Constraining the Source of the Mw 8.1 Chiapas, Mexico Earthquake of 8 September 2017 Using Teleseismic and Tsunami Observations

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Takeo Ishibe, Tomoya Harada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


The September 2017 Chiapas (Mexico) normal-faulting intraplate earthquake (Mw 8.1) occurred within the Tehuantepec seismic gap offshore Mexico. We constrained the finite-fault slip model of this great earthquake using teleseismic and tsunami observations. First, teleseismic body-wave inversions were conducted for both steep (NP-1) and low-angle (NP-2) nodal planes for rupture velocities (Vr) of 1.5–4.0 km/s. Teleseismic inversion guided us to NP-1 as the actual fault plane, but was not conclusive about the best Vr. Tsunami simulations also confirmed that NP-1 is favored over NP-2 and guided the Vr = 2.5 km/s as the best source model. Our model has a maximum and average slips of 13.1 and 3.7 m, respectively, over a 130 km × 80 km fault plane. Coulomb stress transfer analysis revealed that the probability for the occurrence of a future large thrust interplate earthquake at offshore of the Tehuantepec seismic gap had been increased following the 2017 Chiapas normal-faulting intraplate earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1925-1938
Number of pages14
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Tsunami DART data used here came from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website ( shtml). Tide gauge data were downloaded from Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission website ( We obtained teleseismic data for inversions from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology ( We used The GMT software by Wessel and Smith (1998) in this study. MH is grateful to the Brunel University London for the funding provided through the Brunel Research Initiative and Enterprise Fund 2017/18 (BUL BRIEF). The authors declare that they have no competing interests regarding the work presented in this article. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • 2017 Chiapas earthquake
  • Coulomb stress transfer
  • Pacific ocean
  • teleseismic body-wave inversion
  • tsunami
  • tsunami modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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