ABSTRACT

We propose a new frequency‐domain‐based algorithm for detecting small‐magnitude seismic events using dense surface seismic arrays. Our proposed method takes advantage of the high energy carried by S waves, and approximate known source locations, which are used to rotate the horizontal components to obtain the maximum amplitude. By surrounding the known source area with surface geophones, we achieve a favorable geometry for locating the detected seismic events with the backprojection method. To test our new detection method, we used a dense circular array, consisting of 151 5 Hz three‐component geophones, over a 5 km aperture that was in operation at the Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) in southcentral Utah. We apply the new detection method during a small‐scale test injection phase at FORGE, and during an aftershock sequence of an Mw 4.1 earthquake located 30  km north of the geophone array, within the Black Rock volcanic field. We are able to detect and locate microseismic events (Mw<0) during injections, despite the high level of anthropogenic activity, and several aftershocks that are missing from the regional catalog. By comparing our method with known algorithms that operate both in the time and frequency domain, we show that our proposed method performs better in the case of the FORGE injection monitoring, and equally well for the off‐array aftershock sequence. Our new method has the potential to improve microseismic event detections even in extremely noisy environments, and the proposed location scheme serves as a direct discriminant between true and false detections.

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