skip to main content

Title: Earthquake Source Complexity Controls the Frequency Dependence of Near‐Source Radiation Patterns

The spatial patterns of earthquake ground motion amplitudes are commonly represented using a double‐couple model that corresponds to shear slip on a planar fault. While this framework has proven largely successful in explaining low‐frequency seismic recordings, at higher frequencies the wavefield becomes more azimuthally isotropic for reasons that are not yet well understood. Here, we use a dense array of nodal seismometers in Oklahoma to study the radiation patterns of earthquakes in the near‐source region where the effects of wavefield scattering are limited. At these close distances, the radiation pattern is predominantly double couple at low frequencies (<15 Hz). At higher frequencies, the recorded wavefield contains significant isotropic and residual components that cannot be explained as path or site effects, implying complexity in the rupture process or local fault zone structure. These findings demonstrate that earthquake source complexity can drive variability in the ground motions that control seismic hazard.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    We simulate shaking in Tacoma, Washington, and surrounding areas from Mw 6.5 and 7.0 earthquakes on the Tacoma fault. Ground motions are directly modeled up to 2.5 Hz using kinematic, finite-fault sources; a 3D seismic velocity model considering regional geology; and a model mesh with 30 m sampling at the ground surface. In addition, we explore how adjustments to the seismic velocity model affect predicted shaking over a range of periods. These adjustments include the addition of a region-specific geotechnical gradient, surface topography, and a fault damage zone. We find that the simulated shaking tends to be near estimates from empirical ground-motion models (GMMs). However, long-period (T = 5.0 s) shaking within the Tacoma basin is typically underpredicted by the GMMs. The fit between simulated and GMM-derived short-period (T = 0.5 s) shaking is significantly improved with the addition of the geotechnical gradient. From comparing different Mw 6.5 earthquake scenarios, we also find that the response of the Tacoma basin is sensitive to the azimuth of incoming seismic waves. In adding surface topography to the simulation, we find that average ground motion is similar to that produced from the nontopography model. However, shaking is often amplified at topographic highs and deamplified at topographic lows, and the wavefield undergoes extensive scattering. Adding a fault damage zone has the effect of amplifying short-period shaking adjacent to the fault, while reducing far-field shaking. Intermediate-period shaking is amplified within the Tacoma basin, likely due to enhanced surface-wave generation attributable to the fault damage zone waveguide. When applied in the same model, the topography and fault damage zone adjustments often enhance or reduce the effects of one another, adding further complexity to the wavefield. These results emphasize the importance of improving near-surface velocity model resolution as waveform simulations progress toward higher frequencies.

    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT Seismic waves can couple with the atmosphere and generate sound waves. The influence of faulting mechanisms on earthquake sound patterns provides opportunities for earthquake source characterization. Sound radiated from earthquakes can be perceived as disturbing, even at low ground-shaking levels, which can negatively impact the social acceptance of geoengineering applications. Motivated by consistent reports of felt and heard disturbances associated with the weeks-long stimulation of a 6-km-deep geothermal system in 2018 below the Otaniemi district of Espoo, Helsinki, we conduct fully coupled 3D numerical simulations of wave propagation in the solid Earth and the atmosphere. We assess the sensitivity of the ground shaking and audible noise distributions to the source geometry of the induced earthquakes based on the properties of the largest local magnitude ML 1.8 event. Utilizing recent computational advances and the open-source software SeisSol, we model seismoacoustic frequencies up to 25 Hz, thereby reaching the lower limit of the human audible sound frequency range. We present synthetic distributions of shaking and audible sounds at the 50–100 m scale across a 12 km × 12 km area and discuss implications for better understanding seismic nuisances in metropolitan regions. In five 3D coupled elastic–acoustic scenario simulations that include data on topography and subsurface structure, we analyze the ground velocity and pressure levels of earthquake-generated seismic and acoustic waves. We show that S waves generate the strongest sound disturbance with sound pressure levels ≤0.04 Pa. We use statistical analysis to compare our noise distributions with commonly used empirical relationships. We find that our 3D synthetic amplitudes are generally smaller than the empirical predictions and that the interaction of the source mechanism-specific radiation pattern and topography can lead to significant nonlinear effects. Our study highlights the complexity and information content of spatially variable audible effects associated with small induced earthquakes on local scales. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    A very low‐frequency earthquake is a type of seismic event that is rich in low frequencies and depleted in higher frequencies compared to regular fast local earthquakes of similar magnitude. The source process behind very low‐frequency earthquakes is still poorly understood. Here we present a dynamic rupture source model for very low‐frequency earthquake signal without detectable associated tremors. We show that a single asperity model with sudden stress drop followed by a rate strengthening effect damps the seismic radiation and increases event duration. We compute synthetic seismograms for our source model. The synthetic signal successfully reproduces the features of observed very low‐frequency earthquakes. Moreover, the synthetic very low‐frequency earthquake signal in 0.02–0.05 Hz is not accompanied by detectable tremor signals at 2–8 Hz. Our results help explain why in some cases we observe very low‐frequency earthquakes without accompanying tremor.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We investigate the non‐double‐couple components of 224 M ≥ 3.0 earthquakes in the 2019Mw7.1 Ridgecrest sequence, which occurred on a complex fault system in the Eastern California Shear Zone. Full moment tensors are derived using waveform data from near‐fault and regional stations with a generalized cut‐and‐paste inversion and 3‐D velocity and attenuation models. The results show limited Compensated Linear Vector Dipole components, but considerable explosive isotropic components (5%–15% of the total moments) for approximately 50 earthquakes. Most of these events occur between theMw6.4 foreshock and 1 day after theMw7.1 mainshock and are mainly distributed around the rupture ends and fault intersections. The percentage of isotropic components is reduced considerably when data recorded by near‐fault stations are not included in the inversions, highlighting the importance of near‐fault data. The results suggest that high‐frequency damage‐related radiation and other local dilatational processes are responsible for the observed isotropic source terms.

    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Cook Inlet fore‐arc basin in south‐central Alaska is a large, deep (7.6 km) sedimentary basin with the Anchorage metropolitan region on its margins. From 2015 to 2017, a set of 28 broadband seismic stations was deployed in the region as part of the Southern Alaska Lithosphere and Mantle Observation Network (SALMON) project. The SALMON stations, which also cover the remote western portion of Cook Inlet basin and the back‐arc region, form the basis for our observational study of the seismic response of Cook Inlet basin. We quantify the influence of Cook Inlet basin on the seismic wavefield using three data sets: (1) ambient‐noise amplitudes of 18 basin stations relative to a nonbasin reference station, (2) earthquake ground‐motion metrics for 34 crustal and intraslab earthquakes, and (3) spectral ratios (SRs) between basin stations and nonbasin stations for the same earthquakes. For all analyses, we examine how quantities vary with the frequency content of the seismic signal and with the basin depth at each station. Seismic waves from earthquakes and from ambient noise are amplified within Cook Inlet basin. At low frequencies (0.1–0.5 Hz), ambient‐noise ratios and earthquake SRs are in a general agreement with power amplification of 6–14 dB, corresponding to amplitude amplification factors of 2.0–5.0. At high frequencies (0.5–4.0 Hz), the basin amplifies the earthquake wavefield by similar factors. Our results indicate stronger amplification for the deeper basin stations such as near Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula and weaker amplification near the margins of the basin. Future work devoted to 3D wavefield simulations and treatment of source and propagation effects should improve the characterization of the frequency‐dependent response of Cook Inlet basin to recorded and scenario earthquakes in the region. 
    more » « less