pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 129, Issue 3–4, pp 345–368 | Cite as

Mining-related and tectonic seismicity in the East Mountain area Wasatch Plateau, Utah, U.S.A.

  • Donna J. Williams
  • Walter J. Arabasz


As part of a larger multi-institutional seismic monitoring experiment during June–August 1984 in the eastern Wasatch Plateau, Utah, data from a subarray of 20 portable seismographs were used to investigate seismicity in the East Mountain area, an area of active underground coal mining and intense microseismicity. Eight stations of the subarray were concentrated on top of East Mountain, about 600 m above mine level, at an average spacing of 2 to 3 km. The primary objective was the accurate resolution of hypocenters and focal mechanisms for seismic events originating at submine levels. Data from high-resolution seismic reflection profiles and drill-hole sonic logs yielded a detailed velocity model. This model features a strong velocity gradient in the uppermost 1 km, which has a significant effect on takeoff angles for first-arrivingP-waves from shallow seismic events. Two hundred epicenters located with a precision of ±500 m cluster within an area about 5 km in diameter and show an evident spatial association with four sites of longwall mining during the study period. A special set of foci rigorously tested for focal-depth reliability indicates submine seismicity predominating within 500 m of mine level and extending at least to 1 km, and perhaps to 2 km, below mine level. Continuous monitoring for a 61-day period (June 15–August 15) bracketed a 16-day mining shutdown (July 7–22) during which significant seismicity, comparable to that observed before the shutdown, was observed. Ten focal mechanisms for seismic events originating at or down to 2 km below mine level nearly all imply reverse faulting, consistent with previous results and the inferred tectonic stress field. Enigmatic events recorded with all dilatational first motions can be fit with double-couple normal-faulting solutions if they in fact occurabove mine level, perhaps reflecting overburden subsidence. If these events are constrained to occur at mine level, their first-motion distributions are incompatible with a double-couple source mechanism.

Key words

Focal mechanism double-couple mechanism reverse faulting submine seismicity Wasatch Plateau 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna J. Williams
    • 1
  • Walter J. Arabasz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City

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