Determination of Focal Mechanisms of Non-Volcanic Tremors Based on S-Wave Polarization Data Corrected for the Effects of Anisotropy

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kazutoshi Imanishi, Takahiko Uchide and Naoto Takeda, Geological Survey of Japan, AIST, Institute of Earthquake and Volcano Geology, Tsukuba, Japan
We propose a method to determine focal mechanisms of non-volcanic tremors (NVTs) based on S-wave polarization angles. The successful retrieval of polarization angles in low S/N tremor signals owes much to the observation that NVTs propagate slowly and therefore they do not change their location immediately. This feature of NVTs enables us to use a longer window to compute a polarization angle (e.g., one minute or longer), resulting in a stack of particle motions. Following Zhang and Schwartz (1994), we first correct for the splitting effect to recover the source polarization angle (anisotropy-corrected angle). This is a key step, because shear-wave splitting distorts the particle motion excited by a seismic source. We then determine the best double-couple solution using anisotropy-corrected angles of multiple stations. The present method was applied to a tremor sequence at Kii Peninsula, southwest Japan, which occurred at the beginning of April 2013. A standard splitting and polarization analysis were subject to a one-minute-long moving window to determine the splitting parameters as well as anisotropy-corrected angles. A grid search approach was performed at each hour to determine the best double-couple solution satisfying one-hour average polarization angles. Most solutions show NW-dipping low-angle planes consistent with the plate boundary or SE-dipping high-angle planes. Because of 180 degrees ambiguity in polarization angles, the present method alone cannot distinguish compressional quadrant from dilatational one. Together with the observation of very low-frequency earthquakes near the present study area (Ito et al., 2007), it is reasonable to consider that they represent shear slip on low-angle thrust faults. It is also noted that some of solutions contain strike-slip component.

Acknowledgements: Seismograph stations used in this study include permanent stations operated by NIED (Hi-net), JMA, Earthquake Research Institute, together with Geological Survey of Japan, AIST. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 24540463.