2003/05/29 22:52:14 38.26N 117.90W 8 4.0 Nevada

Arrival Times (from USGS)

Arrival time list

Felt Map

USGS Felt map for this earthquake

USGS Felt reports page for Intermountain Western US

Focal Mechanism

The focal mechanism was determined using broadband seismic waveforms. The location of the event and the station distribution are given in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Location of broadband stations used to obtain focal mechanism

Preferred Solution

The preferred solution from an analysis of the surface-wave spectral amplitude radiation pattern, waveform inversion and first motion observations is

      STK = 270
      DIP = 85
     RAKE = -15
       MW = 3.82
       HS = 11

Both techniques yield the same solution.

Waveform Inversion

The program wvfgrd96 was used with good traces observed at short distance to determine the focal mechanism, depth and seismic moment. This technique requires a high quality signal and well determined velocity model for the Green functions. To the extent that these are the quality data, this type of mechanism should be preferred over the radiation pattern technique which requires the separate step of defining the pressure and tension quadrants and the correct strike.

The observed and predicted traces are filtered using the following gsac commands:

hp c 0.03 3
lp c 0.10 3
The results of this grid search from 0.5 to 19 km depth are as follow:

           DEPTH  STK   DIP  RAKE   MW    FIT
WVFGRD96    0.5   270    85    25   3.39 0.3119
WVFGRD96    1.0   275    70    25   3.45 0.3482
WVFGRD96    2.0   275    65    30   3.61 0.4637
WVFGRD96    3.0   275    65    25   3.63 0.5761
WVFGRD96    4.0   270    80    20   3.65 0.6524
WVFGRD96    5.0   270    75    10   3.67 0.6999
WVFGRD96    6.0    90    90    10   3.75 0.7413
WVFGRD96    7.0   270    90   -10   3.77 0.7855
WVFGRD96    8.0   265    80   -25   3.80 0.8155
WVFGRD96    9.0   270    85   -20   3.81 0.8338
WVFGRD96   10.0   270    85   -15   3.81 0.8444
WVFGRD96   11.0   270    85   -15   3.82 0.8480
WVFGRD96   12.0   270    80   -20   3.83 0.8467
WVFGRD96   13.0   270    80   -20   3.85 0.8407
WVFGRD96   14.0   270    80   -15   3.84 0.8278
WVFGRD96   15.0   270    75   -20   3.85 0.8172
WVFGRD96   16.0   270    75   -20   3.87 0.7964
WVFGRD96   17.0   270    80   -10   3.87 0.7799
WVFGRD96   18.0   265    75   -10   3.87 0.7615
WVFGRD96   19.0   265    70   -10   3.86 0.7444

The best solution is

WVFGRD96   11.0   270    85   -15   3.82 0.8480

The mechanism correspond to the best fit is
Figure 1. Waveform inversion focal mechanism

The best fit as a function of depth is given in the following figure:

Figure 2. Depth sensitivity for waveform mechanism

The comparison of the observed and predicted waveforms is given in the next figure. The red traces are the observed and the blue are the predicted. Each observed-predicted componnet is plotted to the same scale and peak amplitudes are indicated by the numbers to the left of each trace. The number in black at the rightr of each predicted traces it the time shift required for maximum correlation between the observed and predicted traces. This time shift is required because the synthetics are not computed at exactly the same distance as the observed and because the velocity model used in the predictions may not be perfect. A positive time shift indicates that the prediction is too fast and should be delayed to match the observed trace (shift to the right in this figure). A negative value indicates that the prediction is too slow. The bandpass filter used in the processing and for the display was

hp c 0.03 3
lp c 0.10 3
Figure 3. Waveform comparison for depth of 8 km
Focal mechanism sensitivity at the preferred depth. The red color indicates a very good fit to thewavefroms. Each solution is plotted as a vector at a given value of strike and dip with the angle of the vector representing the rake angle, measured, with respect to the upward vertical (N) in the figure.

Surface-Wave Focal Mechanism


  STK=      94.99
  DIP=      84.99
 RAKE=      19.99
  STK=       3.18
  DIP=      70.09
 RAKE=     174.68
DEPTH = 11.0 km
Mw = 3.85
Best Fit 0.8753 - P-T axis plot gives solutions with FIT greater than FIT90

First motion data

The P-wave first motion data for focal mechanism studies are as follow:

Sta Az(deg)    Dist(km)   First motion
MNV       311   29 iP_C
TIN       192  137 eP_-
CMB       264  219 eP_X

Surface-wave analysis

Surface wave analysis was performed using codes from Computer Programs in Seismology, specifically the multiple filter analysis program do_mft and the surface-wave radiation pattern search program srfgrd96.

The velocity model used for the search is a modified Utah model .

