ABSTRACT

Strainmeters measure elastodynamic deformation associated with earthquakes over a broad frequency band, with detection characteristics that complement traditional instrumentation, but they are commonly used to study slow transient deformation along active faults and at subduction zones, for example. Here, we analyze dynamic strains at Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) borehole strainmeters (BSM) associated with 146 local and regional earthquakes from 2004–2014, with magnitudes from M 4.5 to 7.2. We find that peak values in seismic strain can be predicted from a general regression against distance and magnitude, with improvements in accuracy gained by accounting for biases associated with site–station effects and source–path effects, the latter exhibiting the strongest influence on the regression coefficients. To account for the influence of these biases in a general way, we include crustal‐type classifications from the CRUST1.0 global velocity model, which demonstrates that high‐frequency strain data from the PBO BSM network carry information on crustal structure and fault mechanics: earthquakes nucleating offshore on the Blanco fracture zone, for example, generate consistently lower dynamic strains than earthquakes around the Sierra Nevada microplate and in the Salton trough. Finally, we test our dynamic strain prediction equations on the 2011 M 9 Tohoku‐Oki earthquake, specifically continuous strain records derived from triangulation of 137 high‐rate Global Navigation Satellite System Earth Observation Network stations in Japan. Moment magnitudes inferred from these data and the strain model are in agreement when Global Positioning System subnetworks are unaffected by spatial aliasing.

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