Observations of Earthquake-Generated T-Waves in the South China Sea: Possible Applications for Regional Seismic Monitoring

  • Author(s): Bor-Shouh Huang, Min-Hung Shih, Ya-Chuan Lai, Kuo-Chang Chen, Win-Gee Huang, and Chun-Chi Liu
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2012.10.09.01(T)
  • Keywords: T-wave, Earthquake, SOFAR channel, Nansha Island, South China Sea, Seismic monitoring



We present a detailed study of T-waves originating from earthquakes in the South China Sea region, near the Indochina Peninsula and Luzon islands which were recorded by a broadband seismic station at Nansha Island. Most of these T-waves appear to have been the source originating from earthquakes with epicentral distances greater than 600 km from this station. The T-waves in this region were identified via their apparent stable measured velocities of about 1.45 km s-1, and represent the first reported T-waves and the first T-waves observed from an island station in the South China Sea. However, during the period of analysis (November 2004 to December 2005) additional earthquakes also occurred beyond the South China Sea region, but in these instances, any associated T-waves were not picked up by the station at Nansha Island. An analysis of T-wave travel times reveals the possible locations of the P-wave to T-wave transitions at the ocean to crust interface were presumably situated near the earthquake source side. Our results indicate that the Sound Fixing and Ranging (SOFAR) channel is well developed in the South China Sea region. Ultimately, developing a solid understanding of the effective transmission of T-waves through the ocean may provide new opportunities for detecting and locating small earthquakes which would be useful for both seismic monitoring and in helping to predict and reduce the damaging effects of earthquakes and tsunamis in the SouthChina Sea region.

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