Time-lapse imaging of fault properties at seismogenic depth using repeating earthquakes, active sources and seismic ambient noise
Doctor of Philosophy
The time-varying stress field of fault systems at seismogenic depths plays the mort important role in controlling the sequencing and nucleation of seismic events. Using seismic observations from repeating earthquakes, controlled active sources and seismic ambient noise, five studies at four different fault systems across North America, Central Japan, North and mid-West China are presented to describe our efforts to measure such time dependent structural properties. Repeating and similar earthquakes are hunted and analyzed to study the post-seismic fault relaxation at the aftershock zone of the 1984 M 6.8 western Nagano and the 1976 M 7.8 Tangshan earthquakes. The lack of observed repeating earthquakes at western Nagano is attributed to the absence of a well developed weak fault zone, suggesting that the fault damage zone has been almost completely healed. In contrast, the high percentage of similar and repeating events found at Tangshan suggest the existence of mature fault zones characterized by stable creep under steady tectonic loading. At the Parkfield region of the San Andreas Fault, repeating earthquake clusters and chemical explosions are used to construct a scatterer migration image based on the observation of systematic temporal variations in the seismic waveforms across the occurrence time of the 2004 M 6 Parkfield earthquake. Coseismic fluid charge or discharge in fractures caused by the Parkfield earthquake is used to explain the observed seismic scattering properties change at depth. In the same region, a controlled source cross-well experiment conducted at SAFOD pilot and main holes documents two large excursions in the travel time required for a shear wave to travel through the rock along a fixed pathway shortly before two rupture events, suggesting that they may be related to pre-rupture stress induced changes in crack properties. At central China, a tomographic inversion based on the theory of seismic ambient noise and coda wave interferometry clearly reveals a coseismic velocity decrease region with the strike and length strikingly matching the fault zone of the 2008 M 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake at depth. We speculate the imaged decrease velocity region resulted from decreased crustal stress around the fault zone at upper crust.