An automatically generated high-resolution earthquake catalogue for the 2016–2017 Central Italy seismic sequence, including P and S phase arrival times

Spallarossa, D.; Cattaneo, M.; Scafidi, D.; Michele, M.; Chiaraluce, L.; Segou, M.; Main, I.G.. 2021 An automatically generated high-resolution earthquake catalogue for the 2016–2017 Central Italy seismic sequence, including P and S phase arrival times. Geophysical Journal International, 225 (1). 555-571.

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The 2016–2017 central Italy earthquake sequence began with the first main shock near the town of Amatrice on August 24 (Mw 6.0), and was followed by two subsequent large events near Visso on October 26 (Mw 5.9) and Norcia on October 30 (Mw 6.5), plus a cluster of four events with Mw > 5.0 within few hours on 18 January 2017. The affected area had been monitored before the sequence started by the permanent Italian National Seismic Network (RSNC), and was enhanced during the sequence by temporary stations deployed by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology and the British Geological Survey. By the middle of September, there was a dense network of 155 stations, with a mean separation in the epicentral area of 6–10 km, comparable to the most likely earthquake depth range in the region. This network configuration was kept stable for an entire year, producing 2.5 TB of continuous waveform recordings. Here we describe how this data was used to develop a large and comprehensive earthquake catalogue using the Complete Automatic Seismic Processor (CASP) procedure. This procedure detected more than 450 000 events in the year following the first main shock, and determined their phase arrival times through an advanced picker engine (RSNI-Picker2), producing a set of about 7 million P- and 10 million S-wave arrival times. These were then used to locate the events using a non-linear location (NLL) algorithm, a 1-D velocity model calibrated for the area, and station corrections and then to compute their local magnitudes (ML). The procedure was validated by comparison of the derived data for phase picks and earthquake parameters with a handpicked reference catalogue (hereinafter referred to as ‘RefCat’). The automated procedure takes less than 12 hr on an Intel Core-i7 workstation to analyse the primary waveform data and to detect and locate 3000 events on the most seismically active day of the sequence. This proves the concept that the CASP algorithm can provide effectively real-time data for input into daily operational earthquake forecasts, The results show that there have been significant improvements compared to RefCat obtained in the same period using manual phase picks. The number of detected and located events is higher (from 84 401 to 450 000), the magnitude of completeness is lower (from ML 1.4 to 0.6), and also the number of phase picks is greater with an average number of 72 picked arrival for a ML = 1.4 compared with 30 phases for RefCat using manual phase picking. These propagate into formal uncertainties of ±0.9 km in epicentral location and ±1.5 km in depth for the enhanced catalogue for the vast majority of the events. Together, these provide a significant improvement in the resolution of fine structures such as local planar structures and clusters, in particular the identification of shallow events occurring in parts of the crust previously thought to be inactive. The lower completeness magnitude provides a rich data set for development and testing of analysis techniques of seismic sequences evolution, including real-time, operational monitoring of b-value, time-dependent hazard evaluation and aftershock forecasting.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0956-540X
Date made live: 28 Jun 2021 11:53 +0 (UTC)

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