Rupture characteristics of M7.2 Sierra El Mayor (Mexico) earthquake

The April 4, 2010 "Easter Sunday" earthquake ruptured several NW trending faults in the Sierra Cupapa - Sierra El Mayor mountain range to the west of Laguna Salada.


Some photos of the epicentral area, mostly showing widespread ground liquefaction.

Video of dust clouds caused by the earthquake in the Cucapah mountains




Google Earth file with InSAR data: InSAR_Mexico_eq.kmz

Coseismic interferogram - ALOS track 532

Descending track 532, Feb 8 2008 - May 16 2010 (precise orbits, perperdicular baseline of 200 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 11.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data.

Coseismic interferogram - ALOS track 212

Ascending track 212, Dec 17 2009 - May 4 2010 (precise orbits, perperdicular baseline of 1000 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 11.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data.

Coseismic interferogram - ENVISAT track 84

Descending track 84, Mar 28 2010 - May 2 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 90 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 2.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped surface ruptures. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data

Coseismic interferogram - ENVISAT track 77

Ascending track 77, Mar 28 2010 - May 2 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 200 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 2.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped surface ruptures. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data

Coseismic interferogram - ENVISAT track 356

Descending track 356, Mar 12 2010 - Apr 16 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 240 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 2.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped surface ruptures. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data

Coseismic interferogram - ENVISAT track 306

Ascending track 306, Mar 9 2010 - Apr 13 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 270 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 2.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped surface ruptures. Dashed gray line denotes the fault trace inferred from InSAR data

Azimuthal offsets - ENVISAT

Ascending track 306, Mar 9 2010 - Apr 13 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 270 m). Colors indicate a component of horizontal displacements orthogonal to the satellite line of sight, in centimeters, as inferred from cross-correlation of the amplitude of radar images. Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace. Dashed red line denotes the presumed location of the fault to the South-East of the Cupapa mountains (not mapped by field surveys due to the absence of a clear fault trace).

Interferometric correlation

Same pair as above. Color denotes variations in radar correlation. Zones of low correlation (red areas) denote significant changes in reflective properties of the ground. Note a wide fault zone in the Cupapa mountains and extensive decorrelation in the agricultural area to the east of the rupture (possibly due to extensive liquefaction).

Coseismic interferogram - ALOS track 533

Descending track 533, Jan 10 2008 - Apr 17 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 5 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 11.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace.

Coseismic interferogram - ALOS track 211

Ascending track 211, Jan 15 2010 - Apr 17 2010 (preliminary orbits, perperdicular baseline of 700 m). Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 11.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace.

Interferometric correlation

Same pair as above. Color denotes variations in radar correlation. Zones of low correlation (red areas) denote significant changes in reflective properties of the ground. Note a wide fault zone in the Cupapa mountains and extensive decorrelation in the agricultural area to the east of the rupture (possibly due to extensive liquefaction).

Preseismic interferogram - ENVISAT

ENVISAT, Nov 24 2009 - Mar 9 2010, ascending track 306. Color fringes indicate changes in the radar range (one color cycle corresponding to 2.8 cm of line-of-sight displacement). Black wavy lines denote the geologically mapped rupture trace.

Fault slip model

  • homogeneous half-space (DIS3D) (DLC)
  • layered half-space (EDCMP)
  • slip model



    More results of seismological and geological investigations of this event are available here.

    ENVISAT data were provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) through the Western North America InSAR Consortium (WInSAR). ALOS data were provided by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) through Alaska SAR Facility (ASF).


    This research is supported by NSF

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