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Authors: Scognamiglio, Laura* 
Magnoni, Federica* 
Tinti, Elisa* 
Casarotti, Emanuele* 
Title: Uncertainty estimations for moment tensor inversions: the issue of the 2012 May 20 Emilia earthquake
Issue Date: 2016
Series/Report no.: /206 (2016)
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggw173
Abstract: Seismic moment tensor is one of the most important source parameters defining the earthquake dimension and style of the activated fault. Geoscientists ordinarily use moment tensor cata- logues, however, few attempts have been done to assess possible impacts of moment magnitude uncertainties upon their analysis. The 2012 May 20 Emilia main shock is a representative event since it is defined in literature with a moment magnitude value (Mw) spanning between 5.63 and 6.12. A variability of ∼0.5 units in magnitude leads to a controversial knowledge of the real size of the event and reveals how the solutions could be poorly constrained. In this work, we investigate the stability of the moment tensor solution for this earthquake, studying the effect of five different 1-D velocity models, the number and the distribution of the stations used in the inversion procedure. We also introduce a 3-D velocity model to account for structural hetero- geneity. We finally estimate the uncertainties associated to the computed focal planes and the obtained Mw. We conclude that our reliable source solutions provide a moment magnitude that ranges from 5.87, 1-D model, to 5.96, 3-D model, reducing the variability of the literature to ∼0.1. We endorse that the estimate of seismic moment from moment tensor solutions, as well as the estimate of the other kinematic source parameters, requires coming out with disclosed assumptions and explicit processing workflows. Finally and, probably more important, when moment tensor solution is used for secondary analyses it has to be combined with the same main boundary conditions (e.g. wave-velocity propagation model) to avoid conflicting results.
Description: This article has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Journal Internationa ©: 2016 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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