Local-distance seismic event relocation and relative magnitude estimation, applications to mining related seismicity in the powder river basin, wyoming

Jonas A. Kintner, K. Michael Cleveland, Charles J. Ammon, Andrew Nyblade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent efforts to characterize small (Mw < 3) seismic events at local distances have become more important because of the increased observation of human-triggered and induced seis­micity and the need to advance nuclear explosion monitoring capabilities. The signals gen­erated by low-magnitude seismic sources necessitate the use of nearby short-period observations, which are sensitive to local geological heterogeneity. Local to near-regional distance (< 300 km) surface and shear waves can dominate short-period observations from small, shallow seismic sources. In this work, we utilize these observations to estimate pre­cise, relative locations and magnitudes of ~ 700 industrial mining events in Wyoming, using nearly 360,000 observations. The precise, relative location estimates (with formal location uncertainty estimates of less than 1 km) collapse a diffuse collection of mining events into discrete clusters associated with individual blasting operations. We also invert the cross-cor­relation amplitudes to estimate precise, relative moment magnitude estimates, which help validate and identify disparities in the event sizes reported by regional network catalogs. Joint use of multiple phases allows for the inclusion of more seismic events due to the increase in the number of observations. In some cases, using a single phase allowed us to relocate only 50% of the original reported seismic events within a cluster. Combining shear- and surface-wave phases increased the number of events to above 90% of the origi­nal events, allowing us to characterize a broader range of event sizes, source to station dis­tances, and event distributions. This analysis takes a step toward making a fuller characterization of small industrial seismic events observed at local distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1364
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Volume111
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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