Journal Article

Propagation of the velocity model uncertainties to the seismic event location

A. Gesret, N. Desassis, M. Noble, T. Romary and C. Maisons

in Geophysical Journal International

Volume 200, issue 1, pages 52-66
ISSN: 0956-540X
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1365-246X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu374
Propagation of the velocity model uncertainties to the seismic event location

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Earthquake hypocentre locations are crucial in many domains of application (academic and industrial) as seismic event location maps are commonly used to delineate faults or fractures. The interpretation of these maps depends on location accuracy and on the reliability of the associated uncertainties. The largest contribution to location and uncertainty errors is due to the fact that the velocity model errors are usually not correctly taken into account. We propose a new Bayesian formulation that integrates properly the knowledge on the velocity model into the formulation of the probabilistic earthquake location. In this work, the velocity model uncertainties are first estimated with a Bayesian tomography of active shot data. We implement a sampling Monte Carlo type algorithm to generate velocity models distributed according to the posterior distribution. In a second step, we propagate the velocity model uncertainties to the seismic event location in a probabilistic framework. This enables to obtain more reliable hypocentre locations as well as their associated uncertainties accounting for picking and velocity model uncertainties. We illustrate the tomography results and the gain in accuracy of earthquake location for two synthetic examples and one real data case study in the context of induced microseismicity.

Keywords: Inverse theory; Probability distribution; Seismic tomography; Theoretical seismology

Journal Article.  7328 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geophysics

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