As stresses following rupture are dissipated continuous measurements of postseismic surface deformation provide insight into variations of the frictional strength of faults and the rheology of the lower crust and upper mantle. Due to the difficulty of capturing the earliest phase of afterslip, most analyses have focused on understanding postseismic processes over timescales of weeks to years. Here we investigate the kinematics, moment release, and frictional properties of the earliest phase of afterslip within the first hours following the 2016 Mw 7.1 Kumamoto earthquake using a network of 5-minute sampled continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) stations. Using independent component analysis to filter the GPS data, we find that (1) early afterslip contributes only ~1% of total moment release within the first hour and 8% after 24 hr. This suggests that the lack of a coseismic slip deficit, which we estimate using standard geodetic data sets (e.g., InSAR, GPS, and pixel offsets) and which span the first 4 days of the postseismic period, is largely reflective of the dynamic rupture process and we can rule out contamination of moment release by early afterslip. (2) Early afterslip shows no evidence of a delayed nucleation or acceleration phase, where instead fault patches transition to immediate deceleration following rupture that is consistent with frictional relaxation under steady state conditions with dependence only on the sliding velocity. (3) There is a close correlation between the near-field aftershocks and afterslip within the first hours following rupture, suggesting afterslip may still be an important possible triggering mechanism during the earliest postseismic period.
- asesimic creep
- shallow slip deficit