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    Earthquake ruptures are complex physical processes that may vary with the structure and tectonics of the region in which they occur. Characterizing the factors controlling this variability would provide fundamental constraints on the physics of earthquakes and faults. We investigate this by determining finite source properties from second moments of the stress glut for a global data set of large strike-slip earthquakes. Our approach uses a Bayesian inverse formulation with teleseismic body and surface waves, which yields a low-dimensional probabilistic description of rupture properties including the spatial deviation, directivity and temporal deviation of the source. This technique is useful for comparing events because it makes only minor geometric constraints, avoids bias due to rupture velocity parametrization and yields a full ensemble of possible solutions given the uncertainties of the data. We apply this framework to all great strike-slip earthquakes of the past three decades, and we use the resultant second moments to compare source quantities like directivity ratio, rectilinearity, average moment density and vertical deviation. We find that most strike-slip earthquakes have a large component of unilateral directivity, and many of these earthquakes show a mixture of unilateral and bilateral behaviour. We notice that oceanic intraplate earthquakes usually rupture a much larger width of the seismogenic zone than other strike-slip earthquakes, suggesting these earthquakes may often breach the expected thermal boundary for oceanic ruptures. We also use these second moments to resolve nodal plane ambiguity for the large oceanic intraplate earthquakes and find that the rupture orientation is usually unaligned with encompassing fossil fracture zones.

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    The spatio-temporal properties of seismicity give us incisive insight into the stress state evolution and fault structures of the crust. Empirical models based on self-exciting point processes continue to provide an important tool for analysing seismicity, given the epistemic uncertainty associated with physical models. In particular, the epidemic-type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model acts as a reference model for studying seismicity catalogues. The traditional ETAS model uses simple parametric definitions for the background rate of triggering-independent seismicity. This reduces the effectiveness of the basic ETAS model in modelling the temporally complex seismicity patterns seen in seismic swarms that are dominated by aseismic tectonic processes such as fluid injection rather than aftershock triggering. In order to robustly capture time-varying seismicity rates, we introduce a deep Gaussian process (GP) formulation for the background rate as an extension to ETAS. GPs are a robust non-parametric model for function spaces with covariance structure. By conditioning the length-scale structure of a GP with another GP, we have a deep-GP: a probabilistic, hierarchical model that automatically tunes its structure to match data constraints. We show how the deep-GP-ETAS model can be efficiently sampled by making use of a Metropolis-within-Gibbs scheme, taking advantage of the branching process formulation of ETAS and a stochastic partial differential equation (SPDE) approximation for Matérn GPs. We illustrate our method using synthetic examples, and show that the deep-GP-ETAS model successfully captures multiscale temporal behaviour in the background forcing rate of seismicity. We then apply the results to two real-data catalogues: the Ridgecrest, CA 2019 July 5 Mw 7.1 event catalogue, showing that deep-GP-ETAS can successfully characterize a classical aftershock sequence; and the 2016–2019 Cahuilla, CA earthquake swarm, which shows two distinct phases of aseismic forcing concordant with a fluid injection-driven initial sequence, arrest of the fluid along a physical barrier and release following the largest Mw 4.4 event of the sequence.

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  3. Interacting magmatic sills at about 40-kilometer depth under the island of Hawai‘i feed into multiple different volcanoes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 3, 2024
  4. Abstract Fault geometry affects the initiation, propagation, and cessation of earthquake rupture, as well as, potentially, the statistical behavior of earthquake sequences. We analyze 18,250 (−0.27 < M < 4.4) earthquakes of the 2016–2019 Cahuilla, California, swarm and, for the first time, use these high-resolution earthquake locations to map, in detail, the roughness across an active fault surface at depth. We find that the strike-slip fault is 50% rougher in the slip-perpendicular direction than parallel to slip. 3D mapping of fault roughness at seismogenic depths suggests that roughness varies by a factor of 8 for length scales of 1 km. We observe that the largest earthquake (M 4.4) occurred where there is significant fault complexity and the highest measured roughness. We also find that b-values are weakly positively correlated with fault roughness. Following the largest earthquake, we observe a distinct population of earthquakes with comparatively low b-values occurring in an area of high roughness within the rupture area of the M 4.4 earthquake. Finally, we measure roughness at multiple scales and find that the fault is self-affine with a Hurst exponent of 0.52, consistent with a Brownian surface. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024

