Comprehensive recovery of a weak aftershock sequence in the North Atlantic using waveform cross correlation

Full text of this paper is available on arxiv.org

We apply cross correlation between multichannel seismic waveforms as a technique for signal detection and automatic event building at the International Data Centre (IDC). This technique allows detecting signals with amplitudes by at least a factor of two lower than those found in the current version of IDC processing. Previously, we processed with a cross correlation detector aftershock sequences of a large earthquake with thousands of aftershocks detected by the International Monitoring System (IMS) and a middle-size earthquake (hundreds of aftershocks). Our study has revealed that the official Reviewed Event Bulletin (REB) of the IDC misses from 50% to 70% valid seismic events. Since the IDC is a major contributor to the International Seismological Centre (ISC) these extra events together with the associated arrivals are missing from the ISC bulletin which is an open data source for the broader seismological and geophysical community.Here, we assess the ultimate resolution of the cross correlation technique with specific IDC constraints. The aftershock sequence of the October 5, 2011 mb(IDC)4.2 earthquake in the North Atlantic is an example of a weak sequence and includes only 38 REB events. The number and quality of these REB events, which are used as master events, allow conducting a comprehensive interactive review by experienced analysts of all event hypotheses obtained by the cross correlation technique. In an iterative procedure starting from the main shock, all 38 REB events were found and analysts added 26 REB events. Therefore, the cross correlation pipeline reduces the detection threshold by a factor of 2 to 3 and approximately doubles the number of events in the REB, and thus, in the ISC bulletin for the North Atlantic.

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