Abstract

The Source Physics Experiment (SPE) is a series of chemical explosions at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly the Nevada Test Site) designed to improve our understanding of explosion physics. A future SPE will place an explosion at the hypocenter of a small, shallow earthquake, providing a direct earthquake‐to‐explosion experiment. Candidate earthquakes for this novel experiment come from a sequence of over 200 unusually shallow events that occurred in Rock Valley, Nevada, in the southeastern portion of the NNSS during 1993. We apply the Bayesloc multiple‐event location algorithm (Myers et al., 2007, 2009) to determine the best possible locations and depths for these events. Past nuclear tests in the nearby Yucca Flat on the NNSS are relocated with the same method to provide insight into the accuracy and uncertainties associated with the Bayesloc location results for the Rock Valley earthquakes. This test suggests that we can accurately pinpoint the location of the Rock Valley events within approximately 1 km of their true locations using direct arrival times only. The incorporation of differential arrival times and a potential ground‐truth event can significantly decrease the already small uncertainties associated with the epicenter locations. Depth determinations have uncertainties of a few kilometers. Depth uncertainty may be reduced by developing an accurate 3D model of P‐wave and S‐wave velocity for Rock Valley.

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