“Inchworm” pattern of Indonesian earthquake rupture powered seismic “boom”

A sonic boom-like seismic phenomenon of supershear rupture occurred during the 2018 Palu earthquake in Indonesia. University of Tsukuba researchers investigated the relationship between this phenomenon and the complex geometry of the Palu-Koro fault. An “inchworm-like” pattern of repeated rupture deceleration and acceleration along the fault was detected, associated with bends in the fault trace. This slip evolution may have enhanced the propagation of supershear rupture and contributed to the generation of the 2018 Palu tsunami.

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