Small quasi-static displacements associated with shallow LP seismic sources

Monday, 15 December 2014
Johannes Thun, Christopher J Bean and Ivan Lokmer, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Seismic long-period (LP) events are still not completely understood, in part because our source models are poorly constrained. In particular individual LP events are usually inverted using a very limited bandwidth, which might mask important aspects of the source. Following advances from earthquake seismology where sources are inverted using joint static and dynamic data we investigate the possibility of using seismometers as deformation sensors, where ‘static’ displacements are hypothesised to be in the micrometre range (Bean et al. 2014). We use data from high-density networks on a variety of volcanoes. The first component of this study focuses on the extraction of small static displacement steps from seismometer data. The main challenges we face include low signal-to-noise ratios and ambiguity of the extracted ground motion due to the tilt-sensitivity of the instruments. We use a combination of laboratory experiments on seismometers and numerical simulations to investigate the processing steps needed to perform the ‘step’ extraction task and to guide the interpretation of the resulting data. The method is applied to signals recorded near the summits of Turrialba volcano (Costa Rica) and Mt Etna (Italy), which exhibit ramp-like displacement waveforms, coincidently associated by ‘dynamic’ LP recordings. Our interim conclusion is that these LP sources likely have a measurable static component in the source. Our next step is to use this static component to better constrain LP source inversions.