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Lithospheric Models of the Middle East to Improve Seismic Source Parameter Determination/Event Location Accuracy

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Conference paper

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The Middle East is a tectonically complex and seismically active region. The ability to accurately locate earthquakes and other seismic events in this region is complicated by tectonics, the uneven distribution of natural earthquakes and the fact that countries run separate national seismic networks without well-developed data-sharing agreements. We report here on a variety of scientific efforts to enhance knowledge of the lithospheric velocity structure in the Middle East, making use of data from national networks in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait to improve seismic location accuracy for events throughout the region. Collaborative seismology engagements with research institutes in the Middle East have produced several important findings. Studies of regional seismic structure revealed that the Arabian Shield and the Arabian Platform have fundamental differences in velocity structure. The earths crust is relatively thicker than average in Kuwait and Iraq as a result of the Mesopotamian Foredeep, characterized by 8-10 km thick sediments. Ophiolites dominate the southeastern margin of the Arabian Peninsula, where the crust is thicker and seismic velocities are faster. In Kuwait seismic activity is intensified near oil fields, and seismic source parameters show that this activity comes from tectonic events. This work is informed by continuous or event-based regional seismic data obtained from 68 seismic stations from national networks, and this number is expected to grow in the future. A current effort is focused on using regional seismic data to develop better and more accurate seismic magnitude scales based on coda for stations in these national networks. Data and derived measurements from stations are integrated into lithospheric velocity and attenuation models to increase resolution, improve event location accuracy and source parameter determination, and advance tectonic understanding of the region.

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  • Seismology

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