Relocation of Eastern Tennessee Earthquakes Using hypoDD


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Virginia Tech


The double difference earthquake location algorithm, implemented in the program HYPODD, was used to relocate a data set of approximately 1000 earthquakes in the eastern Tennessee seismic zone (ETSZ), using a recently developed velocity model. The double difference algorithm is used to calculate accurate relative hypocenter locations by removing the effects of un-modeled velocity structure. The study examines the earthquake hypocenter relocations in an effort to resolve fault orientations and thereby gain insights into the tectonics of the seismic zone. The analysis involves visual comparison of three-dimensional perspective plots of the hypocenter relocations oriented according to focal mechanism nodal planes derived from events within several, dense clusters of earthquakes.

The northwestern boundary of the seismic zone corresponds to the steep magnetic gradient of the New York-Alabama lineament. The double-difference relocations reinforced previous interpretations of a vertical boundary between seismic and relatively aseismic crust at that location. Areas at the northeastern and southwestern ends of the ETSZ exhibit northwest trending hypocenter alignments, which are perpendicular to the overall northeastern trend of the seismic zone. These alignments agree with focal mechanism nodal plane orientations and are interpreted as seismogenic faults. In the central, most seismically active portion of the ETSZ, relocations appear to indicate a diffuse zone of hypocenters that are west-striking and north-dipping. The orientation of this zone of earthquake hypocenters is consistent with an existing seismic reflection profile that images mid to upper crustal reflectors with apparent dips of approximately 35 degrees to the north.

The interpreted fault planes are all consistent with an east-northeast oriented, sub-horizontal maximum regional compressive stress, consistent with findings in previous studies.



Hypocenter Relocations, Eastern Tenneessee Seismic Zone, Earthquakes