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295

Tectonophysics, 93 (1983) 295-306


Elsevier Scientific

NORMAL,

Publishing

Company,

Amsterdam

- Printed

in The Netherlands

BLUE AND RED EARTHQUAKES-A

EARTHQUAKE

CLASSIFICATION

NEW WAY OF

ON THE BASIS OF BODY-WAVE

MAGNITUDES

S.J. DUDA

and R. NORTMANN

Instilut jiir Geophysik, Universitiit Hamburg, Hamburg (Federal Republic of Germany)


(Received

September

23. 1982)

ABSTRACT

Duda,

S.J. and

classification

Nortmann,

tion of Earthquakes.
Mon~hromatic
the spectral
functions

taking
routinely

radiation

red earthquakes-a

new way of earthquake

In: S.J. Duda and K. Aki (Editors),

based on P- and on S-waves, provide

of body-waves

into account

Quantifica-

radiated

periods

from earthquake

of waves recorded,

a means to recognize

foci. New, synthetic

improve

the consistency

differences

magnitude

in

calibration

of magnitude

figures

to earthquakes.

First results of a world-wide


presented.

blue and

magnitudes.

Tectonophysics, 93: 295-306

magnitudes,

contents

assigned

R., 1983. Normal,

on the basis of body-wave

Preponderance
in another

regionalization

of short-period

is seen. if the radiation

of earthquakes

radiation

according

in one class

is compared

to their spectral

of earthquakes,

with that of normal

and

character

are

of long-period

earthquakes.

INTRODUCTION

The earthquake magnitude was intended to be a single number, fully expressing


the strength of an earthquake. Thereby, a unique relation was postulated between
the magnitude and the total seismic energy radiated from the source. However,
doubts are mounting as to the possibility of determining the seismic energy with an
accuracy sufficient to verify the postulate. Moreover, it becomes apparent that the
strength of an earthquake cannot be adequately expressed in a single magnitude
scale. By now several, independently determined magnitudes are being already
reported routinely (see, e.g., NEIS and ISC).
The differences between the magnitude scales in use lie primarily in the period
ranges utilized, even though the periods usually are not published with the magnitudes. While the body-wave magnitude mB is being determined from P-waves
ranging in period from about 0.1 s to 10 s, the body-wave magnitude mb from
WWSSN-stations is based on P-waves with a period of about 1 s (short-period
Benioff seismometers). The local magnitude M, emphasizes periods around 0.8 s,
0040- 195 1,83,$03.00

0 1983 Elsevier Science Publishers

B.V.

dnd the surface-wave

magnitude

for sl,allol\ rurtiiquakts

M, i,, bated

hit L\AL~\ t:,

the period rauge 17 23 s. The mantle wave lllagnit~de


M, IS fvund frt,m w;1%~h
ranging in period frs)m 30 6 t5: 250 s. and finally. the moment magnitude
,%I, V,
supposed 10 be based on waves with infinite period. The bituatli.rn is aggravated.
however,
scales
&phase

by the fact that no consistency


While

for the de~erminat~or1

is employed,

the surface-wave

the bk>dy-wave

magnitude

used. It is eventually

exists as to the have

of rhc: loyal
ITlliigtl~tUd~

ail unspecified

clear that to reconcile

mixture

magnitude

type underlying
u~uail~

is iYsliictcd tii P-\vhb,c\. arKi


of Loge- and Ra! leiph-waves

the magnitude

figures uith

the

the Sg- 01
f<)i

IS

each other is

a formidable task! The large variety cf magnitude scales indicates that the strength
of earthquakes needs to be d~terin~ned in various parts of the radiated spectrum.
It is obvious that P- and S-waves are the only waves radiated from the focus. and,
in principle, it suffices to base the magmtude scale on the two kinds of body--waves.
In the past. the problem of radiation intensity as function cf :ta\e
investigated
theoretically.
We refer here. m particular,
to the papers
( 1964, 1966). Hirasawa

