Abstract

The 2002 Denali fault, Alaska, earthquake (Mw 7.9) caused one or more components of most broadband seismometers in western Canada to clip, yet did not trigger strong-motion instruments, thus leaving a substantial gap in the seismic record of this event. However, the large-amplitude surface waves generated by this event were well recorded by the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the same region, out to epicentral distances of more than 3000 km. In this article, we explore the capabilities of GPS seismology, specifically how the relative strengths of GPS and seismic data sets can be exploited in order to more effectively study earthquake source characteristics and wave-propagation effects. High-rate (1-Hz) GPS data from 23 stations throughout western North America have been analyzed to derive displacement waveforms for this event, and the impact of instrumentation (GPS receiver model) and error-reduction strategy (modified sidereal and spatial filtering) on the noise characteristics of displacement time series at each GPS site was assessed. After applying error-reduction methods to GPS displacements, the final average noise floors of 0.5 cm in the horizontal and 1.5 cm in the vertical indicate that large dynamic displacements are observable by GPS. We validate the GPS displacements by comparing broadband seismic recordings (integrated to displacement) with GPS recordings for four effectively colocated sets of instruments. We show excellent agreement between the unclipped seismic and GPS recordings of the surface waves from the Denali earthquake over the period range of 10–50 sec and for ground displacements exceeding about 1.0 cm. Thus, a large GPS displacement data set is now available for western North America, an area where records of this event were previously missing or incomplete. The final GPS seismograms are archived at Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) for public use in future studies of the 2002 Denali earthquake.

You do not currently have access to this article.