Masters Theses


Qiaoqi Sun

Keywords and Phrases

Guatemala; Hypermesh; Kinematic modeling; Polochic-Motagua Fault system; Strain partitioning; Strike-slip fault system


”The Polochic-Motagua Fault System in Guatemala is the on-land segment of the sinistral transform plate boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. Three major seismically active strike-slip faults in this fault system pose significant earthquake threats to surrounding populated cities. The assessment of seismic hazard requires a better understanding of the kinematics of the fault system. GPS monitoring indicates that seventy-five percent of the ~20 mm/yr. plate motion is accommodated by the Motagua Fault and less than twenty-five percent is accommodated by the Polochic Fault. However, the Polochic Fault documents a lateral offset of ~132 ± 5 km, forming a pull-apart basin and the introduction of more faults may change the strain partitioning. The 2D Finite Element Analysis is used to better constrain slip rates and improve established data. Previous kinematic models are not sufficient to provide the degree of strain partitioning due to interpreting the complex fault system as a singular structure.

In this study, we present new 2D finite element models of the fault network area in Guatemala to study strain partitioning of the plate boundary fault system. The preliminary model results are used to calibrate with published GPS data, resulting in a best-fit model. Such a model provides a better understanding of the structural geometry at the fault network and the strain distribution between different faults in the fault system. This modeling approach allows refinement of current structural models, and strain partitioning results will aid in future seismic hazard assessment in the fault system”--Abstract, page iii.


Eckert, Andreas
Obrist-Farner, Jonathan

Committee Member(s)

Hogan, John Patrick


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Geology and Geophysics


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2020


ix, 41 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references (pages 36-40).

Geographic Coverage



© 2020 Qiaoqi Sun, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11887

Electronic OCLC #