Detecting and Locating Seismic Events Without Phase Picks or Velocity Models

Friday, 18 December 2015: 09:45
305 (Moscone South)
Stephen Arrowsmith, Christopher J Young, Sanford Ballard and Megan Slinkard, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, United States
The standard paradigm for seismic event monitoring is to scan waveforms from a network of stations and identify the arrival time of various seismic phases. A signal association algorithm then groups the picks to form events, which are subsequently located by minimizing residuals between measured travel times and travel times predicted by an Earth model. Many of these steps are prone to significant errors which can lead to erroneous arrival associations and event locations. Here, we revisit a concept for event detection that does not require phase picks or travel time curves and fuses detection, association and location into a single algorithm. Our pickless event detector exploits existing catalog and waveform data to build an empirical stack of the full regional seismic wavefield, which is subsequently used to detect and locate events at a network level using correlation techniques. Because the technique uses more of the information content of the original waveforms, the concept is particularly powerful for detecting weak events that would be missed by conventional methods. We apply our detector to seismic data from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations network and compare our results with the earthquake catalog published by the University of Utah. We demonstrate that the pickless detector can detect and locate significant numbers of events previously missed by standard data processing techniques.