Tea Godoladze, Rengin Gök, Tuna Onur, Irakli Gunia, Manana Dzmanashvili, Giorgi Boichenko, Albert Buzaladze, István Bondár, Lana Ratiani, Tinatin Rostomashvili, John Nabelek, Zurab Javakhishvili, Gurban Yetirmishli, Eric Sandvol, Filiz Tuba Kadirioğlu, Andrea Chiang

Compilation of a Comprehensive Earthquake Catalog and Relocations in the Caucasus Region

  • Geophysics

Abstract Instrumental seismic monitoring has a long history in the Caucasus and started in 1899 when the first seismograph was installed in Tbilisi, Georgia. Much of the analog paper records from this time period are preserved in the Tbilisi archives because Georgia served as the regional data center. In the 1990s, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the political turmoil in the region, the analog networks and the communication between the newly formed national networks deteriorated. In Georgia, for the next 13 yr, the seismic network coverage was poor until the 2002 Tbilisi earthquake. Following this earthquake, the first permanent digital seismic station in Georgia was established in Tbilisi in 2003. The digital era progressively improved the ability to collect and archive data and today more than a hundred broadband seismic stations (including temporary arrays) are operating in the southern Caucasus. Until recently, the region lacked a coordinated effort to catalog all analog and digital era data collected by different countries into a single repository. As a result of collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Ilia State University, and the Republican Seismic Survey Center of Azerbaijan, a comprehensive earthquake catalog was compiled for the Caucasus and neighboring areas as part of a broader probabilistic seismic hazard assessment project. This project digitized Soviet-era paper bulletins, compiled a unified earthquake catalog from regional bulletins, developed 1D reference velocity model, and used it to relocate the events. The final catalog contains 16,963 events with magnitudes 3.7 and above, bringing together all the available data sets in the Caucasus region from 1900 to 2015, significantly improving locations, and generating the most complete earthquake catalog in the region, temporally and geographically.

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