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Authors: Piromallo, C.* 
Morelli, A.* 
Title: P-wave propagation heterogeneity and earthquake location in the Mediterranean region
Issue Date: 1998
Series/Report no.: /135(1998)
Keywords: earthquake location
P waves
upper mantle
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.07. Tectonophysics::04.07.02. Geodynamics 
Abstract: We analyse P-wave traveltimes for the Mediterranean area, using both teleseismic and regional arrivals for shallow earthquakes reported in the Bulletins of the International Seismological Centre. We model delays between pairs of 0.5° × 0.5° cells, obtaining a detailed representation of the P traveltime heterogeneities. Examination of these anomalies shows the clear presence of geographically coherent patterns—consistent with known geological features—due to significant structure in the upper mantle. We present a scheme, based on an empirical heterogeneity correction (EHC) to P-wave traveltimes, to improve earthquake location. This method provides similar benefits to those of a location procedure based on ray tracing in a 3-D model, but it is simpler and computationally more efficient. The definition of the traveltime heterogeneity model, being based on a statistical procedure, bypasses most of the critical points and possible instabilities involved in model inversion. EHC relocation, applied to Mediterranean earthquakes, allows one to predict about 70 per cent of the estimated signal due to heterogeneity and produces epicentral and origin time-shifts of, respectively, 4.22 km and 0.35 s (rms). From a synthetic experiment, in which we use the proposed algorithm to retrieve known source locations, we estimate that the rms improvement achieved by the EHC relocation over a simpler, standard, 1-D location is more than 20 per cent for both epicentral mislocation and origin time-shifts.
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