ETS Event of Winter 2017

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Blog for ETS of Winter 2017 

Deep Tremor News: Jan, 2017

This BLOG-like page is being generated in a form similar to previous ETS ones to document and provide information on a Northern Washington ETS that should start sometime between late January and March 2017.  There are no special experiments in the field for this ETS. The Imaging Magma Under St. Helens (iMUSH) experiment terminated last summer.  We will be tracking and reporting on this ETS using data only from the real-time regional networks (UW,  UO, CN, TA, PB, CA) and/or information reported to us by others.

ETS dates:  

Start: Feb. 18, 2017 and restart, Mar. 18, 2017

END: Mar. 5, 2017

Information will be posted on this page (latest at the bottom) and references to figures from time to time.

NEWS (latest is at the bottom):

Jan 23, 2017 - Tremor throughout Cascadia seemed to have been relatively quiet over the past four months, but a detailed look at the data used by the wech-o-meter showed that for four of our subgroups there were many station problems or outages that likely made it much less sensitive for the past 6 months or more than it was in the past.  Details of this are provided in the blog about the coming ETS.

Jan 28, 2017 - In response to the loss of a number of stations in the far south and far north sub-regions: NV NC and CC) we have arranged to receive a few other data channels from our cooperating networks (Canadian National Seismic Network, the Berkeley Seismic Network and Northern California Seismic Network).  These have now been configured in to the wech-o-meter.  Data channels from the sub-regions where this ETS is expected (BC,NW,SM) are in pretty good shape and thus remain in the same configuration as before.

Feb 21, 2017 - I am thinking that the ETS has started.  Five days with from 5 to 17 hours each day with moderate to strong tremor in the area directly west of Seattle seems to be a pretty good sign of it starting.  There also looks to be a hint of a slight migration up-dip and to the north, which is typical of an ETS event.  This seems to be pretty close to right on schedule as well, ~14 months since the last one started for this section on Dec. 22, 2015 .  Thus I am calling this ETS to have started.  Of course, to spite me the tremor gods will probably stop in now.  More will be posted here as it develops.

Feb 25, 2017 - OK, it is for sure a real ETS.  Just over a week with strong tremor every day and spreading mostly to the north.  Over the past couple of days there seems to be a slight spread to the south.  If this is similar to ETS events of old (2007 - 2010) it will not spread much farther south than the southern end of Puget Sound (PS).  Most of the spread will be to the north over the next two to three weeks.  These ETS events normally stop spreading north in southern Vancouver Island (VI); however several recent ETS events hooked both the larger VI section with the PS to produce extra long and large ETS events.  Are we back to each section alone?  Time will tell.  In the meantime here is a plot for the tremor over the past week color coded by time (blue - early, red-late).  One might compare this pattern with all previous reported ETS events in weekly snapshots.  Note that Week-0 is the week before the ETS is declared and sometimes has tremor bursts down-dip (east) of the main zone. Clicking on any individual plot in the Compare Maps Page will give a blow up of it.


March 2, 2017 - It looks as if we have a different sort of ETS going on.  As soon as I suggested that this ETS would progress up into southern Vancouver Island, it stopped going there.  The last bit of tremor in the north part of this ETS took place near Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula on Feb. 27.  Since then tremor has continued only in the south part of this zone, near Olympia.  Even there the tremor detected is comparatively weak.  While not a geodesist it looks as if this ETS is just barely starting showing up on a few southeastern Olympics GPS stations. If it dies out soon then this will be the weakest, shortest, smallest ETS we have yet seen.  What's the deal?

March 9, 2017 - What a pathetic ETS! It looks to be over as of March 5; no activity in the past three days.  In fact the tremor on March 3 and 4 was limited and weak after a hiatus of activity on March 2. Below is a figure showing a color coded by time (blue - oldest, red - newest) plot of tremor locations for this whole ETS.  After starting in south central Puget Sound it spread in a typical fashion to the north but then stagnated.  Rather than continuing into Canada (maybe they built a wall) it spread back to the south and got weaker over time.  The very end of the sequence spread even slightly south of Olympia.

No northern Washington ETS of the past 15 years (since we have been monitoring it) has been this short in time and limited in space.  Wech-o-meter plots of the past 10 years illustrate most of this period. The closest event similar to this one might be the second half of the fall-2014 event.  While run together in time this event had a jump from a major part in Vancouver Island to a second large part in Northern Washington with a small gap between them with little to no tremor.  Even in this case the Washington part lasted for three weeks.  The geodetic component looks, at least for now, to be similarly limited.  Below is a plot of GPS displacements from four station that usually show this type of ETS event very well.  Note the arrows pointing to the previous ETS at the end of 2015.  In the current case only station P418 (located in southern Olympics west of Tacoma) shows any significant recent displacements.  Of course, often the GPS signals lag those of tremor so maybe something will change in the next week or so.

The question now is what about southern Vancouver Island.  This part of the Cascadia seismic zone has always participated in one of the 14 month ETS events.  Will one show up here soon or is this stretch going to skip this ETS?  I am giving up trying to anticipate what this crazy place will do next.

Mar. 20, 2017 - Well I'll be horn-swaggled!  It seems to be going again. A couple of days ago tremor started up in the north of the Olympics and now seems to be slowly moving north.  After an almost two week hiatus maybe the typical 14-month ETS event will now finish coving the area it normally does, which is from southern Puget Sound to central Vancouver Island.  Maybe the total event will be similar to previous ones, just with a two week rest.  Stay tuned.