and Stauder (1965). Aki (1967, 1972). Berckhemer

penod was
by Haskeil
and Jacob

(1968). Brune ( 1970). Savage ( 1972). Hanks and Wyss ( 1972) and Geller ( 1976). The
investigations
aim at finding the relation between the phybical parameter> of the
focal process on one side, and the radiated signal in the time or frequency domain
on the other. The physical parameters of special importance
are thereby the fault
length and width, the dislocation. the fracture velocity. the rise tmte. the stress drop
and the seismic moment. Based on the similarity principle, the authors postulate
relations between two or more of the parameters. The spectra of the signals radiated
though prove to be dependent on the model, and no unanimous
opinion exists as to
the optimum
model. applicable to ail earthquakes.
For a given model. however. the
shape of the spectrum radiated is fixed, as is the relation betueen the InagnItud~s
obtained as result of sampling the spectrum in the respective penod ranges.
It is seen that
only the strength
together

the seismic

of long-periodic

with the physical

additional quantities.
It has been proposed
radiated

of an earthquake---

radiation,

parameters
(Nortmann

in specific period bands.

called spectral magnitudes.


spend to a given earthquake,

SO

moment

if measurable--reflects

and that the radiation

controlling
and Duda,

at other periods,

it, is in need of being expressed


1983) to sample

and to express the strength

by

the seismic energy

of radiation

by way of

Evidently, a set of spectral magnitudes


will correthe spectral magnitudes
being determined
indepen-

dently for P- and S-waves.


Digital broad-band
recordings of seismic waves are preferable for the determination of a complete set of spectral magnitudes.
Also, the period bands have to be
specified as to their mid-band and band-edge periods. The magnitudes obtained in
this way are called monochromatic,
as they permit to measure the strength of the
earthquake in relatively narrow, non-overlapping
period ranges of the seismic waves
radiated.

291

In this paper
sented.

Assuming

monochromatic
model,

monochromatic
an earthquake
magnitudes

or whether

MONOCHROMATIC

model,

empirically

significant,

tudes from the predictions

Digital

magnitudes

for a choice

the question

is investigated,

determined,

measurable

of earthquakes

satisfy

deviations

are pre-

whether

the predictions

the

of the

of the monochromatic

magni-

are present.

MAGNITUDES

broad-band

seismograms,

obtained

at the Central

Seismological

Observs-

tory of the Federal Republic of Germany at Erlangen, were analysed. Twenty-three


earthquakes,
as given in Tab!e I. were selected for the investigation.
The epicenters
are shown in Fig. 1.
Band-pass

filters were defined,

Fig. 2. .4s can be seen immediately,


2 octaves,

with mid-band

and band-edge

the bandwidth

periods

as given in

of each of the 5 filters amounts

to

As example, the broad-band


record (BB), as well as 5 band-pass filtered selsmograms. are shown for the vertical component of the P-wave, and the two horizontal
components

of the S-wave (Fig. 3) of a particular

are proportional
range.

to the ground

earthquake.

velocity at the recording

The seismogram

traces

site in the respective

period

From the figures, it is seen that for the given earthquake the maximum ground
velocity at the station occurred a! filter position 3 (mid-band
period: 4 s) for the

1w

150

135

_ .-__--__~-~.---

_-__._._..__-..-.-~

___~.__

12r

105

90

75

60

150

.--. -

15

Fig. 1. Epicenters of the earthquakes investigated


Islands. South-West Asia and Central America.

15

3C

60

9)

(cp. Table I). The epicenters

051

120Q 115

150

165

lie in three rpginnc.

