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Durham e-Theses
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Afar, Ethiopia: a local seismic survey

Rigden, William G. (1981) Afar, Ethiopia: a local seismic survey. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



A network of four independently-recording seismic stations was operated by the University of Durham in South-Central Afar during 1973 and 1974. Each station consisted of a three-component set of seismometers, whose signals were recorded on to magnetic tape. This study concerns local earthquakes recorded from February to September, 1974.250 earthquakes were located from relative arrival times of P and S phases using an optimized, laterally homogeneous, 4-layer structural model. Upper crustal P-wave velocities are found to be 4.4±0.2 km s(^-1) (0 to 4.5 km depth) and 6.2± 0.1 km s(^-1) (4.5 to 11 km). Deeper structure is poorly constrained. Anomalous upper mantle exists, with low seismic velocity (Vp about 7.4 km s(^-1)) and raised Poisson's ratio (0.31). S(_n) is transmitted, 8.0 km s(^-1) upper mantle cannot exist above about 43 km depth. Earthquake focal depths within Afar do not exceed 5 km. Epicentres correlate well with Recent axial volcanism. Spatial epicentral patterns reflect intense regional NW-SE extensional faulting. One line of epicentres shows the NNE-SSW trend of the Main Ethiopian rift. Focal mechanisms are very poorly constrained, but are consistent with NW-SE strike-slip or normal faulting, or with NE-SW dextral transcurrent faulting. Signal duration magnitude and Richter local magnitude scales are defined for Afar, Frequency-magnitude b-coefficient values are 0.87+0.05, The three-component records are polarization filtered, a technique previously applied only to teleseisms. The performance of the filters is discussed. Azimuths and apparent angles of incidence of events are determined from their first arrivals at a single recording station. Hypocentres are then obtained by ray tracing. Earthquake frequency spectra are computed through the fast Fourier transform. The spectra are dominated by the effects of the superficial crust below the receivers. Crustal transfer ratios are discussed. Increased attenuation is demonstrated below the Tendaho graben. Seismic source parameters are calculated using BRUNE's (1970) method. All results are consistent with diffuse NE-SW crustal extension. It is concluded that well-defined spreading axes do not yet exist.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1981
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:59

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