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Modelling of sPn phases for reliable estimation of focal depths in northeastern India

Devi, EU and Rao, NP and Kumar, MR (2009) Modelling of sPn phases for reliable estimation of focal depths in northeastern India. Current Science, 96 (9). pp. 1251-1255. ISSN 0011-3891

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In North East India, reliable estimation of earthquake focal depths has always been a problem, owing to paucity of permanent regional seismic stations, constraints on good quality data and lack of crustal models in a complex tectonic terrane. The depth estimations by international agencies, mostly based on teleseismic data, vary from very shallow to even 60 km, suggestive of earthquake occurrence in the upper mantle region. However, modelling of sPn phases in earthquake waveforms that are highly sensitive to focal depths indicates that the earthquake locations are probably well within the crustal layer. The current method has the advantage that dt, the travel time difference between sPn and Pn, remains constant for a wide range of source-station distances, and hence enables easy identification of the sPn phase, while providing direct and accurate estimate of the focal depth. The approach is also insensitive to location errors and variations in crustal models, a useful feature especially while dealing with sparse data with high location errors. In the present study, earthquakes in the magnitude range 3.0-4.0 recorded by a network of nine broadband stations in NE India have been analysed. Consistent dt values at different stations were observed for each event, enabling precise depth estimation mostly within ±1 or 2 km. In general, depths of 15-20 km in the Shillong plateau region, >20 km in the Sylhet basin region and shallow <10 km in the eastern Himalayan foothills are confirmed, that correlate well with the local tectonics. Further, we propose that the flat characteristics of the dt curve that begin to change for earthquakes below the Moho, can be a potential tool for discriminating between crustal and sub-crustal earthquakes, as well as for delineation of the Moho using dense regional seismic networks in future.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crustal models; Earthquakes; Focal depth; Reliable estimation; sPn phase
Subjects: Oceanography > oceanography
Depositing User: INCOIS Library
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2013 08:26
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2013 08:26

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