Teleseismic estimates of radiated seismic energy: The E/MO discriminant for tsunami earthquakes

Andrew V. Newman*, Emile A. Okal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


We adapt the formalism of Boatwright and Choy for the computation of radiated seismic energy from broadband records at teleseismic distances to the real-time situation when neither the depth nor the focal geometry of the source is known accurately. The analysis of a large data set of more than 500 records from 52 large, recent earthquakes shows that this procedure yields values of the estimated energy, EE, in good agreement with values computed from available source parameters, for example as published by the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), the average logarithmic residual being only 0.26 units. We analyze the energy-to-moment ratio by defining ⊖ = log10(EE/M0). For regular earthquakes, this parameter agrees well with values expected from theoretical models and from the worldwide NEIC catalogue. There is a one-to-one correspondence between values of ⊖ that are deficient by one full unit or more, and the so-called "tsunami earthquakes", previously identified in the literature as having exceedingly slow sources, and believed due to the presence of sedimentary structures in the fault zone. Our formalism can be applied to single-station measurements, and its coupling to automated real-time measurements of the seismic moment using the mantle magnitude Mm should significantly improve real-time tsunami warning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98JB02236
Pages (from-to)26885-26898
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue numberB11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


Dive into the research topics of 'Teleseismic estimates of radiated seismic energy: The E/M<sub>O</sub> discriminant for tsunami earthquakes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this