Using a modified time-reverse imaging technique to locate low-frequency earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault near Cholame, California

Geophysical Journal International
By: , and 

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Abstract

We present a new method to locate low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) within tectonic tremor episodes based on time-reverse imaging techniques. The modified time-reverse imaging technique presented here is the first method that locates individual LFEs within tremor episodes within 5 km uncertainty without relying on high-amplitude P-wave arrivals and that produces similar hypocentral locations to methods that locate events by stacking hundreds of LFEs without having to assume event co-location. In contrast to classic time-reverse imaging algorithms, we implement a modification to the method that searches for phase coherence over a short time period rather than identifying the maximum amplitude of a superpositioned wavefield. The method is independent of amplitude and can help constrain event origin time. The method uses individual LFE origin times, but does not rely on a priori information on LFE templates and families.We apply the method to locate 34 individual LFEs within tremor episodes that occur between 2010 and 2011 on the San Andreas Fault, near Cholame, California. Individual LFE location accuracies range from 2.6 to 5 km horizontally and 4.8 km vertically. Other methods that have been able to locate individual LFEs with accuracy of less than 5 km have mainly used large-amplitude events where a P-phase arrival can be identified. The method described here has the potential to locate a larger number of individual low-amplitude events with only the S-phase arrival. Location accuracy is controlled by the velocity model resolution and the wavelength of the dominant energy of the signal. Location results are also dependent on the number of stations used and are negligibly correlated with other factors such as the maximum gap in azimuthal coverage, source–station distance and signal-to-noise ratio.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using a modified time-reverse imaging technique to locate low-frequency earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault near Cholame, California
Series title Geophysical Journal International
DOI 10.1093/gji/ggv337
Volume 203
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Oxford University Press
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 20 p.
First page 1207
Last page 1226
Country United States
State California
City Cholame
Other Geospatial San Andreas Fault
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N