The 1991 Racha earthquake, Caucasus: Multiple source model with compensative type of motion


The source of the 1991 Racha earthquake in the Greater Caucasus generally corresponds to thrusting, which is characteristic of the predominant regional compression stress field. A more adequate view of the rupture process is provided by a complex source model composed of three subsources. This model is reconstructed by the body-wave inversion and consistent with the spatial distribution of the aftershocks. In terms of the suggested model, at the last stage of the rupture process, the opposite slip type (normal faulting) is observed in the source, which seems to be objective. It compensates the rapid (probably short) local redistribution of stresses caused by the thrusts in the first two subsources. The surface deformations observed in the epicentral zones of strong earthquakes are probably the analogs of such a compensative mechanism. For example, in the rear parts of the thrusts associated with the surface ruptures, normal faults trending parallel to the strike of the thrust line occur. Another analog of the compensative motion is probably the peculiarities of the aftershock sources. It has long since been noted (Kuznetsova et al., 1976) that some fault plane solutions in the aftershock sequences of strong earthquakes are close to the main shock solution, while others are different. The explanation of this phenomenon is suggested in (Kuznetsova et al., 1976; Kostrov and Das, 1988). In (Kuznetsova et al., 1976), these events are referred to as the aftershocks due to the fracture growth and aftershocks of relaxation, respectively.

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Correspondence to R. N. Vakarchuk.

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Original Russian Text © R.N. Vakarchuk, R.E. Tatevossian, Zh.Ya. Aptekman, V.V. Bykova, 2013, published in Fizika Zemli, 2013, No. 5, pp. 58–64.

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Vakarchuk, R.N., Tatevossian, R.E., Aptekman, Z.Y. et al. The 1991 Racha earthquake, Caucasus: Multiple source model with compensative type of motion. Izv., Phys. Solid Earth 49, 653–659 (2013).

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  • Strong Earthquake
  • Main Shock
  • Solid Earth
  • Seismic Moment
  • Earth Quake