Crustal properties from seismic station autocorrelograms

A. Gorbatov*, E. Saygin, B. L.N. Kennett

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)


    Stations on the Australian continent receive a rich mixture of continuous ground motion withambient seismic noise from the surrounding oceans, and numerous small earthquakes in the earthquake belts to the north in Indonesia, and east in Tonga-Kermadec, as well as more distatsource zones. The ground motion at a seismic station contains information about the structure inthe vicinity of the site, and this can be exploited by applying an autocorrelation procedure tothe continuous records. By creating stacked autocorrelograms of the ground motion at a singlestation, information on crust properties can be extracted in the form of a signal that includesthe crustal reflection response convolved with the autocorrelation of the combined effect ofsource excitation and the instrument response. After applying suitable high-pass filtering, thereflection component can be extracted to reveal the most prominent reflectors in the lower crust, which often correspond to the reflection at the Moho. Because the reflection signal is stacked from arrivals from a wide range of slownesses, the reflection response is somewhatdiffus, but still sufficient to provide useful constraints on the local crust beneath a seismicstation. Continuous vertical component records from 223 stations (permanent and temporary) across the continent have been processed using autocorrelograms of running windows 6 hr long with subsequent stacking. Adistinctive pulse with a time offset between 8 and 30 s from zero is found in the autocorrelation results, with frequency content between 1.5 and 4 Hz, suggesting P-wave multiples trapped in the crust. Synthetic modelling, with control of multiple phases, shows that a local pmp phase can be recovered with the autocorrelation approach. This identification enables us to make out the depth to the most prominent crustal reflector across the continent. We obtain results that largely conform to those from previous studies using a combination of data from refraction, reflection profiles and receiver functions. This approach can be used for crustal property extraction using just vertical component records, and effective results can be obtained with temporary deployments of just a few months.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)861-870
    Number of pages10
    JournalGeophysical Journal International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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