354 research outputs found

    Seismicity analysis: New techniques and case studies

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    Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1996Seismicity parameters can be visualized as an almost continuous function of space and time by using dense grids. This mapping technique is used to: (1) Study the seismic quiescence preceding the 1992 Landers earthquake sequence. Both the Landers and Big Bear earthquake were found to be preceded by periods of significant seismic quiescence lasting 2-4 years. (2) Image the frequency-magnitude distribution in the subducting slab underneath Alaska and New Zealand. A high b-value anomaly at 100 km depth on the top of the slab suggests that slab dehydration causes an increase in the pore pressure. (3) Investigate the plumbing system of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Spurr. This study suggests that the detailed spatial mapping of the frequency-magnitude distribution is potentially capable of resolving the location of magma chambers and the depth of vesiculation underneath volcanoes. (4) Map out the spatial distribution of asperities along the San Andreas fault in California. Based on the observation that the Parkfield and Morgan Hill asperities show an extremely low b-value (b<b < 0.5), a new model to calculate recurrence times for moderate size earthquakes is proposed. (5) Investigate the correlation between a currently observed period of seismic quiescence in the Tokyo region and the frequency-magnitude distribution. A modification to the seismic quiescence hypothesis is proposed, which uses the frequency-magnitude distribution as a tool to distinguish between precursory seismic quiescence and false alarms not followed by a main shock. All of these case studies show that applying these new tools in seismicity analyses can advance the understanding of a variety of complex and heterogeneous tectonic regimes in the seismogenic part of the earth's crust and upper mantle

    Tectonic regimes and earthquake size distribution: new evidence f or PSHA

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    Earthquake catalogues, seismotectonic zonations and ground-motion prediction equations (GMPE) are the basic ingredients for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA). Seismotectonic zones are commonly defined considering the style-of-faulting; contemporary GMPE’s also differentiate by the style-of-faulting. Here we present a case study for Italy to show that style-of-faulting should also be incorporated into the recurrence rates estimation. In the past 40 years many studies relating b-values of the Gutenberg and Richter law to physical properties have been performed, from laboratory rock specimens to observations in different tectonic regimes. Various authors analyzed the correlation between b-value and tectonic regimes and the results are generally consistent: as power laws indicate scale invariance, the inverse dependence of the b-value on the differential stress is universally valid and the parameter can therefore be interpreted as a ‘stressmeter’ in the Earth’s crust. A consequence of the inverse dependency of the b-value on differential stress is that tectonics regimes with different dominant faulting styles should exhibit significantly different b-values, in particular the highest values for normal events (bNR), followed by strike-slip ( bSS) and reverse (bTH): bTH < bSS < bNR. In this study, we evaluate this hypothesis for the first time, using data from the Italian Peninsula, whose complex geology is reflected in a strongly variable stress field and distinctly different faulting regimes. Extensional, compressional and strike-slip regimes are simultaneously present. T he study region fulfils two other critical requirements: 1)the regional seismic monitoring of the microseismicity of the past two decades was good enough to allow detailed mapping of the b-value and 2) a rich catalogue of focal mechanism exists that allows a detailed seismotectonic zonation. Because the b–value is a critical parameter in PSHA, linking it firmly to regional faulting style has significant implications for future regional PSHA studies. At present the b-values are not used for zonation purposes, but they are either assigned regionally or computed for each zone, where zones are in general defined based on expert judgment. We suggest that future seismotectonic zonation models should take into account the knowledge on faulting style dependence of b-values. T here are a variety of way how this can be achieved, for example using high resolution mapping of b as an input for zonation, or by using the b-values of the large scale tectonic zones as a prior, deviating only if local b-values are found to be significantly different from the regional ones

    A stochastic model for induced seismicity based on non-linear pressure diffusion and irreversible permeability enhancement

