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Comparing EGF Methods for Estimating Corner Frequency and Stress Drop from P-wave Spectra

Peter M. Shearer, Rachel E. Abercrombie, Daniel T. Trugman, & Wei Wang

Accepted October 30, 2018, SCEC Contribution #8916

Empirical Green's functions (EGF) are widely applied to correct earthquake spectra for attenuation in order to estimate corner frequencies and stress drops, but these source parameter estimates often exhibit poor agreement between different studies. We examine this issue by analyzing a compact cluster of over 3000 aftershocks of the 1992 Landers earthquake. We then apply and compare two different analysis and modeling methods: (1) the spectral decomposition and global EGF fitting approach, and (2) the more traditional EGF method of modeling spectral ratios. We find that spectral decomposition yields event terms that are consistent with stacks of spectral ratios for individual events, but source-parameter estimates nonetheless vary between the methods. The main source of differences comes from the modeling approach used to estimate the EGF. The global EGF-fitting approach suffers from parameter tradeoffs among the absolute stress drop, the stress-drop scaling with moment, and the high-frequency falloff rate, but has the advantage that the relative spectral shapes and stress drops among the different events in the cluster are well-resolved even if their absolute levels are not. The spectral-ratio approach solves for a different EGF for each target event without imposing any constraint on the corner frequency, fc, of the smaller events, and so can produce biased results for target-event fc. Placing constraints on the small-event fc improves the performance of the spectral-ratio method and enables the two methods to yield very similar results.

Shearer, P. M., Abercrombie, R. E., Trugman, D. T., & Wang, W. (2018). Comparing EGF Methods for Estimating Corner Frequency and Stress Drop from P-wave Spectra. Journal of Geophysical Research, (accepted).

Related Projects & Working Groups
Testing and Reconciling Stress Drop and Attenuation Models for Southern California