Correlations of sea surface height and solid earth tides with seismicity in the equatorial Pacific Ocean : a GIS approach Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bn9999342

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  • In the equatorial Pacific Ocean, earthquakes are used as an indicator of tectonic stress for normal faults in the Galapagos Spreading Center, transform faults along the East Pacific Rise and thrust faults in the Middle American subduction zone. Linkages between seafloor tectonic processes and oceanographic and lunar conditions were explored using time-series cross-correlation analyses on two different time scales. Data for earthquakes in the eastern tropical Pacific study area are obtained using the hydrophone arrays of the NOAA-VENTS Program. Hydroacoustic monitoring (listening to underwater sounds) provides scientists with a detailed dataset that includes even small earthquakes, starting as low as magnitude 0.6, that are not perceived by land-based seismographs. Data for sea surface heights (SSH) consist of two different datasets. On a moon's quarter time scale, SSH data used to investigate the influence of the earth tide and changes in oceanic conditions were remotely acquired by the altimeter on board the TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) satellite. SSH data used to investigate the influence of the ocean tides were obtained from the Tidal Model Driver (Padman and Erofeeva 2003), that predicts SSH for locations every hour. The Geographic Information System (GIS) was used for the visual display of the data and to compute basic descriptive statistics. A lab-book was created for the educational-outreach section of this work, explaining step by step how GIS has been used. Significant results show correlations between normal faults and ocean tides and between the thrust fault and earth tides. Also, the Quebrada and the Discovery transform faults show high correlation of earthquake events, suggesting that at such temporal and spatial resolution, the plate moves as a rigid block.
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