Co-seismic grace gravity-based 11-layered 3-D thrust fault model for the Sumatra earthquake 2004

  • Rambhatla G SastryEmail author
  • Mahendra Kumar Sonker


Our co-seismic Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment gravity data (level 2 ‘RL_05’ data product ‘GX-OG-_2-GSM) for the Sumatra earthquake 2004 is obtained by differencing monthly gravity field average for November 2004 from that of January 2005 and band-pass filtering (\(17{-}30^{\circ }\) and orders) in the spectral domain. Here, we propose a 11-layered three-dimensional (3-D) thrust fault gravity model based on different co-seismic rupture models in the literature. It honours co-seismic deformation of the ocean surface, ocean bottom and subsurface earth medium, different earthquake parameters and hypocentre information (\({\sim }35\) km below mean sea level). Our forward gravity response matches well with the observed gravity (RMS error of \(0.06257\,\upmu \hbox {gal}\) (6.26%)) data and our model allowed an independent computation of rupture length, instantaneous velocity, average seismic moment and momentum, which are, respectively, 1560 km, 2.9 km/s, \(4.53\times 10^{22 }\,\hbox {N}\,\hbox {m}\) and \( 9.7\times 10^{17}\,\hbox {kg}\,\hbox {m/s}\). These parameters fairly agree with those in the literature. The computed momentum indeed corresponds to an area pulse (\(9.7\times 10^{17}\,\hbox {kg}\,\hbox {m/s}\)) at ocean bottom that led to a tsunami generation. Thus, the proposed multi-layered 3-D gravity model in traditional fashion fully accounts for co-seismic gravity signal of the Sumatra earthquake 2004.


GRACE satellite gravity spherical harmonics 3-D thrust fault model co-seismic gravity anomaly 



We gratefully acknowledged the help received from Mr Aruj Pant, a post-graduate student under the first author in isolation of satellite gravity signal of Sumatra earthquake 2004 and Dr Anand Gokula for gravity forward modelling software of right vertical pyramid model. Mr Sonker is thankful to the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of Technology RoorkeeRoorkeeIndia

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