Abstract

This article presents the estimation of stress drops for small to middle-sized intraplate earthquakes in the northeastern United States. The vertical-component Sg and Lg waves of 49 earthquakes were analyzed, and their seismic corner frequencies and seismic moments were determined. For these events, both short-period and broadband records were obtained from stations in the region. There are eight events each of which has an aftershock good enough to be treated as its empirical Green's function, and their corner frequencies were estimated from empirical Green's function methods. For the other events, the corner frequencies were directly estimated by the spectral fitting of the vertical component of the Sg- or Lg-wave displacement spectrum with the ω-square source spectral model, using the available broadband and high-frequency short-period data and a frequency-dependent Q correction. The static stress drops, Δσ, were then calculated from the corner frequency and seismic moment.

From our study, the source corner frequencies estimated by fitting the Lg displacement spectrum with the assumed ω-square source model are more consistent with the corner frequencies measured from empirical Green's function deconvolution method than those estimated from the intersection of horizontal low-frequency spectral asymptote and a line indicating the ω−2 decay above the corner frequency. The source corner frequencies we estimated proved to be most appropriate for the small to middle-sized earthquakes. The static stress drops calculated from these corner-frequency estimates tend to be independent of seismic moment for events above a certain size. For earthquakes with size less than about 2 × 1020 dyne-cm, the stress drop tends to decrease with decreasing moment, suggesting a breakdown in self-similarity below a threshold magnitude. A characteristic rupture size of about 100 m is implied for these smaller earthquakes.

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