The relatively high seismicity of the San Andreas fault zone in central California provides an excellent opportunity to search for seismic forerunners to moderate earthquakes. Analysis of seismic traveltime and earthquake location data has resulted in the identification of two possible seismic forerunners. The first is a period of apparently late (0.3 sec) P-wave arrival times lasting several weeks preceding one earthquake of magnitude 5.0. The rays for these travel paths passed through - or very close to - the aftershock volume of the subsequent earthquake. The sources for these P-arrival time data were earthquakes in the distance range 20-70 km. Uncertainties in the influence of small changes in the hypocenters of the source earthquakes and in the identification of small P-arrivals raise the possibility that the apparantly delayed arrivals are not the result of a decrease in P-velocity. The second possible precursor is an apparent increase in the average depth of earthquakes preceding two moderate earthquakes. This change might be only apparent, caused by a location bias introduced by a decrease in P-wave velocity, but numerical modeling for realistic possible changes in velocity suggests that the observed effect is more likely a true migration of earthquakes. To carry out this work - involving the manipulation of several thousand earthquake hypocenters and several hundred thousand readings of arrival time - a system of data storage was designed and manipulation programs for a large digital computer have been executed. This system allows, for example, the automatic selection of earthquakes from a specific region, the extraction of all the observed arrival times for these events, and their relocation under a chosen set of assumptions. ?? 1977.
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Search for seismic forerunners to earthquakes in central California