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Regional seismic-wave propagation from the M5.8 23 August 2011, Mineral, Virginia, earthquake

By
Fred F. Pollitz
Fred F. Pollitz
U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS 977, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
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Walter D. Mooney
Walter D. Mooney
U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS 977, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2015

The M5.8 23 August 2011 Mineral, Virginia, earthquake was felt over nearly the entire eastern United States and was recorded by a wide array of seismic broadband instruments. The earthquake occurred ~200 km southeast of the boundary between two distinct geologic belts, the Piedmont and Blue Ridge terranes to the southeast and the Valley and Ridge Province to the northwest. At a dominant period of 3 s, coherent postcritical P-wave (i.e., direct longitudinal waves trapped in the crustal waveguide) arrivals persist to a much greater distance for propagation paths toward the northwest quadrant than toward other directions; this is probably related to the relatively high crustal thickness beneath and west of the Appalachian Mountains. The seismic surface-wave arrivals comprise two distinct classes: those with weakly dispersed Rayleigh waves and those with strongly dispersed Rayleigh waves. We attribute the character of Rayleigh wave arrivals in the first class to wave propagation through a predominantly crystalline crust (Blue Ridge Mountains and Piedmont terranes) with a relatively thin veneer of sedimentary rock, whereas the temporal extent of the Rayleigh wave arrivals in the second class are well explained as the effect of the thick sedimentary cover of the Valley and Ridge Province and adjacent Appalachian Plateau province to its northwest. Broadband surface-wave ground velocity is amplified along both north-northwest and northeast azimuths from the Mineral, Virginia, source. The former may arise from lateral focusing effects arising from locally thick sedimentary cover in the Appalachian Basin, and the latter may result from directivity effects due to a northeast rupture propagation along the finite fault plane.

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GSA Special Papers

The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America

Geological Society of America
ISBN print:
9780813725093
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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