Real-time automatic uncertainty estimation of coseismic single rectangular fault model using GNSS data

Keitaro Ohno, Yusaku Ohta, Satoshi Kawamoto, Satoshi Abe, Ryota Hino, Shunichi Koshimura, Akihiro Musa, Hiroaki Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid estimation of the coseismic fault model for medium-to-large-sized earthquakes is key for disaster response. To estimate the coseismic fault model for large earthquakes, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan and Tohoku University have jointly developed a real-time GEONET analysis system for rapid deformation monitoring (REGARD). REGARD can estimate the single rectangular fault model and slip distribution along the assumed plate interface. The single rectangular fault model is useful as a first-order approximation of a medium-to-large earthquake. However, in its estimation, it is difficult to obtain accurate results for model parameters due to the strong effect of initial values. To solve this problem, this study proposes a new method to estimate the coseismic fault model and model uncertainties in real time based on the Bayesian inversion approach using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. The MCMC approach is computationally expensive and hyperparameters should be defined in advance via trial and error. The sampling efficiency was improved using a parallel tempering method, and an automatic definition method for hyperparameters was developed for real-time use. The calculation time was within 30 s for 1 × 106 samples using a typical single LINUX server, which can implement real-time analysis, similar to REGARD. The reliability of the developed method was evaluated using data from recent earthquakes (2016 Kumamoto and 2019 Yamagata-Oki earthquakes). Simulations of the earthquakes in the Sea of Japan were also conducted exhaustively. The results showed an advantage over the maximum likelihood approach with a priori information, which has initial value dependence in nonlinear problems. In terms of application to data with a small signal-to-noise ratio, the results suggest the possibility of using several conjugate fault models. There is a tradeoff between the fault area and slip amount, especially for offshore earthquakes, which means that quantification of the uncertainty enables us to evaluate the reliability of the fault model estimation results in real time. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number127
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Bayesian inversion
  • Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)
  • MCMC
  • Real-time GNSS
  • Uncertainties estimation


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