Type of publication
Article in journal
Year of publication
Frontiers in Earth Science

Marisol Monterrubio-Velasco, Jose C. Carrasco-Jimenez, Otilio Rojas, Juan E. Rodríguez, Andreas Fichtner and Josep De la Puente


Monterrubio-Velasco Marisol, Carrasco-Jimenez Jose C., Rojas Otilio, Rodríguez Juan E., Fichtner Andreas, Puente Josep De la. A Statistical Approach Towards Fast Estimates of Moderate-To-Large Earthquake Focal Mechanisms. Frontiers in Earth Science. Vol.10, 2022. https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/feart.2022.743860     

Short summary
Emerging high-performance computing systems, combined with increasingly detailed 3-D Earth models and physically consistent numerical wave propagation solvers, are opening up new opportunities for urgent seismic computing. This may help, for instance, to guide emergency response teams in the wake of large earthquakes. A key component of urgent seismic computing is the early availability of source mechanism estimates, well before conventional and time-consuming moment tensor inversions are carried out and published. Here, we introduce a methodology that rapidly estimates focal mechanisms (FM) for moderate and large earthquakes (Mw > 4.0) by means of statistical and clustering algorithms. The fundamental rationale behind the method is that events of a certain size tend to be similar to other events of similar size in similar locations. In this work, two different strategies are used to provide different FM solutions: the first is based only in spatial considerations including statistical analysis, and the other one is based on a data clustering algorithm. We exemplify our methodology with six different subsets of the open-access Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) catalog. Specifically, our study datasets include events from Japan, New Zealand, California, Mexico, Iceland, and Italy, which represent six seismically active regions, with a large FM variability. Our results show a 70–85% agreement between our fast FM estimates and inversion results, depending on the particular tectonic region, dataset size, and magnitude threshold. In addition, our FM estimation strategies only spend few seconds for processing, since they are totally independent of seismic record retrieval and inversion. Albeit not meant to be a substitute for CMT inversions, our methodologies can bridge the time gap between earthquake detection and FM inversion.