Earthquake data from three ocean seismic network (OSN) sensors, located (1) on the seafloor, (2) buried in seafloor sediments and (3) in a borehole, together with those from Hawaiian Island stations, were compared by calculating threshold-detection magnitudes for P-, S-, Rayleigh-, and Love-wave arrivals.

Our results show that the borehole seismometer had noise levels similar to those of the Island stations and produced high-quality high- and low-frequency body- and surface-wave data. Shallow burial of the seismometer in the sediments had no effect on higher frequencies but significantly reduced low-frequency noise levels so that data for S and Rayleigh waves were of high quality. In fact, the buried seismometer was characterized by the lowest noise levels at very low frequencies (<20 mHz; Collins et al., 2001). The ocean-floor seismometer was consistently noisy, and the data produced were of lower quality.

Both observed magnitudes and calculated threshold magnitudes were lower by more than an order of magnitude than those observed in previous studies. Results for short-period body waves at the borehole instrument in particular were much better than those that were previously found for any ocean-bottom recording.

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