180

Kllr;l

50

02

I9

I4

05

22

10

1978 Mar.24

I978 Dec. 06

1980 Feb. 23

1980 Feb. 23

1980 Dec. 3 I

2403B

O612B

2302A

2302B

3112

1978 Aug. 23

1978 Nov. 29

I979 Mar. 14

1979 Oct. 21

1980 Aug09

1980 Oct. 24

29118

1403

2710

0908

2410

I See Fig. I. h Geographical

1978 Mar. 19

1903

2308

Centrui A mtwcu

16
09
35

07

35

45

53

Ii

14

05

14

region number

l6.ON

47

52

I9

l8.2N

72

88.5W
98.2W

22

90.9w

l5.9N

5P

101.3w

13.8N

49

1X

56

36

17.8N

(Flmn er al.. 1974)

57

X5.2W

10.2N

38
96.6W

99.7w

I7.ON

I4
30

39

00

88.3

6.4

h.1

5.7
84.2

6.5
87.2

6.4

5.7

5.K

90.3

89.U

86.4

YO.1

29.3

46

01

3R.lN

49.OE

20

35

1X

19X0 May04

0405

6.4

6.X

1.6

7.7

7.0

6.4

A.

523

73

71

5X

60

7x

59

338

366
5

371

5.

34x

366

345

330

221

221

-21

721

221

221

221

221

221

I
5.3
19.5

31

29.8E

35.75

5X

30

05

1980 May 02

6.6

h.U

5.1

6.5

5.X

7.0

7.6

7.5

6.8

5.7

5.3

MS7

Rcginn
No. h

5.3

6.0

0.0

5Y.7E

3X.7

0205

33.9N
79

34

21

06

1979 Dec. 31

33

31.5E

36.2N

22

21

02

1979 Nov. 14

1411

6.1

6.0

6.7

5.)

63

6.7

6.5

5.9

29.5

37.5

6.4

6.

57
_.

5.4

nlh

Magnitude

20.0

3112B

98

3i.aE

32

34

27

33

4X.9E

09

36.4N

79.7

45
78.6

79.3

44
53

7x.3

79.4

78.7

91

33

63.6E

1979 May ZR

2805A

37.7N

19

22

40.4N

23

30

I5

1978 Nov.04

0411

151.5E

146.9E

43.2N

53

3X
46.ON

146.8E

43.5N

03

51
I?

146.6E

44.6N

01

32

148.Yk

44.2N

I9

197X Jun. 04

0406

M~PrrAsia

148.4E

44.9N

20

I5

47

03

lY8O Mar.23

2303E

South

79.5

46

149.OE

44.2N

02

31

00

1978 Mar.23

2303A
33

79.6

149.9E

79.5

51
45

149.7E

44.43\3

02

OX

44.5N

I6
02

03

09

idegr.)

197X Feb. 09

(deg. 1
____~

Epicentral
distance

Depth
(km)

1978 Jan. 14

EpIcenter

0902

time

Kurii Islunds
1401B

Orlgm

Date

studied

No. =

quake

Earth-

List of earthquakes

TABLE I

299

0 .l
.izs

.is

.5

Fig. 2. 2-octave

Fig. 3. Kuril
broad-band

band-pass

Island

16

earthquake,

record

Band-Edpe Period. s
Mid-Band Period. 9

for the computation

78 Dec. 06, 14:02:01.0,


periods

of monochromatic

component),

seismograms

obtained

from

of filters as shown in Fig. 2.

and (b) and (c) show the N-S-

The bars at right correspond

magnitudes

146.6E (see Table 1). BB is a

91 km, 44.6N.

at 0.2 s and 200 s. I - 5 are band-pass

BE after the application

(a) shows the P-wave (vertical


S-wave, respectively.

$4

filters employed

record with cut-off

the broad-band

123

$2

to a velocity

amplitude

and E-W-component
of 100 pm/s.

of the

P-wave.

and

seismogram
minimum

at filter

position

4 (mid-hanci

traces feature small amplltlldes


for

the

P-wave

a+ filter

perwd:

16 5) for the S u;L\s.

ilt the rxtrcme

psittcm

5 14 due

to

fht;

f3c.t

th,,t

P-wa\-e energy was radiated

at periodc arouncj h4 < in thts rurthquske.


for the S-wave at filter position 1 points 11 the fact thaf the wrth>
sufficiently

pervious

teleseismic

distances.

for S-Lvaves with

perIoda

31nvnd

f-he

filter ~VG~IOII~. \h~hile tlw

0.25

tz!

nc ~~.~fficient
the rnir~irnllrn

m:mtle
he

i\ not

wr.~~r.~blcl

a1

It is the primary role of any rnsgnit(lde wale to I-ompencate the ~+ser\:ed ground
motion for the attenuation
of the \xa\e alony the ray path, and trl .irrivb,t: al CT-K(>Imore numbers characteristic
From the P-wave and
measured

of the source f.>fwismic waws only.


