A simple P-wave polarization analysis: its application to earthquake location

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B. Alessandrini
M. Cattaneo
M. Demartin
M. Gasperini
V. Lanza


We present a method for hypocentral location which takes into account all three components of ground motion and not only the vertical one, as it is usually done by standard least-square techniques applied to arrival times. Assuming that P-wave particle motion direction corresponds to the propagation direction of the seismic wave, we carried out a simple statistical analysis of ground motion amplitudes, carefully using three-component records. We obtained the azimuth and the emersion angle of the seismic ray, which, added to Pg and Sg arrival times, allowed us to find reliable hypocentral coordinates of some local events by means of a ray-tracing technique. We compared our locations to those obtained using a least-square technique: our polarization method's dependence on the accuracy of the model used (on the contrary, the least-square technique proved to be quite stable with respect to changes in the model's velocity parameters) led us to conclude that polarization data provide coherent information on the true ray-path and can be successfully used for both location procedures and seismic wave propagation studizs in strongly heterogeneous media.

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Alessandrini B, Cattaneo M, Demartin M, Gasperini M, Lanza V. A simple P-wave polarization analysis: its application to earthquake location. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 1994Nov.25 [cited 2022Jun.27];37(5). Available from: https://www.annalsofgeophysics.eu/index.php/annals/article/view/4181

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