Normal faulting mechanisms in the Western Desert of Egypt

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Abstract

Egypt is recognized as a moderate seismicity region where earthquakes are distributed within several active regions. Owing to sparse distribution of both seismicity and seismic stations, mostly moderate-size Egyptian earthquakes were recorded by regional stations. One of such cases is the moderate-size earthquakes of moment magnitudes greater than 4.0 which struck the Western Desert of Egypt in 1998 and 1999. These events are the first instrumentally recorded earthquakes occurring in the area. In the present study, the source mechanism for these earthquakes was estimated using the waveform data recorded from one of the very broadband MedNet seismograph stations and polarities from the national short-period seismographs. An iterative technique was applied to find the best-fit double-couple mechanism by a grid search over strike, dip and rake. Regional synthetic seismograms were calculated by using f−k integration in the frequency range of 0.03–0.1 Hz. A crustal structure fitted to surface wave dispersion curves was used to compute Green's function. Focal depths were determined through the grid search method for a range of source depths. Our results show a normal faulting mechanism with minor strike-slip component. The NNW trend has been chosen as a preferred rupture plane in consistence with surface and subsurface faults and microearthquake seismicity in the epicenteral area as well.

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