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    During deep reservoir engineering projects, in which permeability is enhanced by high-pressure fluid injection, seismicity is invariably induced, posing nuisance to the local population and a potential hazard for structures. Hazard and risk assessment tools that can operate in real-time during reservoir stimulation depend on the ability to efficiently model induced seismicity. We here propose a novel modelling approach based on a combination of physical considerations and stochastic elements. It can model a large number of synthetic event catalogues, and at the same time is constrained by observations of hydraulic behaviour in the injection well. We model fluid flow using non-linear pressure diffusion equations, in which permeability increases irreversibly above a prescribed pressure threshold. The transient pressure field is used to trigger events at so-called ‘seed points' that are distributed randomly in space and represent potential earthquake hypocentres. We assign to each seed point a differential stress based on the mean estimates of the in situ stress field and add a normal distributed random value. Assuming a fault orientation with respect to the stress field and a Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, we evaluate at each time step, if a seed point is triggered through a pressure increase. A negative proportional relationship between differential stress and b values is further assumed as observed from tectonic earthquakes and in laboratory experiments. As soon as an event is triggered, we draw a random magnitude from a power-law distribution with a b value corresponding to the differential stress at the triggered seed point. We thus obtain time-dependent catalogues of seismic events including magnitude. The strategy of modelling flow and seismicity in a decoupled manner ensures efficiency and flexibility of the model. The model parameters are calibrated using observations from the Basel deep geothermal experiment in 2006. We are able to reproduce the hydraulic behaviour, the space-time evolution of the seismicity and its frequency-magnitude distribution. A large number of simulations of the calibrated model are then used to capture the variability of the process, an important input to compute probabilistic seismic hazard. We also use the calibrated model to explore alternative injection scenarios by varying injection volume, pressure as well as depth, and show the possible effect of those parameters on seismic hazar

    HALM: A Hybrid Asperity Likelihood Model for Italy

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    The Asperity Likelihood Model (ALM), first developed and currently tested for California, hypothesizes that small-scale spatial variations in the b-value of the Gutenberg and Richter relationship play a central role in forecasting future seismicity (Wiemer and Schorlemmer, SRL, 2007). The physical basis of the model is the concept that the local b-value is inversely dependent on applied shear stress. Thus low b-values (b < 0.7) characterize the locked paches of faults –asperities- from which future mainshocks are more likely to be generated, whereas the high b-values (b > 1.1) found for example in creeping section of faults suggest a lower seismic hazard. To test this model in a reproducible and prospective way suitable for the requirements of the CSEP initiative (www.cseptesting.org), the b-value variability is mapped on a grid. First, using the entire dataset above the overall magnitude of completeness, the regional b-value is estimated. This value is then compared to the one locally estimated at each grid-node for a number of radii, we use the local value if its likelihood score, corrected for the degrees of freedom using the Akaike Information Criterion, suggest to do so. We are currently calibrating the ALM model for implementation in the Italian testing region, the first region within the CSEP EU testing Center (eu.cseptesting.org) for which fully prospective tests of earthquake likelihood models will commence in Europe. We are also developing a modified approach, ‘hybrid’ between a grid-based and a zoning one: the HALM (Hybrid Asperity Likelihood Model). According to HALM, the Italian territory is divided in three distinct regions depending on the main tectonic elements, combined with knowledge derived from GPS networks, seismic profile interpretation, borehole breakouts and the focal mechanisms of the event. The local b-value variability was thus mapped using three independent overall b-values. We evaluate the performance of the two models in retrospective tests using the standard CSEP likelihood test

    Changes of Reporting Rates in the Southern California Earthquake Catalog, Introduced by a New Definition of M_L

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    Starting January 2008, local magnitudes M_L for southern California are determined by a new calibration that provides various improvements for determining M_L for small earthquakes. Magnitudes for the previous years are being recalculated and the catalog continuously updated, with the first year of overlapping data now being available. Recalibrating a magnitude scale can cause a break in homogeneity of reporting and often produces artifacts in the catalog statistics that can influence a wide range of seismicity studies. To search for such a break, we compare the old M_L and the new M_L catalogs for 2007. We find (1) the two magnitude values differ for 96% of the M_L events, and hand-determined magnitudes are also revised; (2) the magnitude differences are irregular from magnitude increases of up to 1.5 units to reductions by as much as 2.3 units, with an average change of -0.13 units; (3) the number of events above M 1.8 decreases by 32% for the new magnitude scale; (4) the completeness magnitude apparently drops by 0.3 units from 1.6 to 1.3; (5) the b-value reduces by approximately 0.2 units, dropping from 1.16 to 0.95; (6) the new magnitude calibration produces a more stable b-value estimate and can therefore be regarded as the better scaling. We document selected examples of how the change in magnitude calibration may affect seismicity- and hazard-related analyses that are based on the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) catalog. Especially the change of the b-value from ~1.1 to ~0.9 has potentially major implications for hazard related applications
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