Quantifying the remote triggering capabilities of large earthquakes using data from the ANZA Seismic Network catalog (southern California)

Deborah L. Kane, Debi Kilb, Arthur S. Berg, Vladislav G. Martynov

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14 Scopus citations


Various studies have examined remote earthquake triggering in geothermal areas, but few studies have investigated triggering in nongeothermal areas. We search the ANZA (southern California) network catalog for evidence of remote triggering. Using three statistical tests (binomial, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, and Wilcoxon rank sum), we determine the significance of the rates and timing of earthquakes in southern California following large teleseismic events. To validate our statistical tests, we identify 20 local main shocks (ML ≥ 3.1) with obvious aftershock sequences and 22 local main shocks (ML ≥ 3.0) that lack obvious aftershock sequences. Our statistical tests quantify the ability of these local main shocks to trigger aftershocks. Assuming that the same triggering characteristic (i.e., a particular seismic wave amplitude, perhaps in a specific frequency band) is evident for both local and remote main shocks, we apply the same tests to 60 remote main shocks (mb ≥ 7.0) and assess the ability of these events to trigger seismicity in southern California. We find no obvious signature of remote triggering. We find minimal differences between the spectral amplitudes and maximum ground velocities of the local triggering and nontriggering earthquakes. Similar analysis of a select few of our remote earthquakes shows that the related ground motion regularly exceeds that of local earthquakes both at low frequencies and in maximum velocity. This evidence weakly suggests that triggering requires larger amplitudes at high frequencies and that a maximum ground velocity alone is not the primary factor in remote triggering. Our results are complex, suggesting that a triggering threshold, if it exists, may depend on several factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberB11302
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 4 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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