Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 17963)
Rapid estimation of earthquake rupture propagation is essential to declare an early warning for tsunami-generating earthquakes. An increasing number of seismological methods have been developed to determine rupture parameters, such as length, velocity and propagation direction, especially since the occurrence of the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake that resulted in a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean region. Here, we present a new method to follow the rupture process in near real time by a polarization analysis of local and regional P phases that permits a faster determination of rupture properties than using teleseismic records. The new technique has the capability to provide detailed information in less than 10 min. Originally, the method stems from a single-station earthquake location method and is expanded here to monitor P-phase polarization variations through time. As the earthquake source moves away from the hypocentre, the backazimuth of an incoming P phase is expected to change accordingly. With polarization analysis we may be able to monitor the temporal change in Pwave backazimuth to follow the rupture process in near real time. Three component P phases are scanned to determine the azimuthal variation as a function of time. The backazimuth of a moving rupture front is determined by the first eigenvector of the covariance matrix. The linearity of the particle motion is used as a measure of the quality of the data. Seismic stations at local and regional distances (>∼ 30◦) are used. We tested the new method with a theoretical simulation and observed seismograms of the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake (2004 December 26, Mw = 9.3), and we were able to follow the rupture for the first 200 s. For larger ruptures, stations at more than 30◦ epicentral distances would be required. The method is also successfully applied to the Wenchuan earthquake (2008 May 12, Mw = 8.0).
(2012): Tracking unilateral earthquake rupture by P-wave polarization analysis. Geophysical Journal International, 188, 3, 1141-1153.