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San Andreas Fault damage at SAFOD viewed with fault-guided waves

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Abstract

[1] Highly damaged rocks within the San Andreas fault zone at Parkfield form a low-velocity waveguide for seismic waves, giving rise to fault-guided waves. Prominent fault-guided waves have been observed at the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) site, including a surface array across the fault zone and a borehole seismograph placed in the SAFOD well at a depth of ∼2.7 km below ground. The resulting observations are modeled here using 3-D finite-difference methods. To fit the amplitude, frequency, and travel-time characteristics of the data, the models require a downward tapering, 30–40-m wide fault-core embedded in a 100–200-m wide jacket. Compared with the intact wall rocks, the core velocities are reduced by ∼40% and jacket velocities by ∼25%. Based on the depths of earthquakes generating guided waves, we estimate that the low-velocity waveguide along the fault at SAFOD extends at least to depths of ∼7 km, more than twice the depth reported in pervious studies.

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