Autocorrelation analysis of ambient noise in northeastern Japan subduction zone

Yoshihiro Ito, Katsuhiko Shiomi, Junichi Nakajima, Ryota Hino

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10 Citations (Scopus)


We obtained ambient seismic noise interferograms as seismic reflection images using autocorrelation functions (ACFs) in the northeastern Japan subduction zone. The ACFs with a time window length of 120. s were calculated from the continuous seismic records obtained at each seismic station over an analysis period of 300. days. These ACFs show some distinct signals with relatively large amplitude without any significant temporal variations during the analysis period. The signals, which are stable, appear at both small lag times of less than 10. s and large lag times of 20-50. s during the analysis period. The lag time of 10. s corresponds to the travel time of the PP reflection arrival from the continental Mohorovičić discontinuity. The signals with the large lag times between 30 and 50. s correspond to the back-scattered signals from the mantle wedge or the plate boundary; these signals are identified clearly at the stations located on the back-arc side. In the ACFs calculated from the records obtained from the fore-arc side stations, weak signals (interpreted as the reflection from the plate boundary) with a lag time range of 20 to 30. s are observed. We constructed depth-migrated images using the ACFs to obtain the reflectivity profile by assuming that the ACFs represent Green's functions composed of a random wavefield excited by stochastic sources or scatterers distributed in the vertical or near-vertical direction from the stations. Further, we assumed that the ACFs can be treated as zero-offset seismic traces recorded at each of the stations. The depth-migrated images show a relatively seismically transparent structure within the subducting Pacific slab and a reflective structure within the mantle wedge; this reflective structure is characterized by low-velocity zones corresponding to the wedge flow imaged by 3-D seismic velocity tomography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 17


  • Autocorrelation functions
  • Depth-migrated imaging
  • Seismic interferometry
  • Subduction zone


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