We investigate temporal variations in the polarization of surface waves determined using ambient seismic noise cross-correlations between station pairs at the time of the Mw 6.0 Parkfield earthquake of September 28, 2004. We use data recorded by the High Resolution Seismic Network's 3-component seismometers located along the San Andreas Fault. Our results show strong variations in azimuthal surface wave polarizations, Ψ, for the paths containing station VARB, one of the closest stations to the San Andreas Fault, synchronous with the Parkfield earthquake. Concerning the other station pair, only smooth temporal variations of Ψ are observed. Two principal contributions to these changes in Ψ are identified and separated. They are: (1) slow and weak variations due to seasonal changes in the incident direction of seismic noise; and (2) strong and rapid rotations synchronous with the Parkfield earthquake for paths containing station VARB. Strong shifts in Ψ are interpreted in terms of changes in crack-induced anisotropy due to the co-seismic rotation of the stress field. Because these changes are only observed on paths containing station VARB, the anisotropic layer responsible for the changes is most likely localized around VARB in the shallow crust. These results suggest that the polarization of surface waves may be very sensitive to changes in the orientations of distributed cracks and that implementation of our technique on a routine basis may prove useful for monitoring stress changes deep within seismogenic zones.
Times Cited: 0