S-wave grnund
yelncity amphtudes.

from the band-pass

were determined.

seismograms

th e a!,gorithm as given bv Nnr!m;lnn

For this purpose.

(1983) w:as employed.


Figure 4 shows the monochromatic
I--S. as far as measurable,
for both
monochromatic

magnitudes

Fig. 3 ~.-the spectra

can

be

magnitudes
anti Dudn

magnitudes
for each of the filter plktions
types of body-waves.
It ii wen from the

In Fig. 4. that---;tt

of hnth

its thr\

in Fig. ?. monochromatic

variance

types of bodv-wales

with the tr,Lc-ermpiitudes


radiated from I hr focus h:\\e

In
,j

'A

1976 Dec. 06 IL.02 010


Kurii

Wan

Fig. 4. Monochromatic

magnitudes

nents).

to the seismograms

corresponding

arithmetic
periods

average

of band-edge

of the filter (see Fig. 2)

m(r)

for P-wave

frequencies:

and S-wave (vectorially added horizontal compoare plotted at the respective


magnitudes

in Fig. 3. The
T, = (T-,, t

7, )/2, where 7; and 7-, are the band-edge

301

maximum at filter position 3 (mid-band period: 4 s). The shift of the spectral
maximum for S-waves towards shorter periods is due to a stronger compensation of
S-waves with decreasing period, in course of the magnitude determination, if
compared with that of P-waves.
The spectrum of the ground motion at teleseismic distances is biased relatively to
t.he spectrum of the waves radiated from the focus. The bias is caused by the
different attenuation for P- and S-waves. due to the different perviousness of the
intervening medium for both types of body-waves. As a rule, the attenuation iq
higher for S-waves. For a given wave type, the perviousness increases with the period
of the wave. The period-dependent calibration function of Nortmann and Duda
(1983) compensates the bias, and yields magnitude figures believed to reflect the
strength of the radiation of P- and S-waves from the focus. Thereby. the monochromatic magnitudes m(T) are related to the energy spectral density of either wave type
by the relation:
E(T)

1()Zrn(?l~k

in J/Hz

The constant k was chosen as - 1.4, in order to assure maximum consistency with
magnitude figures obtained earlier on the basis of the calibration functions of
Gutenberg and Richter (1956) (cp. Nortmann and Duda, 1983).
From Fig. 4, it can be seen that for the given earthquake the monochromatic
magnitudes for the S-wave are about 1.6 units larger than those for the P-wave.
From the observation at a single station, as in the present case, and without knowing
the position of the station with respect to the nodal lines of the fault-plane solution.
it cannot be excluded that the difference is simply due to the geometric radiation
pattern of the earthquake. Should the difference be genuine, however, it would
signify that the total seismic energy radiated from the focus in the form of S-waves is
3.2 orders of magnitude larger than that of P-waves. i.e. that the P-wave radiation is
negligible energywise with respect to that of the S-wave.
NORMAL.

BLUE AND

RED EARTHQUAKES

Haskell (1964, 1966) has investigated the theoretical energy density spectrum of
the far field radiation from a dislocation source in an elastic medium. The maximum
of the spectrum occurs at a period depending on the fault length and the rise time of
the earthquake (deterministic model). or the correlation length and the correlation
time of the earthquake process (statistical model). The spectrum decays with
increasing periods in proportion to the square of the period, and with decreasing
period in proportion to the 2nd to 4th power of the period. The width of the
spectrum depends on the physical parameters characterising the process at the focus.
On the basis of the similarity principle of Aki (1967), the period of the maximum
is simply proportional to the fault length. Also, the displacement amplitude spectral
density at the period of the maximum is proportional to the 3rd power of the fault

length. Consequently.
the maximum of the energy density spectrum radiated
the focus is proportional
to the 4th power of the period of the maximum.
The proportionality
principle.

constants.

