Date of this Version
Near-source observations of five M 3.8-5.2 earthquakes near Ridgecrest, California are consistent with the presence of a seismic nucleation phase. These earthquakes start abruptly, but then slow or stop before rapidly growing again toward their maximum rate of moment release. Deconvolution of instrument and path effects by empirical Green's functions demonstrates that the initial complexity at the start of the earthquake is a source effect. The rapid growth of the P-wave arrival at the start of the seismic nucleation phase supports the conclusion of Mori and Kanamori  that these earthquakes begin without a magnitude-scaled slow initial phase of the type observed by Iio [1992, 1995].