Probing Near Surface Shear Velocity Structure from Ambient Noise in Hefei Urban Area

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Cheng Li, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China, Huajian Yao, University of Science and Technology of China, Laboratory of Seismology and Physics of Earth’s Interior, Hefei, China and Hongjian Fang, USTC University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
Ambient noise tomography has widely been used to achieve high resolution 3-D crustal velocity structure. Recently, various studies also indicate that high-frequency surface wave signals can be extracted from cross correlation of ambient noise. So it makes ambient noise tomography capable to investigate near surface velocity structure. This is important for studies related to strong motion estimation due to earthquakes and characterization of structure in oil and gas exploration fields.

Here we investigate near surface 3-D velocity structure using high-frequency (0.5 – 2 Hz) ambient noise tomography in the urban area of Hefei city, Anhui province in eastern China. We collected continuous ambient noise data of two weeks from 17 stations in the center of city with a lateral scale about 5 km by 7 km. The S-transform technique is used to stack vertical-component cross-correlation functions from hourly data, which yields much higher SNR of the high frequency surface waves than traditional linear stack. We developed a ray-tracing based iterative surface wave tomography method with spatial smoothing constraints (model regularization) based on ray path density.This method is used to construct frequency-dependent phase velocity maps in the study area, which can account for the effect of ray bending in the tomographic inversion. We also developed a new direct surface wave inversion method to iteratively invert surface wave dispersion data of all paths for 3-D variations of shear wave velocity in the study area without the intermediate step of phase or group velocity maps.The method uses frequency dependent propagation paths and a wavelet-based sparsity-constrained tomography inversion.

Hefei city is located in a basin and its southern suburb close to the Chao Lake, the fifth largest lake in China. The inversion results show that the north part has much higher velocity(~2.5 km/s) in the top several hundred meters than the south part(~0.8 km/s), basically consistent with the regional geology and some borehole data. Since the variation of near surface velocity structure is large, we observe complex ray paths. In order to study deeper structure (e.g., around a few kilometers at depth), we need to extend the array to a broader area in order to retrieve surface waves at lower frequencies from ambient noise cross-correlation.