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Published April 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Development of a Time-Domain, Variable-Period Surface-Wave Magnitude Measurement Procedure for Application at Regional and Teleseismic Distances, Part II: Application and M_s-m_b Performance


The Russell surface-wave magnitude formula, developed in Part I of this two-part article, and the M_s(VMAX) measurement technique, discussed in this article, provide a new method for estimating variable-period surface-wave magnitudes at regional and teleseismic distances. The M_s(VMAX) measurement method consists of applying Butterworth bandpass filters to data at center periods between 8 and 25 sec. The filters are designed to help remove the effects of nondispersed Airy phases at regional and teleseismic distances. We search for the maximum amplitude in all of the variable-period bands and then use the Russell formula to calculate a surface-wave magnitude. In this companion article, we demonstrate the capabilities of the method by using applications to three different datasets. The first application utilizes a dataset that consists of large earthquakes in the Mediterranean region. The results indicate that the M_s(VMAX) technique provides regional and teleseismic surface-wave magnitude estimates that are in general agreement except for a small distance dependence of −0.002 magnitude units per degree. We also find that the M_s(VMAX) estimates are less than 0.1 magnitude unit different than those from other formulas applied at teleseismic distances such as Rezapour and Pearce (1998) and Vanĕk et al. (1962). In the second and third applications of the method, we demonstrate that measurements of M_s(VMAX) versus m_b provide adequate separation of the explosion and earthquake populations at the Nevada and Lop Nor Test Sites. At the Nevada Test Site, our technique resulted in the misclassification of two earthquakes in the explosion population. We also determined that the new technique reduces the scatter in the magnitude estimates by 25% when compared with our previous studies using a calibrated regional magnitude formula. For the Lop Nor Test Site, we had no misclassified explosions or earthquakes; however, the data were less comprehensive. A preliminary analysis of Eurasian earthquake and explosion data suggest that similar slopes are obtained for observed M_s(VMAX) versus m_b data with m_b <5. Thus the data are not converging at lower magnitudes. These results suggest that the discrimination of explosions from earthquakes can be achieved at lower magnitudes using the Russell (2006) formula and the M_s(VMAX) measurement technique.

Additional Information

© 2006 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 21 March 2005. The data used in this study come from a variety of sources. We thank the following organizations for providing access to their data: the Geological Survey of Canada; Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris; GFZ Potsdam, Germany; U.S. Geological Survey, National Science Foundation, University of California, San Francisco; California Institute of Technology; Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory; and Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy. We are also indebted to Howard Patton for his assistance in the LNN database acquisition and his comments concerning various aspects of the research. We also thank Bill Walter and Marv Denny for help in acquiring the MNV dataset (Denny, 1998). We are grateful to Mark Leidig and Ileana Tibuleac, who helped with database preparation, and to Jack Murphy, Heather Hooper, and James Lewkowicz for insightful discussions about the article and research. Karl Veith and an anonymous reviewer helped improve the article during the review process. We thank the developers of the Generic Mapping Tools software (Wessel and Smith, 1998), Computer Programs in Seismology (Herrmann, 2004), and Matlab, all of which were used to generate and present the results of our research. We are also grateful to Harvard University for making their CMT estimates readily available. This research was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency under Contract DTRA01-01-C-0080.

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