The uncertainties

parameters.

in particular

lead to a multitude

however.

with respect
with respect

of theoretical

cannot

be obtained

earthquake

models.

one model can be found at all which would describe


whether earthquakes
in different
parts of the earth
basically different
description.

focal process,

Before the answer

from the similarity

to the interdependence

to the proportionality

of the physical

constants.

The question

eventually

arises whether

all natural earthquakes.


or
occur in accordance
with

so that more than one model is necessary

can be found.

from

it seems that natural

earthquakes

for the

need to be

analysed on the background


of a model earthquake
assumed to reflect normal
conditions
during the focal process. Accepting the similarity principle and a corresponding set of interrelations
between the focal parameters, normal
earthquakes
can be defined, and their spectral characteristic
used as basis for the analysis of
natural

earthquakes.

Earthquakes

deviating

significantly

from the model have been

labeled as blue
and red. in order to express a relative preponderance
of
short-period
and long-period radiation of seismic waves (Duda and Nuttli, 1974).
REGIONALIZATION

The following
and the analysis
tion.
Figure

AND EMPIRICAL

discussion

is limited

of monochromatic

5 displays

the focus

corresponding

P-wave
are grouped

P-wave

magnitudes,

is left for another

magnitudes

investiga-

for the earthquakes

in three regions,

as indicated.

in
The

are shown as function of the respective filter position (cp. Fig. 2). All
exhibit a maximum of their monochromatic
magnitudes
in the period

range under consideration.


from

to the monochromatic

S-wave magnitudes

monochromatic

Fig. 1 (Table I). The earthquakes


magnitudes
earthquakes

MODEL

of each

Thus, the energy spectral


of the earthquakes,

to that of the maximum

The maximum monochromatic


filter position 3 or 4. Thereby,

density

of the P-wave, radiated

has its maximum

monochromatic

near

the period

magnitude.

magnitude
occurs, with one exception, either at
the mid-band
periods are 4 s and 16 s. and the

arithmetic averages of the band-edge frequencies correspond to periods of 3.2 s and


12.8 s, resp.
While for the Kuril (Fig. Sa) and South-West
Asia (Fig. 5b) earthquakes
the
maximum
lies mainly at filter position 3. it lies for the Central American earthquakes (Fig. 5c) at filter position 4 (in one case at 5).
Moreover, it is seen that the spectra of the Kuril and South-West

Asia earth-

quakes are clearly broader than those of the Central American earthquakes.
The slope of the energy density spectra at short-periods,
as seen from the
monochromatic
magnitudes in Fig. 5. is proportional
to about the 4th power of the

303
KurllIslands

South-West Aslo

lb)

6-

0 1978 ILOIB
0 1976 0902

19

A 1978 2303A

1960 2302A

A 1978 2303E

0 1960 23028

, 1976 2LO3B

V 1980 3112

5-

f
.I

rlll

5-

06128

0 1978 OLO6

-l

Period s

1978 Ull

A 1979 IL11
1980 0205

Period.
s

1979 2805A

0 1979 31128
A 1980 0405

IO

100

CentralAmerica

ICI

19781903

o 1978 2308
A 1978 29118
A 1979 IL03

.-

/I

dr

Fig. 5. Monochromatic
Fig.

1 and Table I).

1980 0908

1980 2410

,.!,,

, !,

magnitudes

m(T)

Period.
s

IO

,,,,,

100

for P-waves,

for earthquakes

from three different regions (see

4.

