Estimating correlations of neighboring frequencies in ambient seismic noise

Xin Liu, & Yehuda Ben-Zion

Published October 15, 2016, SCEC Contribution #7109

Extracting accurate empirical Green’s functions from the ambient seismic noise field requires the noise to be fully diffuse and that different frequency components are not correlated. Calculating a matrix of correlation coefficients of power spectral samples can be used to estimate deviations from a fully diffuse random noise field in the analyzed frequency range. A fully diffuse field has correlations only in a narrow region around the diagonal of the matrix, with frequency resolution inversely proportional to length of the used time window. Analysis of low frequency data (0.005-0.6 Hz) recorded by three broadband stations of the southern California seismic network reveals three common types of correlations, manifested in the correlation coefficient matrix as square, diagonal halo and correlated stripes. Synthetic calculations show that these types of signatures in the correlation coefficient matrix can result from certain combinations of cross-frequency correlated random components and diffuse field. The analysis of observed data indicates that the secondary microseismic peak around 0.15 Hz is correlated with its neighboring frequencies, while the primary peak around 0.06 Hz is more diffuse. This suggests that the primary and secondary peaks may be associated with somewhat different physical origins. In addition, significant correlation of frequencies below that of the primary microseismic peak suggests that the very low frequencies noise is less scattered during propagation. The power spectra recorded by a station close to the edge of the Los Angles basin is higher compared to data recorded by stations outside the basin perhaps because of enhanced basin reverberations and/or closer proximity to the ocean. This and other regional variations should be tested further using data from many more stations.

Liu, X., & Ben-Zion, Y. (2016). Estimating correlations of neighboring frequencies in ambient seismic noise. Geophys. J. Int., 206, 1065–1075. doi: doi:10.1093/gji/ggw196.