Earthquake Source Characteristics along the Flores Thrust Fault, Indonesia

Ph.D. Thesis by Dimas Salomo Januarianto Sianipar, June 2022

at the Taiwan International Ph.D. Graduate Program for Earth System Science (TIGP-ESS) Academia Sinica & National Central University, Taiwan

Advisors: Dr. Bor-Shouh Huang, Dr. Kuo-Fong Ma, Dr. Po-Fei Chen

207 pages.

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The Flores Thrust fault zone in the eastern Sunda–Banda arc (Indonesia) is one of the rare back-arc thrusting faults in the world. This southward-dipping fault is located in the back-arc region in the transition zone from the subduction zone at the Sunda/Java trench to the continent-to-arc collision at the Timor trough. There are some arguable views on the tectonic development and present kinematics of this fault zone. Despite the Flores Thrust often hosting destructive shallow earthquakes and some triggered tsunami, there is a lack of study that integrates seismic source investigations for earthquakes along the Flores Thrust fault zone. Three parts of the Flores Thrust fault have been seismically active and produced some significant M5.7+ earthquakes in the present earthquake catalog, namely, from west to east, the Lombok segment, the Sumbawa segment, and the West Flores segment. The seismicity tends to be clustered with a cascade of moderate magnitude earthquakes in these segments in the western part of the fault zone.

Using seismic data came from the global and regional seismic network, in this thesis, we investigate the source characteristics of earthquakes along the Flores Thrust fault zone, mainly for earthquakes that occurred from 1999 to 2022. We performed finite-fault rupture inversions for MW 6.2+ earthquakes constrained by the teleseismic body and surface waves and introduced jackknife resampling tests to measure the model uncertainties. In addition, we investigated two seismic sequences in Lombok and West Flores using double-difference hypocenter relocation and statistical seismology. We mainly focus on three segments, the Lombok segment that ruptured in July–August 2018 Lombok seismic sequence (with one MW 6.5 and two MW 6.9 events), the Sumbawa segment that ruptured in the 2002–2009 Sumbawa earthquakes (with five MW 6.2–6.6 events), and the West Flores segment that hosted an MW 6.4 normal-faulting event in 2003 and a seismic sequence in 2022.

We performed a comprehensive seismological analysis to characterize earthquake sources and seismicity along the Flores Thrust fault. As a result, we suggested that the earthquakes ruptured the major splay thrust fault in the zone and not in the basal detachment fault of the incipient subducting Flores sea oceanic crust. Furthermore, we highlighted the similarities of the thrusting rupture processes of Flores Thrust earthquakes, i.e., in their rupture initiation, speed, size, and static stress drops, and they are the type of thrust earthquakes that occur in a plate boundary.

In the Lombok segment, we discussed the relations of unusual, energetic seismicity in 2018 and the rupture behaviors of the significant cascading events. The mechanical discrepancy between complex fault ruptures and the spatiotemporal evolution of seismicity suggested an earthquake-volcano interaction and provides insights into how fault rupture behaves in such a fault-volcano environment. In addition, the westernmost and easternmost termination of seismicity extent indicated a strong segment barrier. In the Sumbawa segment, constructed finite-fault models of five moderate earthquakes suggest a non-overlap asperities area. The ruptures often propagated along-strike or down-dip directions with low static stress drops. We suggested that the cascade moderate-size asperities with low static stress drop may be the indication of the less mature feature of western Flores Thrust compared to its more developed eastern part. Alternatively, these earthquakes may act as asperities located at the down-dip patches of the Sumbawa segment, and its shallower section still has a potential of ruptures with MW > 7.0, similar to a historical earthquake in 1836. In the West Flores segment, the 2022 seismic sequence also ruptured the major splay thrust fault and also highlighted a complex deformation, but we confirmed that the 2003 normal faulting event was not located on the Flores Thrust; instead, it ruptured at the deeper depth, in the Flores Sea incipient subducted slab (intraslab event), below the Flores Thrust fault zone.

We proposed a new seismotectonic model and segmentation of the Flores Thrust fault zone based on our source models and seismicity analysis results. Our result indicated that the Flores Thrust is a complex discontinuous zone and that the three segments analyzed in this study behaved differently. In addition, we compiled earthquake dimensions for significant earthquakes along the Flores Thrust fault necessary to build an earthquake source scaling. This study provides a unified treatment of faulting mechanics and seismicity along the Flores Thrust fault and sheds light on the seismotectonic, earthquake nucleation, and seismicity activation in the Lombok, Sumbawa, and West Flores segments. It would be necessary for further seismic hazard analysis.