    The spatial geometry of seismicity encodes information about loading and failure processes, as well as properties of the underlying fault structure. Traditional approaches to characterizing geometrical attributes of seismicity rely on assumed locations and geometry of fault surfaces, particularly at depth, where resolution is overall quite poor. In this study, we develop an alternative approach to quantifying geometrical properties of seismicity using techniques from anisotropic point process theory. Our approach does not require prior knowledge about the underlying fault properties. We characterize the geometrical attributes of 32 distinct seismicity regions in California and introduce a simple four class classification scheme that covers the range of geometrical properties observed. Most of the regions classified as having localized seismicity are within northern California, while nearly all of the regions classified as having distributed seismicity are within southern California. In addition, we find that roughly 1 out of 4 regions exhibit orthogonal seismicity structures. The results of this study provide a foundation for future analyses of geometrical properties of seismicity and new observables to compare with numerical modelling studies.

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  6. Abstract

    We present a fully Bayesian inverse scheme to determine second moments of the stress glut using teleseismic earthquake seismograms. The second moments form a low‐dimensional, physically motivated representation of the rupture process that captures its spatial extent, source duration, and directivity effects. We determine an ensemble of second‐moment solutions by employing Hamiltonian Monte Carlo and automatic differentiation to efficiently approximate the posterior. This method explicitly constrains the parameter space to be symmetric positive definite, ensuring the derived source properties have physically meaningful values. The framework accounts for the autocorrelation structure of the errors and incorporates hyperpriors on the uncertainty. We validate this methodology using a synthetic test and subsequently apply it to the 2019Mw7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake using teleseismic data. The distributions of second moments determined for this event provide probabilistic descriptions of low‐dimensional rupture characteristics that are generally consistent with results from previous studies. The success of this case study suggests that probabilistic and comparable finite source properties may be discerned for large global events regardless of the quality and coverage of local instrumentation.

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  7. Typically, inversion algorithms assume that a forward model, which relates a source to its resulting measurements, is known and fixed. Using collected indirect measurements and the forward model, the goal becomes to recover the source. When the forward model is unknown, or imperfect, artifacts due to model mismatch occur in the recovery of the source. In this paper, we study the problem of blind inversion: solving an inverse problem with unknown or imperfect knowledge of the forward model parameters. We propose DeepGEM, a variational Expectation-Maximization (EM) framework that can be used to solve for the unknown parameters of the forward model in an unsupervised manner. DeepGEM makes use of a normalizing flow generative network to efficiently capture complex posterior distributions, which leads to more accurate evaluation of the source's posterior distribution used in EM. We showcase the effectiveness of our DeepGEM approach by achieving strong performance on the challenging problem of blind seismic tomography, where we significantly outperform the standard method used in seismology. We also demonstrate the generality of DeepGEM by applying it to a simple case of blind deconvolution. 
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  8. Earthquake swarms are ubiquitous in volcanic systems, being manifestations of underlying nontectonic processes such as magma intrusions or volatile fluid transport. The Long Valley caldera, California, is one such setting where episodic earthquake swarms and persistent uplift suggest the presence of active magmatism. We quantify the long-term spatial and temporal characteristics of seismicity in the region using cluster analysis on a 25-year high-resolution earthquake catalog derived using leading-edge deep-learning algorithms. Our results show that earthquake swarms beneath the caldera exhibit enlarged families with statistically significant tendency for upward migration patterns. The ascending swarms tend to nucleate at the base of the seismogenic zone with a spatial footprint that is laterally constrained by the southern rim of the caldera. We suggest that these swarms are driven by the transport of volatile-rich fluids released from deep volcanic processes. The observations highlight the potential for extreme spatial segmentation of earthquake triggering processes in magmatic systems. 
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