Abstract

A seismic network was operated in the vicinity of the Trail Mountain mine, central Utah, from the summer of 2000 to the spring of 2001 to investigate the seismic hazard to a local dam from mining-induced events that we expect to be triggered by future coal mining in this area. In support of efforts to develop ground-motion prediction relations for this situation, we inverted ground-motion recordings for six mining-induced events to determine seismic moment tensors and then to estimate moment magnitudes M for comparison with the network coda magnitudes Mc. Six components of the tensor were determined, for an assumed point source, following the inversion method of McGarr (1992a), which uses key measurements of amplitude from obvious features of the displacement waveforms. When the resulting moment tensors were decomposed into implosive and deviatoric components, we found that four of the six events showed a substantial volume reduction, presumably due to coseismic closure of the adjacent mine openings. For these four events, the volume reduction ranges from 27% to 55% of the shear component (fault area times average slip). Radiated seismic energy, computed from attenuation-corrected body-wave spectra, ranged from 2.4 × 105 to 2.4 × 106 J for events with M from 1.3 to 1.8, yielding apparent stresses from 0.02 to 0.06 MPa. The energy released for each event, approximated as the product of volume reduction and overburden stress, when compared with the corresponding seismic energies, revealed seismic efficiencies ranging from 0.5% to 7%. The low apparent stresses are consistent with the shallow focal depths of 0.2 to 0.6 km and rupture in a low stress/low strength regime compared with typical earthquake source regions at midcrustal depths.

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