Path Corrections for Source Discriminants: A Case Study at Two International Seismic Monitoring Stations
- Improving the performance of short-period regional seismic discriminants by applying propagation corrections is explored using observations from two seismic monitoring stations in Asia. Frequency-dependent regional phase amplitude ratio measurements at stations NIL and ZAL for earthquakes and underground nuclear explosions were obtained from the prototype-International Data Center (pIDC) that has been established for developing monitoring capabilities of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The pIDC discriminant measurements have large scatter, much of which is attributed to wave propagation effects in the heterogeneous crustal waveguide. Linear regressions indicate that the phase ratios are correlated with topographic characteristics along the individual paths, providing an empirical means for correcting for path effects beyond conventional distance corrections. Kriging, a spatial multiple regression algorithm, also reveals coherent spatial patterns in the data indicative of regional path effects. Using available high-resolution topography data, correction of regional P/S ratios for the best models obtained from multivariate regressions systematically reduces the data variance relative to distance corrections alone, as has been observed for other data sets. The reduced scatter in the measurements increases the separation between earthquake and explosion populations in most cases, enhancing the regional discriminant performance. The path-corrected discriminants isolate explosions better for NIL than for ZAL, even though some of the explosion sources are located in a common source area. Kriging achieves comparable or superior variance reduction for the discriminant measures, without requiring knowledge of the path structure, although this may not result in improved discriminant performance. While always desirable, corrections for heterogeneous path effects may prove inadequate in some cases, notably when phase blockage occurs or when strong attenuation eliminates the diagnostic high-frequency energy.