Abstract

In this study, we analyze acoustic emission (AE) data recorded at the Morsleben salt mine, Germany, to assess the catalog completeness, which plays an important role in any seismicity analysis. We introduce the new concept of a magnitude completeness interval consisting of a maximum magnitude of completeness (Mc(max)) in addition to the well‐known minimum magnitude of completeness. This is required to describe the completeness of the catalog, both for the smallest events (for which the detection performance may be low) and for the largest ones (which may be missed because of sensors saturation). We suggest a method to compute the maximum magnitude of completeness and calculate it for a spatial grid based on (1) the prior estimation of saturation magnitude at each sensor, (2) the correction of the detection probability function at each sensor, including a drop in the detection performance when it saturates, and (3) the combination of detection probabilities of all sensors to obtain the network detection performance. The method is tested using about 130,000 AE events recorded in a period of five weeks, with sources confined within a small depth interval, and an example of the spatial distribution of Mc(max) is derived. The comparison between the spatial distribution of Mc(max) and of the maximum possible magnitude (Mmax), which is here derived using a recently introduced Bayesian approach, indicates that Mmax exceeds Mc(max) in some parts of the mine. This suggests that some large and important events may be missed in the catalog, which could lead to a bias in the hazard evaluation.

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