Abstract

A comparison is made between seismic event locations derived from standard spherically symmetric Earth models (JB, PREM, IASP91) and a recent Earth model (S&P12/WM13) that incorporates large-scale lateral heterogeneity of P- and S-wave velocities in the mantle. Events with known hypocentral coordinates are located in the different Earth models using standard methods. Two sets of events are considered: a data set of 26 explosions, including primarily nuclear weapons test explosions and peaceful nuclear explosions in the United States and former USSR; and a published data set of 82 well-located earthquakes with a more even global distribution. IASP91 and PREM are shown to offer similar errors in event location and origin time estimates with respect to the JB model. The three-dimensional (3D) model S&P12/WM13 offers improvement in event locations over all three one-dimensional (1D) models with, or without, station corrections. For the explosion events, the average mislocation distance is reduced by approximately 40%; for the earthquakes, the improvements are smaller. Corrections for crustal thickness beneath source and receiver are found to be of similar magnitude to the mantle corrections, but use of station corrections together with the three-dimensional mantle model provide the best locations.

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