Abstract

Local event recordings are complex in the sense that relevant P and S phases vary in an unpredictable manner even between closely spaced stations; thus, manual analysis of such records is still commonplace. Our approach to solving this long-standing problem of observational seismology is to bandpass filter (3 to 6 Hz) to ensure good signal-to-noise ratio SNR and then form envelopes to ensure simple signals across a seismograph network. The physical basis is that Pg and Lg are crustal wave-guide phases reflecting P- and S-energy propagation. Extensive tests on envelope analysis of local records from different areas found that arrival times of the maxima of Pg and Lg envelopes increase very consistently with distance even in different tectonic regimes, typical velocities being 6.1 and 3.5 km/sec, respectively. These arrival-time parameters are easy to extract in a semi-automatic manner and are highly suitable for local epicenter determinations. Extensive tests on locating mining explosions were conducted, and on average, the “envelope” location errors relative to “true” locations were similar to those in bulletins that are based on conventional phase pickings. Occasionally, the Pg/Pn envelope may be very weak but can be replaced by the easily pickable (non-envelope) Pn phase. Additional advantages with envelope locations are transportability (not overly sensitive to details of crustal structure), and that envelope amplitudes can be directly converted to ground motion and magnitudes. For modern stations, envelopes can be formed in situ with low sampling rates of 1 to 2 Hz, thus greatly reducing transmission costs.

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