Single-station cross-correlation analysis of ambient seismic noise: Application to stations in the surroundings of the 2008 Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake

Manuel Hobiger, Ulrich Wegler, Katsuhiko Shiomi, Hisashi Nakahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce the single-station cross-correlation (SC) technique of processing ambient seismic noise and compare its results with the established cross-correlation (CC) and autocorrelation (AC) techniques. While CC is the correlation of the signals of two seismic stations with each other and AC is the correlation of a signal with itself, SC is the correlation of two different components of a single three-component seismic sensor. The comparison of the three different correlation techniques shows that CCs give the best results at frequencies below 0.5 Hz and that SCs give the best results at higher frequencies. In all three processing techniques, ambient seismic noise is correlated in order to reconstruct the Green's function describing the wave propagation between the first and the second sensor. By relating the coda parts of the daily Green's functions with the long-term reference Green's functions, shear wave velocity changes are determined. Here, we apply this technique to the data of 20 seismic stations in the surroundings of the fault zone of the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake (MW = 6.9), which occurred on 2008 June 13, UTC (2008 June 14, Japan Standard Time) in the northern part of the Japanese island Honshu. The data range from 2008 January to 2011 June and therefore include the Tohoku earthquake (MW = 9.0), which occurred on 2011 March 11, off the coast of northern Honshu. The data are analysed in five different frequency ranges between 0.125 and 4.0 Hz. The data show coseismic velocity changes for both earthquakes followed by a post-seismic velocity recovery. In general, the coseismic velocity changes increase with frequency. For the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake, the strongest velocity changes occur close to the fault zone. Quickly recovering coseismic velocity changes can be separated from changes not recovering during the study period. For the Tohoku earthquake, the complete area is affected by coseismic velocity changes. A modelling of the depth of the coseismic velocity changes indicates that the Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake can be explained either by large shallow velocity changes or by small, but deep changes. For one station, the observations can only be explained by assuming deeper changes. For the Tohoku earthquake, the modelling shows that different parts of the study area are affected in different ways, some showing shallow changes, others deeper changes. Furthermore, seasonal velocity variations occur, which are compatible for the different stations above 0.5 Hz, with velocity maxima in autumn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-109
Number of pages20
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept


  • Coda waves
  • Interferometry
  • Surface waves and free oscillations
  • Wave scattering and diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Single-station cross-correlation analysis of ambient seismic noise: Application to stations in the surroundings of the 2008 Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this