Application of Seismic Array Processing to Tsunami Early Warning

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Chao An, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States and Lingsen Meng, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Tsunami wave predictions of the current tsunami warning systems rely on accurate earthquake source inversions of wave height data. They are of limited effectiveness for the near-field areas since the tsunami waves arrive before data are collected. Recent seismic and tsunami disasters have revealed the need for early warning to protect near-source coastal populations. In this work we developed the basis for a tsunami warning system based on rapid earthquake source characterisation through regional seismic array back-projections. We explored rapid earthquake source imaging using onshore dense seismic arrays located at regional distances on the order of 1000 km, which provides faster source images than conventional teleseismic back-projections. We implement this method in a simulated real-time environment, and analysed the 2011 Tohoku earthquake rupture with two clusters of Hi-net stations in Kyushu and Northern Hokkaido, and the 2014 Iquique event with the Earthscope USArray Transportable Array. The results yield reasonable estimates of rupture area, which is approximated by an ellipse and leads to the construction of simple slip models based on empirical scaling of the rupture area, seismic moment and average slip. The slip model is then used as the input of the tsunami simulation package COMCOT to predict the tsunami waves. In the example of the Tohoku event, the earthquake source model can be acquired within 6 minutes from the start of rupture and the simulation of tsunami waves takes less than 2 min, which could facilitate a timely tsunami warning. The predicted arrival time and wave amplitude reasonably fit observations. Based on this method, we propose to develop an automatic warning mechanism that provides rapid near-field warning for areas of high tsunami risk. The initial focus will be Japan, Pacific Northwest and Alaska, where dense seismic networks with the capability of real-time data telemetry and open data accessibility, such as the Japanese HiNet (>800 instruments) and the Earthscope USArray Transportable Array (~400 instruments), are established.