An extension of the E/M 0 tsunami earthquake discriminant Θ to regional distances

Carl W. Ebeling*, Emile A. Okal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The 'slowness' parameter Θ, the logarithmic ratio of the estimated energy radiated by an earthquake E E to its moment M 0, is a robust indicator of tsunami earthquakes when calculated from waveforms recorded at teleseismic epicentral distances (35° < Δ < 80°). However, Θ values calculated from waveforms recorded at regional epicentral distances (5° < Δ < 35°) are unreliable. This is because the necessary use of a differentiable traveltime T(Δ) curve smoothed through transition zone caustic distances leads to the systematic overestimation of E E, and hence of Θ, for waveforms recorded at or near these distances. Using a data set comprised of 67 global oceanic dip-slip earthquakes occurring in the last 20 yr that includes six recognized tsunami earthquakes, we empirically develop a Θ correction for waveforms recorded at regional epicentral distances. Application of the correction to our data set allows the recovery of Θ values fully consistent with those calculated using only teleseismic waveforms. The incorporation of this correction into existing tsunami warning algorithms has the potential to significantly advance near-field warning efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1640-1656
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Body waves
  • Early warning
  • Earthquake dynamics
  • Seismicity and tectonics
  • Tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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