Analysis of artifacts and systematic errors of the Iranian Seismological Center’s earthquake catalog
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This study reviews the history of seismometry in Iran and specifically the evolution of Iranian Seismological Center’s (IRSC) seismic network and investigates the artifacts and systematic errors of this center’s earthquake catalog. Our analysis indicates instability of magnitude estimation in the IRSC catalog to the extent that in the western and eastern parts of Iran, events with the same USGS reported mb magnitude could result in MN values 0.3 units apart. This catalog is contaminated with quarry and mine blasts, in which about 19% of the reported events are most likely not tectonic earthquakes. In addition, heterogeneity of magnitude of completeness as a function of space and time is observed. While Mc has gradually improved since 2006, its reduction in different parts of the country varies between 0 to 0.5 units of magnitude. In addition to artifacts, more than 54% of the reported events were located using a simplified velocity model and need to be relocated using more accurate velocity models. Moreover, in the hypocenter determination of about 7% of earthquakes, at least data from one station with wrong coordinates was employed. For these two groups of events, a clear dependence exists between the azimuthal gap and the value of the observed shift in the location parameters; with increasing the azimuthal gap, the shift increases. Investigations on the manually picked phases in the IRSC catalog show a large number of phase misidentification cases which are the other source of systematic errors. Examining the depth reported for events associated with mine blasts in a region in southern Iran implies systematic errors and high overestimation of depth for these events. The reported depth for most of these blasts is more than 10 km.
KeywordsIRSC catalog Earthquake location Systematic errors Magnitude of completeness
The authors would like to thank H. Ghofrani, M. Pakzad, and O. Aghaei for their thoughtful reviews of the manuscript and very helpful suggestions. We also appreciate M. Elahian, A. Malekpour, and H. Hosseini for their help during this study. Several figures were produced by GMT (Wessel et al. 2013, http://gmt.soest.hawaii.edu/).
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