ABSTRACT

We have developed an approach to determine the time-dependent moment tensor and the origin time in addition to commonly derived locations of seismic events using time reverse imaging (TRI). It is crucial to locate and characterize the occurring microseismicity without making a priori assumptions about the sources to fully understand the subsurface processes inducing seismicity. Low signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns) often force standard methods to make assumptions about sources or only characterize selected larger magnitude events. In TRI, microearthquakes are located by back propagating the full-recorded time-reversed wavefield through a velocity model until it ideally convergences on the source location. Therefore, it is less affected by low S/Ns and potentially locates and characterizes most of the events. After distinguishing artificial convergence locations from source locations, the quality of the source location and the moment tensors are derived by recording the stress at the determined source locations during the back propagation of the time-reversed wavefield. A robust workflow is derived using synthetic test cases in a realistic scenario with velocity models that only approximate the true velocity model and/or noisy displacement traces. The influence of a rudimentary velocity model on the source-location accuracy and characterization is significant. Our workflow handles these less-than-optimal station distributions and velocity models. Finally, the derived workflow is successfully applied to field data recorded at the geothermal field of Los Humeros, Mexico. Although only a 1D velocity model is currently available, source locations and (time-dependent) moment tensors could be determined for selected events.

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