Keywords: active fault, aftershock, asperities, earthquake, finite-fault, Flores earthquake, Flores Thrust, foreshock, hypocenter relocation, Lombok earthquake, rupture, seismicity, seismology, Sumbawa earthquake

Original source:

Table of Contents

Abstract iii
Acknowledgments v
Table of Contents vi
List of Figures x
List of Tables xiii

1.1 Motivation 1
1.2 Seismotectonic Background 3
1.2.1 Indonesia Region 3
1.2.2 Eastern Sunda-Banda Arc 4
1.2.3 The Flores Thrust 9
1.3 Seismicity along the Flores Thrust Fault 13
1.3.1 Historical Earthquakes 13
1.3.2 Seismicity 1964-2009 14
1.3.3 BMKG (IA) Seismic Network 15
1.3.4 Seismicity 2010-2018 15
1.3.5 Seismicity 2019-2022 17
1.3.6 Source Mechanisms 18
1.4 Research Questions 25
1.5 Purposes/Objectives 26
1.6 Brief Methodology 26
1.6.1 Finite-Fault Rupture Inversion 26
1.6.2 Seismicity Analysis 29
1.7 Outline/Structure of the Thesis 30

2.1 Introduction 31
2.1.1 The 2018 Lombok Earthquake Sequence 31
2.1.2 Tectonic Setting 31
2.1.3 Overview on Studies of Lombok Earthquakes 34
2.2 Data 35
2.2.1 Earthquake Bulletin 35
2.2.2 Regional Broadband Seismic Data 35
2.2.3 Global Data 36
2.3 Methods 36
2.3.1 Hypocenter Relocation 36
2.3.2 Finite-fault Inversions 38
2.4 Analysis and Results 38
2.4.1 Relocation Result 39
2.4.2 Finite-fault Rupture Models 40
2.5 Discussions 46
2.5.1 Rupture Characteristics 46
2.5.2 Relations with Seismicity Evolution 49
2.6 Conclusions 59

3.1 Introduction 60
3.2 Data 61
3.3 Methods 64
3.4 Analysis and Results 67
3.4.1 2009 Event 68
3.4.2 2002 Event 74
3.4.3 2006 Event 75
3.4.4 2007-1 Event 75
3.4.5 2007-2 Event 79
3.4.6 Validation by Empirical Green’s Function Analysis 81
3.5 Discussions 81
3.5.1 Rupture Initiation 81
3.5.2 Rupture Speed 85
3.5.3 Rupture Size and Stress Drop 86
3.5.4 Architecture of the Flores Thrust 89
3.5.5 Two Kinematic Interpretations 90
3.5.6 Possible Seismic Gap 91
3.5.7 Implications for Regional Seismic and Tsunami Hazards 93
3.6 Conclusions 94

4.1 Introduction 96
4.2 Data and Methods 99
4.2.1 Finite-fault Inversion for the 2003 Event 99
4.2.2 Seismicity Analysis during the 2022 Seismic Sequence 100
4.3 Results and Analysis 101
4.3.1 Finite-fault Model of the 2003 Event 101
4.3.2 The 2022 Seismic Sequence 105
4.4 Discussions 108
4.4.1 Source of the 2003 Event 108
4.4.2 View on Seismotectonic of the West Flores Segment 109
4.4.3 Foreshocks and Aftershocks 109
4.5 Conclusions 112

Chapter V: SUMMARY 113
5.1 Perspectives 113
5.1.1 Source Properties 116
5.1.2 Seismotectonic Implications 117
5.1.3 Improved Understanding of Seismicity 118
5.1.4 Seismic Hazard Implications 122
5.1.5 Comparisons with Other Back-arc Thrusts 122
5.2 Limitations 123
5.2.1 Data Limitations 123
5.2.2 Method Limitations 124
5.3 Suggestions and Future Works 125
5.3.1 Further Source Characterizations 125
5.3.2 Strike-slip Earthquakes 126
5.3.3 Westernmost Extension of Flores Thrust Fault 126
5.3.4 The December 14, 2021 earthquake 127
5.3.5 Seismic and Tsunami Hazard Assessment 128
5.4 Concluding Remarks 128
Bibliography 130
Appendixes 140
Appendix A 140
Appendix B 141
Appendix C 145
Appendix D 157
Appendix E 159
Appendix F 160


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