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Modeling of rupture using strong motion generation area: a case study of Hualien earthquake (Mw 6.1) occurred on April 18, 2019

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The strong Hualien earthquake (Mw 6.1) occurred along the suture zone of the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, which struck the Hualien city in eastern Taiwan on April 18, 2019. The focal mechanism of this earthquake shows that it is caused by a rupture within a thrust. In the present study, the rupture plane responsible for this earthquake has been modeled using the modified semi-empirical technique (MSET). The whole rupture plane is assumed to be composed of strong motion generation areas (SMGAs) along which the slip occurs with large velocities. The spatiotemporal distribution of aftershocks of this earthquake within identified rupture plane suggests that there are two SMGAs within the rupture plane. The source displacement spectra (SDS) obtained from the observed records have been used to compute the source parameters of these two SMGAs. The MSET efficiently simulates strong ground motion (SGM) at the rock site. The shallow subsurface shear wave velocity profile at various stations has been used as an input to SHAKE91 algorithm for converting records at the surface to that at the rock site. The simulated records are compared with the observed records based on root-mean-square error (RMSE) in peak ground acceleration (PGA) of horizontal components. Various parameters of the rupture plane have been selected using an iterative forward modeling scheme. The accelerograms have been simulated for all the stations that lie within an epicentral distance ranging from 5 to 100 km using the final rupture plane parameters. The comparison of observed and synthetic records validates the effectiveness of the simulation technique and suggests that the Hualien earthquake consists of two SMGAs responsible for high-frequency SGM.

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Availability of data and material

The data used in this research work are provided by Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

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Self-developed code in FORTRAN.


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The acceleration waveform data and aftershocks data of the April 18, 2019, Hualien earthquake are provided by Geophysical Database Management System (GDMS). This is a web-based data service platform in Taiwan that is constructed by Central Weather Bureau (CWB). The data provided by CWB for this work are highly acknowledged. The authors would like to offer special thanks to Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee for the support required for the research work shown in this paper. Project grant No. GITA/DST/TWN/P-75/2017 approved by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has been highly acknowledged.


This research work is done under project Grant No. GITA/DST/TWN/P-75/2017 approved by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

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Saurabh Sharma has done the formal analysis and research work presented in this paper using MSET. A. Joshi supervised the whole research work methodology. Sandeep has helped with his experience in the simulation technique used in this paper. C.-M. Lin, C.-H. Kuo, and K.-L. Wen have provided the data and also their valuable comments regarding the work presented. S. Singh and M.L. Sharma have helped in the planning and execution of the manuscript. Mohit Pandey and Jyoti Singh have helped in writing the initial draft and data presentation. All the named authors provided their critical feedback on data interpretation and supported the improvement of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Saurabh Sharma.

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Edited by Dr. Aybige Akinci (ASSOCIATE EDITOR) / Prof. Ramón Zúñiga (CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF).

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Sharma, S., Joshi, A., Sandeep et al. Modeling of rupture using strong motion generation area: a case study of Hualien earthquake (Mw 6.1) occurred on April 18, 2019. Acta Geophys. 71, 1–28 (2023).

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