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Application of a global 3D model to improve regional event locations

Studia Geophysica et Geodetica 46(2): 283-292

Application of a global 3D model to improve regional event locations

Accurate location of weak seismic events is crucial for monitoring clandestine nuclear tests, for studying local seismic structures, and for assessing possible seismic hazards. Outside of a few regions with dense seismic networks, weak seismic events (with magnitude less than 4) are usually sparsely recorded at epicentral distances less than 20 degrees . Because of lateral variations in crustal and upper mantle structures, observed travel times of seismic phases deviate significantly from predictions based on 1-dimensional (ID) seismic models. Accurately locating weak seismic events remains a difficult task for modern seismology. Perhaps the most promising solution to this problem is the use of a 3-dimensional (3D) model of the Earth. Here we present the results of a validation test in which, using the 3D model SR2002 of the crust and upper mantle and regional phase data alone, we relocate approximately 200 earthquakes and nuclear explosions in Eurasia. The 3D model is constructed using surface wave dispersion data. The event locations using the 3D model are compared with so-called Ground Truth data, either known by non-seismic means or validated by cluster analysis, with location accuracy mostly 5 km or better. Typically, the 3D model reduces the location errors to about half the values attained with the ID model: i.e. approximately 18 km location errors are reduced to about 9 km. This test indicates that the location of regional events can be significantly improved by using a global 3D model.

Accession: 018458470

DOI: 10.1023/a:1019858221004

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