Remote triggering of non-volcanic tremor around Taiwan

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SUMMARY

We perform a systematic survey of triggered deep ‘non-volcanic’ tremor beneath the Central Range (CR) in Taiwan for 45 teleseismic earthquakes from 1998 to 2009 with Mw≥ 7.5 and epicentral distance ≥1000 km to the broad-band station TPUB. Triggered tremors are visually identified as bursts of high-frequency (2–8 Hz), non-impulsive and long-duration seismic energy that are coherent among many seismic stations and modulated by the teleseismic surface waves. Out of the 45 earthquakes, we identified nine teleseismic events associated with nine tremor sources in the southern and five in the northern CR. Most of the tremor sources are located within the depth range of 15–25 km in the lower crust above the Moho. We find that the amplitudes of the surface waves play an important role in determining the triggering potential, and the apparent triggering threshold is ∼0.1 cm s−1, or 7–8 KPa. However, such threshold is partially controlled by the background noise level, which could prevent weaker tremor triggered by surface waves with smaller amplitudes from being identified. The amplitudes of the triggered tremor show a positive correlation with the amplitudes of the triggering surface waves, consistent with the predictions by the ‘clock-advance’ model. In addition to amplitudes, other factors, such as frequency contents and incidence angles, also affect the triggering potential. We find that intermediate-period (30–10 s) surface waves could trigger/modulate tremors, suggesting that long-period (>30 s) surface waves are not always required in long-range triggering. Tremors appear to be triggered by both Love and Rayleigh waves. When the incidence angles are parallel to the strike of the CR, all six events triggered tremor primarily during the Rayleigh waves. For strike normal incidence, only the 2001 Mw7.8 Kunlun earthquake showed predominant Love-wave triggering. This observation can be qualitatively explained by a simple Coulomb failure for a left-lateral shear on the low-angle detachment fault beneath the southern CR.

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