Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 93, Issue 6, pp 899–909 | Cite as

The cause of the 2011 Hawthorne (Nevada) earthquake swarm constrained by seismic and InSAR methods

  • Xianjie ZhaEmail author
  • Zhe Jia
  • Zhiyang Dai
  • Zhong Lu
Original Article


We used both seismic and InSAR data to investigate the mechanism behind the 2011 Hawthorne (Nevada) earthquake swarm that occurred between March 15 and August 17, 2011. Regional seismic data were used to estimate the centroid depth and focal mechanism for nine earthquakes that occurred in this swarm, with magnitudes between \(M_w\)3.9 and \(M_w\)4.8. The inferred focal mechanisms indicate that the source of these earthquakes is normal faulting with a small left-lateral strike-slip component along the southwest direction. Three InSAR displacement maps covering the epicentral zone of the 2011 Hawthorne earthquakes were inverted to get a slip model. The slip distribution shows that the deformation source is characterized by normal faulting, consistent with our inferred focal mechanisms. Our results suggest that the seismogenic zone was in the tensile stress environment. The temporal and spatial evolutions of seismicity suggest that the 2011 Hawthorne swarm might be caused by aseismic slip. Therefore, the 2011 Hawthorne earthquake swarm may have been the result of aseismic slip under the regional tectonic stress, and had nothing to do with volcanic activity. However, the quantitative evidence for aseismic slip is limited to the indication that the geodetic moment is 15% greater than the seismic moment, which is near the level of uncertainty.


InSAR Earthquake observations Earthquake swarm 



We also thank Charles W. Wicks of U.S. Geological Survey for his technical guidance in the deformation inversion. This work was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41374037), the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (Nos. WK2080000053 and WK2080000078) and the SRF for ROCS, SEM (No. WF2080000021).

Supplementary material

190_2018_1212_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 3203 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

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