Abstract

In the classic microseismic band of 5–20 sec, seismic noise consists mainly of fundamental mode Rayleigh and Love waves; however, at shorter periods seismic noise also contains a significant amount of body-wave energy and higher mode surface waves. In this study we perform a global survey of Earth’s short-period seismic noise field with the goal of quantifying the relative contributions of these propagation modes. We examined a year’s worth of vertical component data from 18 seismic arrays of the International Monitoring System that were sited in a variety of geologic environments. The apertures of the arrays varied from 2 to 28 km, constraining the periods we analyzed to 0.25–2.5 sec. Using frequency-wavenumber analysis we identified the apparent velocity for each sample of noise and classified its mode of propagation. The dominant component was found to be Lg, occurring in about 50% of the noise windows. Because Lg does not propagate across ocean–continent boundaries, this energy is most likely created in shallow water areas near coastlines. The next most common component was P-wave energy, which accounted for about 28% of the noise windows. These were split between regional P waves (Pn/Pg at 6%), mantle bottoming P waves (14%), and core-sensitive waves (PKP at 8%). This energy is mostly generated in deep water away from coastlines, with a region of the North Pacific centered at 165° W and 40° N being especially prolific. The remainder of the energy arriving in the noise consisted of Rg waves (28%), a large fraction of which may have a cultural origin. Hence, in contrast to the classic microseismic band of 5–20 sec, at shorter periods fundamental mode Rayleigh waves are the least significant component.

You do not currently have access to this article.