Noise constraints on global body‐wave measurement thresholds

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By: , and 



Intermediate sized earthquakes (≈M4–6.5) are often measured using the teleseismic body‐wave magnitude (⁠mb⁠). mb measurements are especially critical at the lower end of this range when teleseismic waveform modeling techniques (i.e., moment tensor analysis) are difficult. The U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) determines the location and magnitude of all M 5 and greater earthquakes worldwide within 20 min of the rupture time, and therefore accurate mb magnitude estimates are essential to fulfill its mission. To better understand how network geometry and noise levels affect the global response capabilities, we developed a method to spatially estimate the minimum measurable mb⁠. To do this, we compare expected mb amplitudes at every station to the station’s background noise level. We find that using NEIC’s current network geometry and these idealized thresholds, NEIC can potentially estimate mb magnitudes down to M 4.5 globally. Low‐latitude regions in the Southern Hemisphere present the biggest opportunity to improve monitoring capabilities. However, logistically they also present the biggest hurdles for network operators. Finally, to test the resiliency of the network we removed the 20 most important stations and found the mb threshold remains mb 4.5. However, the region where only mb 4.5 and greater can be estimated increases and is again restricted to the Southern Hemisphere.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Noise constraints on global body‐wave measurement thresholds
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120230246
Edition Online First
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center - Seismology / Geomagnetism
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