Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

On the portability of ML-MC as a depth discriminant for small seismic events recorded at local distances

September 10, 2019

In this paper we show that ML-MC is a viable and regionally portable depth discriminant and therefore may contribute in nuclear test ban treaty verification. A recent study found that the difference between local magnitude (ML) and coda duration magnitude (MC) discriminates shallow seismic events (mining blasts, mining-induced earthquakes, and shallow tectonic earthquakes) from deeper tectonic earthquakes in the Utah region. The shallow seismic events had anomalously high MC values, with increasingly negative ML-MC values as depth decreased. Here we evaluate the performance of ML-MC as a depth discriminant in three new regions, finding that ML-MC increases between 0–9 km depth in all cases. Initially, we investigated ML-MC as a function of depth for naturally occurring earthquakes in the region around Yellowstone National Park, as recorded by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. For 3,358 Yellowstone earthquakes with well-constrained depths, we found ML-MC increased 0.030 ± 0.007 magnitude units (m.u.) for each 1 km increase in depth up to 10 km depth. Next, we examined ML-MC values for anthropogenic seismicity in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, as recorded by the National Earthquake Information Center. For 1,628 events with well-constrained depths, we computed a slope for ML-MC of 0.022 ± 0.010 m.u./km. Finally, we analyzed ML-MC for 28,722 well-located earthquakes in Italy, as recorded by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and found an ML-MC slope of 0.018 ± 0.001 m.u./km. In each case, the quoted error bounds represent 95% confidence regions which exclude zero, implying that the depth-dependence of ML-MC is statistically significant. We performed several robustness tests in which we varied the criterion used to define a well-constrained depth and the depth range used in the linear fit. In nearly all cases, we found a positive slope for ML-MC vs. depth at a confidence level above 95%.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title On the portability of ML-MC as a depth discriminant for small seismic events recorded at local distances
DOI 10.1785/0120190096
Authors Monique M. Holt, Keith D. Koper, William L. Yeck, Sebastiano D’Amico, Zongshan Li, J. Mark Hale, Relu Burlacu
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70211087
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center; Geology and Geophysics Science Center

Related Content