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Sources of long-range anthropogenic noise in Southern California and implications for tectonic tremor detection

TitleSources of long-range anthropogenic noise in Southern California and implications for tectonic tremor detection
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsInbal A., Cristea-Platon T., Ampuero J.P, Hillers G., Agnew D., Hough S.E
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Date Published2018/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0037-1106
Accession NumberWOS:000450773300025
KeywordsAnza; array; earthquake; field; Geochemistry & Geophysics; interferometry; non-volcanic tremor; san-jacinto fault; sediments; seismic events; zone

We study anthropogenic noise sources seen on seismic recordings along the central section of the San Jacinto fault near Anza, southern California. The strongest signals are caused by freight trains passing through the Coachella Valley north of Anza. Train-induced transients are observed at distances of up to 50 km from the railway, with durations of up to 20 min, and spectra that are peaked between 3 and 5 Hz. Additionally, truck traffic through the Coachella Valley generates a sustained hum with a similar spectral signature as the train transients but with lower amplitude. We also find that wind turbine activity in northern Baja California introduces a seasonal modulation of 1- to 5-Hz energy across the Anza network. We show that the observed train-generated transients can be used to constrain shallow attenuation structure at Anza. Using the results from this study as well as available borehole data, we further evaluate the performance of approaches that have been used to detect nonvolcanic tremor at Anza. We conclude that signals previously identified as spontaneous tremor (Hutchison and Ghosh, 2017) were probably generated by other nontectonic sources such as trains.

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