An Automated Approach for the Determination of the Seismic Moment Tensor in Mining Environments
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A study was undertaken to evaluate an automated process to invert for seismic moment tensors from seismic data recorded in mining environments. The data for this study was recorded at Nickel Rim South mine, Sudbury, Ontario. The mine has a seismic monitoring system manufactured by ESG Solutions that performs continuous monitoring of seismicity. On average, approximately 400 seismic events are recorded each day. Currently, data are automatically processed by ESG Solution's software suite during acquisition. The automatic processors pick the P- and/or S-wave arrivals, locate the events and solve for certain source parameters, excluding the seismic moment tensor. In order to solve for the moment tensor, data must be manually processed, which is laborious and therefore seldom performed. This research evaluates an automatic seismic moment tensor inversion method and demonstrates some of the difficulties (through inversions of real and synthetic seismic data) of the inversion process. Results using the method are also compared to the inversion method currently available from ESG Solutions, which requires the manual picking of first-motion polarities for every event. As a result of the extensive synthetic testing of the automatic inversion program, as well as the inversion of real seismic data, it is apparent that there are key parameters requiring greater accuracy in order to increase the reliability of the automation. These parameters include the source time function definition, source location (in turn requiring more accurate and precise knowledge of the earth media), arrival time picks and an attenuation model to account for ray-path dependent filtering of the source time function. In order to improve the automatic method three key pieces of research are needed: (1) studying various location algorithms (and the effects of increasing earth model intricacy) and automatic time picking to improve source location methods, (2) studying how the source time pulse can be accurately extracted from the seismic records, as well as the validity of various source models, and (3) studying how attenuation can be modeled more accurately to account for the filtering of the seismic waves through the earth media (in particular distortion to the source time function).