Seismic Imaging of a Bimaterial Interface Along the Hayward Fault, CA, with Fault Zone Head Waves and Direct P Arrivals


We observe fault zone head waves (FZHW) that are generated by and propagate along a roughly 80 km section of the Hayward fault in the San Francisco Bay area. Moveout values between the arrival times of FZHW and direct P waves are used to obtain average P-wave velocity contrasts across different sections of the fault. The results are based on waveforms generated by more than 5,800 earthquakes and recorded at up to 12 stations of the Berkeley digital seismic network (BDSN) and the Northern California seismic network (NCSN). Robust identification of FZHW requires the combination of multiple techniques due to the diverse instrumentation of the BDSN and NCSN. For single-component short-period instruments, FZHW are identified by examining sets of waveforms from both sides of the fault, and finding on one (the slow) side emergent reversed-polarity arrivals before the direct P waves. For three-component broadband and strong-motion instruments, the FZHW are identified with polarization analysis that detects early arrivals from the fault direction before the regular body waves which have polarizations along the source-receiver backazimuth. The results indicate average velocity contrasts of 3–8 % along the Hayward fault, with the southwest side having faster P wave velocities in agreement with tomographic images. A systematic moveout between the FZHW and direct P waves for about a 80 km long fault section suggests a single continuous interface in the seismogenic zone over that distance. We observe some complexities near the junction with the Calaveras fault in the SE-most portion and near the city of Oakland. Regions giving rise to variable FZHW arrival times can be correlated to first order with the presence of lithological complexity such as slivers of high-velocity metamorphic serpentinized rocks and relatively distributed seismicity. The seismic velocity contrast and geological complexity have important implications for earthquake and rupture dynamics of the Hayward fault, including a statistically preferred propagation direction of earthquake ruptures to the SE.

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We thank the scientists involved in recording and archiving the data used in this work, Fatih Bulut for providing a core code for particle motion analysis, and Kathleen Ritterbush and Zheqiang Shi for useful discussions. The paper benefited from useful comments by two anonymous referees and Editor Antonio Rovelli. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant EAR-1315340).

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Correspondence to A. A. Allam.

Appendix: Filtering Effects on the Target Signals

Appendix: Filtering Effects on the Target Signals

Here we examine the consequences of the employed filtering scheme on the target signals of this study. There are tradeoffs in signal phase, amplitude, and polarity between causal and acausal filters. Because head waves are emergent, first-arriving, and low in amplitude compared to body waves, some care must be taken in filter design. In general terms, acausal filters can produce small oscillations preceding high-amplitude arrivals (e.g., P waves). Causal filters lack such acausal effects, but produce a phase shift.

Figure 9 shows examples of single-pass (causal) and 2-pass (acausal) filters applied to three stations at different epicentral distances. Both filter types are 2-pole high-pass butterworth filters with 1 Hz corner frequency. For the record at station BKS on the slow NE side of the fault (top) both filters are somewhat problematic; the causal filter’s negative phase delay would lead to an overestimation of the P wave arrival time, while the acausal filter changes the polarity and decreases the arrival time of the head wave. At station CNI closer to the fault on the slow side (middle), the acausal filter performs well, introducing no significant artifacts, while the causal filter would lead to a slight overestimation of the headwave arrival time. At station CPM on the fast SW side of the fault (bottom), both filters perform adequately, though a slight phase delay exists in the causally-filtered trace.

Fig. 9

Examples of filtering effects on velocity seismograms at stations BKS (top), CNI (middle) and CPM (bottom). Event and station locations are shown on the right. The raw data (red lines) were filtered with a one-pass causal (blue line) or 2-pass acausal (black line) filter, both of which are 2-pole butterworth highpass filters with a corner frequency 1 Hz

Based on these and other waveform comparisons, we choose to apply a 2-pass filter for the general analysis, as the causal filter affects the arrival picks of both the head and P waves. However, we recognize that acausal effects can sometime flip the head wave polarity or lead to a slight underestimation of its arrival time. Though these artifacts can potentially bias the head wave pick, they have only a small effect and do not change the overall consistent moveout observed at all slow-side stations (Fig. 6). Given the approximate character of the estimated (average) velocity contrast values in this work, the applied filter has minor effects on the results.

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Allam, A.A., Ben-Zion, Y. & Peng, Z. Seismic Imaging of a Bimaterial Interface Along the Hayward Fault, CA, with Fault Zone Head Waves and Direct P Arrivals. Pure Appl. Geophys. 171, 2993–3011 (2014).

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  • Fault zone head waves
  • Hayward fault
  • Bimaterial interface
  • Seismic imaging of faults
  • Moveout analysis
  • Particle motion analysis