The University of Utah Seismograph Stations (uuss) earthquake catalogs for the Utah and Yellowstone National Park regions contain two types of size measurements: local magnitude (ML) and coda magnitude (MC), which is calibrated against ML. From 1962 through 1993, uuss calculated ML values for southern and central Intermountain Seismic Belt earthquakes using maximum peak-to-peak (p-p) amplitudes on paper records from one to five Wood–Anderson (W-A) seismographs in Utah. For ML determinations of earthquakes since 1994, uuss has utilized synthetic W-A seismograms from U.S. National Seismic Network and uuss broadband digital telemetry stations in the region, which numbered 23 by the end of our study period on 30 June 2002. This change has greatly increased the percentage of earthquakes for which ML can be determined. It is now possible to determine ML for all M ≥3 earthquakes in the Utah and Yellowstone regions and earthquakes as small as M <1 in some areas.
To maintain continuity in the magnitudes in the uuss earthquake catalogs, we determined empirical ML station corrections that minimize differences between MLs calculated from paper and synthetic W-A records. Application of these station corrections, in combination with distance corrections from Richter (1958) which have been in use at uuss since 1962, produces ML values that do not show any significant distance dependence. ML determinations for the Utah and Yellowstone regions for 1981–2002 using our station corrections and Richter’s distance corrections have provided a reliable data set for recalibrating the MC scales for these regions. Our revised ML values are consistent with available moment magnitude determinations for Intermountain Seismic Belt earthquakes.
To facilitate automatic ML measurements, we analyzed the distribution of the times of maximum p-p amplitudes in synthetic W-A records. A 30-sec time window for maximum amplitudes, beginning 5 sec before the predicted Sg time, encompasses 95% of the maximum p-p amplitudes. In our judgment, this time window represents a good compromise between maximizing the chances of capturing the maximum amplitude and minimizing the risk of including other seismic events.