earthquake location errors
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract It is usually assumed that earthquakes in intraplate regions occur in the upper crust, and northwestern Italy is generally assigned to this kind of ‘normal’ seismicity. In this work, the depth distribution of the events localized in this area by the Istituto Geofisico Geodetico (IGG) seismic network in the period 1991–1997 is analyzed in detail. In particular, the location capability of the network is discussed, adopting as reference quarry blasts (for the epicentral position) and the locations obtained from a dense temporary network (for the depth estimate). Within the so-obtained error limits, the depth distribution of events show a characteristic pattern: while for most of the area covered by the network the well-located seismicity lies within the first 20 km of depth, in a band following the inner arc of the Western Alps, numerous events have anomalously large focal depths, reaching a maximum of 114 km. These depth determinations cannot be attributed to instabilities of the location procedure: different choices of the propagation models used for the hypocentral determination led to very similar depth values, always significantly larger than the standard values for the surrounding areas. A strong correlation has been found between the 3-dimensional distribution of these foci and the P-wave propagation anomalies obtained from tomographic studies, suggesting a direct link between elastic and rheological properties of lower crust and upper mantle in this area.
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