Rupture parameters of the 2003 Zemmouri (M-w 6.8), Algeria, earthquake from joint inversion of interferometric synthetic aperture radar, coastal uplift, and GPS

Belabbes S., WICKS C., Çakır Z. , MEGHRAOUI M.

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SOLID EARTH, vol.114, 2009 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 114
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1029/2008jb005912


We study the surface deformation associated with the 21 May 2003 (M-w = 6.8) Zemmouri (Algeria) earthquake, the strongest seismic event felt in the Algiers region since 1716. The thrust earthquake mechanism and related surface deformation revealed an average 0.50 m coastal uplift along similar to 55-km-long coastline. We obtain coseismic interferograms using Envisat advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) (IS2) and RADARSAT standard beam (ST4) data from both the ascending and descending orbits of Envisat satellite, whereas the RADARSAT data proved useful only in the descending mode. While the two RADARSAT interferograms cover the earthquake area, Envisat data cover only the western half of the rupture zone. Although the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) coherence in the epicenter area is poor, deformation fringes are observed along the coast in different patches. In the Boumerdes area, the maximum coseismic deformation is indicated by the high gradient of fringes visible in all interferograms in agreement with field measurements (tape, differential GPS, leveling, and GPS). To constrain the earthquake rupture parameters, we model the interferograms and uplift measurements using elastic dislocations on triangular fault patches in an elastic and homogeneous half-space. We invert the coseismic slip using first, a planar surface and second, a curved fault, both constructed from triangular elements using Poly3Dinv program that uses a damped least square minimization. The best fit of InSAR, coastal uplift, and GPS data corresponds to a 65-km-long fault rupture dipping 40 degrees to 50 degrees SE, located at 8 to 13 km offshore with a change in strike west of Boumerdes from N60 degrees-65 degrees to N95 degrees-105 degrees. The inferred rupture geometry at depth correlates well with the seismological results and may have critical implications for the seismic hazard assessment of the Algiers region.