National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1994

Fault parameters and tsunami excitation of the May 13, 1993, Shumagin Islands earthquake

Tanioka, Y., K. Satake, L. Ruff, and F. González

Geophys. Res. Lett., 21(11), 967–970, doi: 10.1029/94GL00875 (1994)

The Shumagin Islands earthquake of May 13, 1993, occurred in a previously identified seismic gap where a large subduction earthquake is expected. We analyzed long-period surface waves and P waves recorded on the IRIS stations to estimate the fault parameters. The Centroid Moment Tensor solution shows that the focal mechanism is a thrust type with the strike parallel to the Aleutian trench. The seismic moment is 2.0 × 1019 Nm and the corresponding moment magnitude is 6.8. The Moment Tensor Rate Function inversion from P waves also yields a similar focal mechanism and seismic moment. In addition, this computation provides estimates of 10 s for the duration of the source time function and 35 km for the best point source depth. These seismological analyses indicate that the fault mechanism of the 1993 earthquake was as expected, but that the magnitude was too small to fill the gap. This earthquake did not generate a tsunami large enough to be observed at the Sand Point, Alaska tide gauge or at an ocean bottom pressure gauge, at distances of 100 and 300 km, respectively. Numerical tsunami simulations result in amplitudes at both stations that are within the background noise level. Additional numerical experiments also suggest that the small tsunami amplitudes are due to the location of the source area in the shallow shelf region.

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