An improved geodetic source model for the 1999 Mw6.3 Chamoli earthquake, India

Wenbin Xu, Roland Bürgmann, Zhiwei Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We present a distributed slip model for the 1999 Mw6.3 Chamoli earthquake of north India using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from both ascending and descending orbits and Bayesian estimation of confidence levels and trade-offs of the model geometry parameters. The results of fault-slip inversion in an elastic half-space show that the earthquake ruptured a 9°+3.4-2.2northeast-dipping plane with a maximum slip of ~1 m. The fault plane is located at a depth of~15.9+1.1-3.0km and is~120 km north of the Main Frontal Thrust, implying that the rupture plane was on the northernmost detachment near the mid-crustal ramp of the Main Himalayan Thrust. The InSAR-determined moment is 3.35 × 1018Nm with a shear modulus of 30 GPa, equivalent to Mw6.3, which is smaller than the seismic moment estimates of Mw6.4-6.6. Possible reasons for this discrepancy include the trade-off between moment and depth, uncertainties in seismic moment tensor components for shallow dip-slip earthquakes and the role of earth structure models in the inversions. The released seismic energy from recent earthquakes in the Garhwal region is far less than the accumulated strain energy since the 1803 Ms7.5 earthquake, implying substantial hazard of future great earthquakes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Crustal structure
  • Earthquake source observations
  • Radar interferometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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