Reliable and accurate detection of P‐wave arrivals is a key step for the determination of seismic parameters. In this article, an innovative, automatic algorithm for detecting the P‐wave arrival was developed based on the fractal dimension theory and the ratio of short‐term and long‐term average fractal dimension, called STA/LTA fractal dimension algorithm (STAFD/LTAFD). The proposed algorithm was verified using seismic waveforms and synthesized seismic waveforms with different levels of the signal‐to‐noise ratio (SNR), and compared with both STA/LTA algorithm and STA/LTA+AIC (Akaike information criterion) algorithm. The results from the study show that when dealing with seismic waveforms with high signal level, the STAFD/LTAFD algorithm has similar accuracy as the STA/LTA+AIC algorithm; however, for waveforms with lower SNR the STAFD/LTAFD algorithm performed better than the STA/LTA+AIC algorithm in P‐wave detection.

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