305

a tendency of the Kuril earthquakes to be blue, and the South-West


Asian to be red.
For Central America1 earthquakes no specific tendency is
noticeable.
The deviations are small, but not insignificant. Nevertheless, the question arises
whether more pronounced deviations are possible. It appears, that present-day
obse~ational facilities do not permit to give an answer to the question. Earthquakes
with a maximum monochromatic magnitude of, say, 6.5 at filter position 1 (see
Fig. 6) would saturate regionally distributed seismographs, due to the limited
dynamic range of the instruments. At the same time, the small pe~iousness of the
earths mantle would prevent such earthquakes to be recognized at teleseismic
distances. On the other hand, earthquakes with a maximum monochromatic magnitude of 6.5 at filter position 5 (see Fig. 6) would remain unnoticed at both regional
and teleseismic distances, due to insufficient sensitivity of seismometers at the
corresponding periods.
In conclusion, it appears from the investigation of 23 earthquakes that significant
deviations from a normal spectral characteristic are given. Regions can be indicated
with earthquakes deviating towards a preponderance of either short-period or
long-period radiation. Present-day observational facilities, however, generally do not
favour the recognition of earthquakes with energy density spectra strongly deviating
from some average behavior. Broad-band large dynamic range seismological observatories in sufficient number would probably yield the answer to the question
whether a significant portion of the seismicity of the earth is occurring in additional
modes, others than the one of normal earthquakes.
The concept of monochromatic magnitudes offers a new means of quantifying the
energy density spectrum of the waves radiated from the earthquake focus, as well as
a means of classifying earthquakes in accordance with their spectral characteristic.
indicates

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The investigation was performed under a research grant of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn-Bad Godesberg.
One of us (R.N.) wishes to acknowledge the support of IASPEI for his participation in the General assembly in London, Ontario, Canada.
REFERENCES

Aki, K., 1967. Scaling law of seismic spectrum. J. Geophys.


Aki, K., 1972. Scaling law of earthquake
Berckhemer,
analyzing

H. and Jacob,

K.H.,

Res., 72: 1217-1231.

source time-functions.

1968. Investigation

the pulse shape of body waves. Ber., inst. Meteorol.

Brune, J.N., 1970. Tectonic


75: 4997-5009.

stress and spectra

Geophys.

of the dynamical

J.R. Astron.
process

Geophys.,

Sot., 31: 3-25.

in earthquake

Univ. Frankfurt,

of seismic shear waves from earthquakes.

foci by
13.

J. Geophys.

Res.,

306

Duda,

S.J. and Nuttli,

Flinn, E.A., Engdahl.

O.W.,

1974. Earthquake

E.R. and Hill, A.R.,

magnitude

scales. Geophys.

1974. Seismic and geographical

Surv..

1: 429-45X.

regionalization.

Bull. Seismol.

Sot. Am., 64: 771-993.


Geller.

R.J., 1976. Scaling relations

for earthquake

source parameters

and magnitudes.

Bull. Seiamol. Sot.

Am.. 66: 1501-1523.


Gutenberg,
Hanks,

B. and Richter.

C.F.. 1956. Magnitude

and energy of earthquakes.

T.C. and Wyss, M.. 1972. The use of the body wave spectra

parameters.
Haskell.

Ann. Geofis..

in the determination

9: I- 15.

of seismic source

Bull. Seismol. Sot. Am.. 62: 561-589.

N.A., 1964. Total energy and energy spectral

density

of elastic wave radiation

from propagating

density

of elastic wave radiation

from propagating

faults. Bull. Seismol. Sot. Am., 54: 181 l- 1841.


Haskell,

N.A.. 1966. Total energy and energy spectral

faults. II. A statistical


Hirasawa.

source model. Bull. Seismol. Sot. Am.. 56: 1255 140.

T. and Stauder.

S.J.. 1965. On the seismic

body

waves

from

a finite moving

source.

Bull.

from

their

Tectonophysics.

93:

Seismol. Sot. Am.. 55: 2377262.


Nortmann.

R. and

magnitudes.

S.J.. 1983. Determination

of spectral

In: S.J. Duda and K. Aki (Editors),

Duda,

Quantification

properties

of earthquakes

of Earthquakes.

251-275.
Savage,

J.C., 1972. Relation

of corner

frequency

to fault dimensions.

J. Geophys.

Res.. 77: 3788-3795.