Seismicity and Attenuation of the Continental Margin Off New York and Southern/ New England from OBS Data

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Claudia H Flores1, Uri S Ten Brink1, Jeffrey Joseph McGuire2 and John A Collins2, (1)US Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (2)Woods Hole Oceanographic Ins, Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Earthquake data recorded during two ocean-bottom-seismometer (OBS) deployments on the continental slope off New York and Southern New England are used to evaluate micro-seismicity and attenuation of the continental margin. The deployments were partly motivated by the detection by land seismometers of several ML2.5-3.8 continental margin earthquakes in this region during the previous four years. The data come from a five-month-long cluster deployment (1 km radius) of eleven short-period OBS in July 2012 at a water depth of ~835 m and a subsequent nine-month deployment of a network of five short-period OBS spaced 50 km apart at water depths between 900-2400 m. The land-based seismic network did not identify seismic activity on the margin during the two deployments. The OBS network located only one earthquake of ML~1 near the shelf edge, suggesting that seismic activity of the margin is probably successfully monitored by land seismometers. A successful land-based detection of earthquakes on the margin may indicate that low seismic attenuation extends from the Eastern U.S. to the continental shelf and slope. To better quantify the attenuation of the margin we derive the peak spectral attenuation of 6-8 ML2.8-4.1 earthquakes recorded by the OBS during the two deployments. These earthquakes were located on land close to shore and offshore between New Jersey and Nova Scotia, and propagation paths are almost entirely within the continental margin. Onshore earthquakes of ML ‚ȧ2.6 were not detected by the OBS.¬†Information about the seismicity and attenuation of the margin will be used to evaluate the probability of earthquake-generated landslides.