Probabilistic joint inversion of waveforms and polarity data for double-couple focal mechanisms of local earthquakes

Wéber, Zoltán (2018) Probabilistic joint inversion of waveforms and polarity data for double-couple focal mechanisms of local earthquakes. GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, 213 (3). pp. 1586-1598. ISSN 0956-540X


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Estimating the mechanisms of small (M<4) earthquakes is quite challenging. A common scenario is that neither the available polarity data alone nor the well predictable near-station seismograms alone are sufficient to obtain reliable focal mechanism solutions for weak events. To handle this situation we introduce here a new method that jointly inverts waveforms and polarity data following a probabilistic approach. The procedure called joint waveform and polarity (JOWAPO) inversion maps the posterior probability density of the model parameters and estimates the maximum likelihood double-couple mechanism, the optimal source depth and the scalar seismic moment of the investigated event. The uncertainties of the solution are described by confidence regions. We have validated the method on two earthquakes for which well-determined focal mechanisms are available. The validation tests show that including waveforms in the inversion considerably reduces the uncertainties of the usually poorly constrained polarity solutions. The JOWAPO method performs best when it applies waveforms from at least two seismic stations. If the number of the polarity data is large enough, even single-station JOWAPO inversion can produce usable solutions. When only a few polarities are available, however, single-station inversion may result in biased mechanisms. In this case some caution must be taken when interpreting the results. We have successfully applied the JOWAPO method to an earthquake in North Hungary, whose mechanism could not be estimated by long-period waveform inversion. Using 17 P-wave polarities and waveforms at two nearby stations, the JOWAPO method produced a well-constrained focal mechanism. The solution is very similar to those obtained previously for four other events that occurred in the same earthquake sequence. The analysed event has a strike-slip mechanism with a P axis oriented approximately along an NE-SW direction. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Probability distributions; Probability density function; earthquakes; Maximum likelihood; Seismic waves; Waveform analysis; Probabilistic approaches; joint inversion; Posterior probability; Inverse theory; Waveform inversion; earthquake source observations; Strike-slip mechanism; Earthquake sequences;
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QE Geology / földtudományok
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2018 09:00
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 23:15

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