Natural Migration of Scattered Surface Waves from Correlated Ambient Noise: Applications on Long Beach Array and US-Array

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Abdullah AlTheyab1, Eli Joseph Workman2, Fan-Chi Lin2 and Gerard T Schuster1, (1)King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, (2)University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Correlation of ambient seismic noise gives traces that are an approximation to the time-derivative of the Green's function between two recording stations. These empirical Greens functions often contain the incident surface-waves and backscattered waves, which can be migrated to image near-surface discontinuities and scatterers. Traditional migration approaches require an approximation of the near-surface velocity field and proper modeling of elastic waves to estimate the Green's functions from the source and receiver positions to every image-point. With dense passive seismic array acquisition and ambient noise cross-correlations, each station can be considered as both a virtual source and a receiver and near-surface scatterers can be imaged across the array using only the empirical Green's functions. This new imaging approach is referred to as natural migration because the Green's functions needed for migration are naturally estimated from the crosscorrelograms of recorded traces. The advantages of natural migration are that it does not require estimation of the near-surface velocity or modeling of elastic waves. In addition, natural migration simultaneously images both low- and higher-order scattering and mode converted waves. The disadvantage is that the image resolution is dependent on the distribution of seismic receivers. To validate this concept, natural migration is applied to crosscorrelograms of passive data recorded by the Long Beach array and the USArray. The resulting migration images highlight known discontinuities from tomography and correlate to prominent geological boundaries at two very different scales: (1) tectonic scale such as the edge of the Atlantic Plain Province in southeastern US and (2) regional scale structure in Long Beach, California. The migration images can be used along with tomography methods to improve structure sharpness in a model construction.