Detection of small earthquakes along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge from T-waves recorded by abyssal ocean-bottom observatories
A number of seismoacoustic T-wave events were observed between January 2003 and January 2004 by broadband ocean-bottom seismometers installed on the French Polynesia seafloor at depths of 4,000–5,000 m, well below the conjugate depth of the SOFAR channel. Using T-wave arrival times, we located 89 T-wave events along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. Among these, 63 events were not detected by land-based seismic observations of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which was nearly twice the number of earthquakes reported by the USGS in the area during the observation period. We used a simple method to estimate earthquake magnitude from T-wave energy. The magnitudes of the events unidentified by the USGS ranged from 2.3 to 5.5, whereas magnitudes of the earthquakes reported by the USGS ranged from 4.1 to 6.2. Our study suggests that T-wave observations with abyssal ocean-bottom seismometers can improve the detection of small earthquakes and help our understanding of the seismotectonics of remote oceanic areas.