Data preparation

Digital data were collected, instrument response removed and traces converted to Z, R an T components. Multiple filter analysis was applied to the Z and T traces to obtain the Rayleigh- and Love-wave spectral amplitudes, respectively. These were input to the search program which examined all depths between 1 and 25 km and all possible mechanisms.
Best mechanism fit as a function of depth. The preferred depth is given above. Lower hemisphere projection

Pressure-tension axis trends. Since the surface-wave spectra search does not distinguish between P and T axes and since there is a 180 ambiguity in strike, all possible P and T axes are plotted. First motion data and waveforms will be used to select the preferred mechanism. The purpose of this plot is to provide an idea of the possible range of solutions. The P and T-axes for all mechanisms with goodness of fit greater than 0.9 FITMAX (above) are plotted here.

Focal mechanism sensitivity at the preferred depth. The red color indicates a very good fit to the Love and Rayleigh wave radiation patterns. Each solution is plotted as a vector at a given value of strike and dip with the angle of the vector representing the rake angle, measured, with respect to the upward vertical (N) in the figure. Because of the symmetry of the spectral amplitude rediation patterns, only strikes from 0-180 degrees are sampled.

Love-wave radiation patterns

Rayleigh-wave radiation patterns

Broadband station distributiuon

Sta Az(deg)    Dist(km)   
MLAC	  230	  108
TIN	  192	  137
CWC	  185	  203
TPNV	  134	  206
CMB	  264	  219
ISA	  190	  293
GSC	  163	  343
ELK	   39	  359
SCZ	  240	  361
OSI	  191	  411
MWC	  182	  448
MOD	  334	  453
SBC	  202	  454
PAS	  183	  457
DAN	  150	  461
TOV	  191	  463
DJJ	  186	  464
USC	  184	  472
WDC	  304	  475
NEE	  141	  482
DUG	   62	  489
RPV	  185	  503
KNW	  168	  516
DGR	  171	  518
RDM	  169	  522
CRY	  168	  531
WMC	  168	  532
SND	  167	  535
BZN	  168	  541
CIA	  185	  541
FRD	  167	  542
TRO	  165	  542
PLM	  170	  552
LVA2	  167	  558
YBH	  315	  563
SNCC	  195	  575
YAQ	  166	  582
JCS	  168	  586
MONP	  167	  610
BAR	  169	  629
GLA	  153	  641
WUAZ	  116	  656
HWUT	   54	  657
HLID	   25	  658
PIN	  339	  665
DBO	  322	  704
NE71	  165	  751
AHID	   47	  763
NE72	  168	  839
BW06	   52	  866
HAWA	  352	  914
TUC	  134	  924
LKWY	   39	  939
LON	  342	  996
SDCO	   89	 1090
TTW	  345	 1093
GNW	  340	 1109

Waveform comparison for this mechanism

Since the analysis of the surface-wave radiation patterns uses only spectral amplitudes and because the surfave-wave radiation patterns have a 180 degree symmetry, each surface-wave solution consists of four possible focal mechanisms corresponding to the interchange of the P- and T-axes and a roation of the mechanism by 180 degrees. To select one mechanism, P-wave first motion can be used. This was not possible in this case because all the P-wave first motions were emergent ( a feature of the P-wave wave takeoff angle, the station location and the mechanism). The other way to select among the mechanisms is to compute forward synthetics and compare the observed and predicted waveforms.

The velocity model used for the waveform fit is a modified Utah model .

The fits to the waveforms with the given mechanism are show below:

This figure shows the fit to the three components of motion (Z - vertical, R-radial and T - transverse). For each station and component, the observed traces is shown in red and the model predicted trace in blue. The traces represent filtered ground velocity in units of meters/sec (the peak value is printed adjacent to each trace; each pair of traces to plotted to the same scale to emphasize the difference in levels). Both synthetic and observed traces have been filtered using the SAC commands:

hp c 0.03 3
lp c 0.10 3


The Future

Should the national backbone of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) be implemented with an interstation separation of 300 km, it is very likely that an earthquake such as this would have been recorded at distances on the order of 100-200 km. This means that the closest station would have information on source depth and mechanism that was lacking here.


Dr. Harley Benz, USGS, provided the USGS USNSN digital data.

Appendix A

The figures below show the observed spectral amplitudes (units of cm-sec) at each station and the theoretical predictions as a function of period for the mechanism given above. The modified Utah model earth model was used to define the Green's functions. For each station, the Love and Rayleigh wave spectrail amplitudes are plotted with the same scaling so that one can get a sense fo the effects of the effects of the focal mechanism and depth on the excitation of each.

Quality Control

Here we tabulate the reasons for not using certain digital data sets

The following stations did not have a valid response files:

Last Changed Sat Jun 18 09:49:48 CDT 2005