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Rupture model of the M5.8 Pawnee, Oklahoma earthquake from regional and teleseismic waveforms

February 21, 2019

The 2016 M5.8 Pawnee, Oklahoma earthquake is the largest earthquake to have been induced by wastewater disposal. We infer the coseismic slip history from analysis of apparent source time functions and inversion of regional and teleseismic P‐waveforms, using aftershocks as empirical Green's functions. The earthquake nucleated on the shallow part of the fault, initially rupturing towards the surface, followed shortly thereafter by slip deeper on the fault. Deeper slip occurred below the aftershocks and at greater depths than most induced seismicity in the region, suggesting that small‐ to moderate‐sized earthquakes may not occur on deeper parts of faults in Oklahoma because they are further from failure than shallower fault sections. Comparisons with models of pore pressure perturbations further suggest that the earthquake may have initiated within a region of higher pore pressure perturbation but was not confined to this zone. These observations inform source physics and understanding of maximum magnitudes.

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