Assessing the Uncertainties on Seismic Source Parameters: Towards Realistic Estimates of Moment Tensor Determinations

Monday, 15 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Federica Magnoni, Laura Scognamiglio, Elisa Tinti and Emanuele Casarotti, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Rome, Italy
Seismic moment tensor is one of the most important source parameters defining the earthquake dimension and style of the activated fault. Moment tensor catalogues are ordinarily used by geoscientists, however, few attempts have been done to assess possible impacts of moment magnitude uncertainties upon their own analysis. The 2012 May 20 Emilia mainshock is a representative event since it is defined in literature with a moment magnitude value (Mw) spanning between 5.63 and 6.12. An uncertainty of ~0.5 units in magnitude leads to a controversial knowledge of the real size of the event. The possible uncertainty associated to this estimate could be critical for the inference of other seismological parameters, suggesting caution for seismic hazard assessment, coulomb stress transfer determination and other analyses where self-consistency is important.

In this work, we focus on the variability of the moment tensor solution, highlighting the effect of four different velocity models, different types and ranges of filtering, and two different methodologies. Using a larger dataset, to better quantify the source parameter uncertainty, we also analyze the variability of the moment tensor solutions depending on the number, the epicentral distance and the azimuth of used stations. We endorse that the estimate of seismic moment from moment tensor solutions, as well as the estimate of the other kinematic source parameters, cannot be considered an absolute value and requires to come out with the related uncertainties and in a reproducible framework characterized by disclosed assumptions and explicit processing workflows.