High-resolution imaging of the Bear Valley section of the San Andreas fault at seismogenic depths with fault-zone head waves and relocated seismicity
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Detailed imaging of fault-zone (FZ) material properties at seismogenic depths is a difficult seismological problem owing to the short length scales of the structural features. Seismic energy trapped within a low-velocity damage zone has been utilized to image the fault core at shallow depths, but these phases appear to lack sensitivity to structure in the depth range where earthquakes nucleate. Major faults that juxtapose rocks of significantly different elastic properties generate a related phase termed a fault-zone head wave (FZHW) that spends the majority of its path refracting along the fault. We utilize data from a dense temporary array of seismometers in the Bear Valley region of the San Andreas Fault to demonstrate that head waves have sensitivity to FZ structure throughout the seismogenic zone. Measured differential arrival times between the head waves and direct P arrivals and waveform modelling of these phases provide high-resolution information on the velocity contrast across the fault. The obtained values document along-strike, fault-normal, and downdip variations in the strength of the velocity contrast, ranging from 20 to 50 per cent depending on the regions being averaged by the ray paths. The complexity of the FZ waveforms increases dramatically in a region of the fault that has two active strands producing two separate bands of seismicity. Synthetic waveform calculations indicate that geological observations of the thickness and rock-type of the layer between the two strands are valid also for the subsurface structure of the fault. The results show that joint analysis of FZHWs and direct P arrivals can resolve important small-scale elements of the FZ structure at seismogenic depths. Detailed characterization of material contrasts across faults and their relation to earthquake ruptures is necessary for evaluating theoretical predictions of the effects that these structures have on rupture propagation.
Author Posting. © Blackwell, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of Blackwell for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Journal International 163 (2005): 152–164, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02703.x.
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