ABSTRACT

The additional observation of three components of rotational ground motions has benefits for tilt‐seismometer coupling (e.g., ocean‐bottom seismometry and volcano seismology), local site characterization, wavefield separation, source inversion, glacial and planetary seismology, as well as the monitoring of structural health. Field applications have been mostly hampered by the lack of portable sensors with appropriate broadband operation range and weak‐motion sensitivity. Here, we present field observations of the first commercial portable broadband rotation sensor specifically designed for seismology. The sensor is a three‐component fiber‐optic gyro strictly sensitive to ground rotation only. The sensor field performance and records are validated by comparing it with both array‐derived rotation measurements and a navigation‐type gyro. We present observations of the 2018 Mw 5.4 Hualien earthquake and the 2016 central Italy earthquake sequence. Processing collocated rotation and classical translation records shows the potential in retrieving wave propagation direction and local structural velocity from point measurements comparable to small‐scale arrays of seismic stations. We consider the availability of a portable, broadband, high sensitivity, and low self‐noise rotation sensor to be a milestone in seismic instrumentation. Complete and accurate ground‐motion observations (assuming a rigid base plate) are possible in the near, local, or regional field, opening up a wide range of seismological applications.

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