring the direction of high-frequency radiation. We find that the rupture spread over the entire 1,300-km-long aftershock zone by propagating northward at roughly 2.8 km s(-1) for approximately 8 minutes. Comparisons with the aftershock areas of other great earthquakes indicate that the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake did indeed have a moment magnitude of approximately 9.3. Its rupture, in both duration and extent, is the longest ever recorded.


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