Resolving minute temporal seismic velocity changes induced by earthquake damage: The more stations, the merrier ?

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 2 of this Preprint.


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Luc Illien , Christoph Sens-Schönfelder, Kuan-Yu Ke


Ground shaking induced by earthquakes often introduces transient changes in seismic velocity monitored with ambient noise. These changes are usually attributed to relaxation behavior following the co-seismic damage in the subsurface and are of relevance for postseismic hazard mitigation. However, the velocity evolution associated with this phenomenon can occur at very small timescales and amplitudes that are challenging to resolve with seismic interferometry and that are challenging to link to laboratory experiments. A way to improve the temporal resolution of the velocity time-series is to test whether the estimation of the relative seismic velocity changes dv/v obeys the ergodic hypothesis in which the joint use of co-located stations would lead to better resolved measurements. In this study, we present results from a dense seismic array that was deployed for two weeks at the remarkable Patache site in Chile. Thanks to high temporal averaging capabilities, we are able to resolve seismic velocity changes in the 3-6 Hz frequency band at a 10-minutes resolution around the occurrence of a moderate earthquake (PGV ~ 1 cm/s). We report a velocity drop of ~0.5% in the first 10 minutes after ground shaking that precedes a recovery to ~50% of the initial pre-event value within the first two days. The shape of the recovery follows a log-linear shape over the whole observed recovery phase, analogous to slow dynamics experiments. When normalised by the total amount of processed data, we show that the ergodic hypothesis almost perfectly holds in our network: the dv/v signal to noise ratio (SNR) obtained when averaging a few observation with large stacking durations for the correlation functions is almost equal to the SNR when using a large number of observations with small stacking durations. Additionally, we use the array capabilities to identify the surf at the shoreline as the source of the noise and to derive a 1D shear velocity profile with the focal spot imaging technique and a transdimensional Bayesian inversion framework. The inversion shows that hard rocks lie close to the surface indicating that this material hosts the observed velocity changes. We discuss our high-resolution measurements and attribute them to a stable noise source excited by the shore, the ergodicity property and an ideal subsurface structure. Finally, we discuss the effect of moderate earthquakes on subsurface damage and the potential relaxation processes in hard rocks.



Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology


Seismic interferometry, relaxation, slow dynamics, Ambient noise, ergodicity, seismic velocity, nonlinear elasticity


Published: 2022-07-29 19:59

Last Updated: 2022-10-18 04:24

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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