Abstract

This article aims to investigate the frequency-magnitude characteristics and lower magnitude limits of the microseismic catalog recorded with a seismic network sensitive to high frequencies at Mponeng mine, South Africa. The network, composed of one three-component accelerometer and eight acoustic emission sensors, is located at a depth of 3.5 km below the surface and covers the limited volume of approximately 300×300×300 m. The three-component accelerometer was used to estimate the moment magnitude for the limited number of 135 events (Mw ranged from -4.1 to -0.3) well recorded by the network. We use the relation between the moment magnitude estimated from accelerometer data and radiated energy/moment magnitude estimated from acoustic emission sensors to extend the catalog to lower magnitudes. The magnitude of completeness of selected spatiotemporal subsets of the catalog was estimated for: (1) an aftershock sequence of an Mw 1.9 event that occurred approximately 30 m from the network, and (2) postblasting activity during working days, located more than 80 m from the network. The data follow the Gutenberg–Richter (GR) frequency-magnitude relationship with no visible deviation from self-similar behavior of seismicity between Mw -4.4 and -1.9 for the aftershock sequence and between -3.5 and -1.5 for the postblasting dataset. We estimated the magnitude of completeness of selected subset as low as -4.3 (b=1.26) for the aftershock sequence and -3.4 (b=1.17) for the postblasting activity. Differences in magnitude of completeness are attributed to location of recorded activity and site effects.

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