Comprehensive study of seismic waveform similarity: applications to reliable identification of repeating earthquakes and investigations of detailed source process of induced seismicity




Gao, Dawei

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This Ph.D. dissertation focuses on a comprehensive study of seismic waveform similarity aiming at two themes: (1) reliable identification of repeating earthquakes (repeaters) and (2) investigation of the detailed source process of induced seismicity through the three-dimensional spatiotemporal evolution of mainly neighbouring earthquakes. Theme 1: Reliable identification of repeaters. Repeaters, occurring repeatedly on the same fault patch with nearly identical waveforms, are usually identified with the match-filtering (MF) method which essentially measures the degree of waveform similarity between an earthquake pair through the corresponding cross-correlation coefficient (CC). However, the performance of the MF method can be severely affected by the length of the cross‐correlation window, the frequency band of the applied digital filter, and the presence of a large‐amplitude wave train. To optimize the performance of MF, I first examine the effects of different operational parameters and determine generic rules for selecting the window length and the optimal frequency passband. To minimize the impact of a large‐amplitude wave train, I then develop a new method, named the match-filtering with multisegment cross-correlation (MFMC) method. By equally incorporating the contributions from various segments of the waveforms, the new method is much more effective in capturing the minor waveform discrepancy between an event pair due to location difference and hence is more reliable in detecting potential repeaters and discriminating non-repeaters with large inter-event separation. With both synthetic and borehole array waveform data, I further reveal that waveform similarity is controlled by not only the inter-event separation but also many other factors, including station azimuth, epicentral distance, velocity structure, etc. Therefore, in contrast to the traditional view, the results indicate that waveform similarity alone is insufficient to unambiguously identify true repeaters. For reliable repeater identification, we should rely on a physics-based approach considering both the overlapped source area and magnitude difference. Specifically, I define an event pair to be true repeaters if their inter-event separation is smaller than the rupture radius of the larger event and their magnitude difference is no more than 1. For the precise estimation of inter-event distance in cases of limited data, I develop the differential traveltime double-difference (DTDD) method which relies on the relative S-P differential traveltime. The findings of this study imply that previously identified repeaters and their interpretations/hypotheses potentially can be biased and hence may need a systematic reexamination. Theme 2: Investigation of the detailed source process of induced seismicity. Earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing (HF), especially those with large magnitudes, are often observed to have occurred near/after well completion. The delayed triggering of induced seismicity with respect to injection commencement poses serious challenges for risk mitigation and hazard assessment. By performing waveform cross-correlation and hierarchical clustering analysis, I reveal a high-resolution three-dimensional source migration process with mainshock delayed triggering that is probably controlled by local hydrogeological conditions. The results suggest that poroelastic effects might contribute to induced seismicity but are likely insufficient to activate a non-critically stressed fault of sufficient size. My analysis shows that the rapid pore-pressure build-up from HF can be very localized and capable of producing large, felt earthquakes on non-critically stressed fault segments. I further infer that the number of critically stressed, large intraplate faults should be very limited, and that reactivation of such faults may require sufficient pore-pressure accumulation. The findings of this study may also explain why so few fluid injections are seismogenic.



Waveform Similarity, Repeating Earthquakes, Induced Seismicity, Match filtering, Differential traveltime double-difference (DTDD), Multisegment cross-correlation, Hydraulic fracturing, Delayed triggering