Abstract

We investigate coherences of seismic data recorded during three years (2015–2017) at the Piñon Flats Observatory (PY) array and a collocated 148 m deep borehole station B084, along with oceanic data from a buoy southwest of the PY array. Seismic and barometric recordings at PY stations are analyzed with a multitaper spectral technique. The coherence of signals from seismic sources is >0.6 at 0.05–8 Hz between closely spaced (<65  m) surface stations and decreases to 0.2 in frequency bands in which the wavelengths are smaller than interstation distances. There are several local coherence increases at 1–8 Hz between nearby (<65  m) surface stations, whereas large coherence values between a surface and 148 m deep borehole stations are only present at the secondary microseism (0.14  Hz). These points to significant modification of seismic recordings in the top crust, and those continual near‐surface failures might produce shallow rapidly attenuating signals at surface stations. Incoherent local atmospheric effects induce incoherent seismic signals in low‐ and high‐frequency ranges through different coupling mechanisms. Between 0.003 and 0.05 Hz, atmospheric loadings generate ground tilts that contaminate the two horizontal seismic recordings and decrease their coherence, whereas the vertical component is less affected. At 1–8 Hz, coupling of atmospheric pressure with surface structures transmits incoherent signals into the ground, degrading the seismic coherence in all three components. The two horizontal coherences show seasonal variations with extended coherent frequency bands in winter and spring, likely to be produced by seasonal variations in microseisms and local ground tilts. The coherences also contain high anomalies between 2 and 4 Hz resulting from anthropogenic activities. The results provide useful information on instrument characteristics and variations in the shallow crustal response to earthquakes, seasonal and ambient sources of seismic energy, along with atmospheric pressure–temperature changes and anthropogenic activities.

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