Microseisms from the Great Salt Lake

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Kyler James Goddard1, Keith D Koper1 and Valeriu Burlacu2, (1)University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, (2)UU Seismograph Stations, Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA

We performed frequency-dependent polarization and power analysis on continuous ambient seismic energy recorded by broadband seismic stations that were part of the Utah Regional Seismic Network (UU) for the years of 2001-2013. The number of broadband seismometers increased from 10 to 28 in this time period. As expected, at all 28 stations the single and double frequency peaks caused by microseisms were observed in the range of 3-20 s. At four of the stations located around the Great Salt Lake (BGU, HVU, NOQ, and SPU) an additional noise peak was intermittently observed in the period range of 0.8-1.2 s. This noise peak was strongest at SPU, a station located on the tip of a peninsula jutting into the lake from the north, and weakest at NOQ, a station located a few kilometers south of the lake in the Oquirrh Mountains. The noise peaks occur in both daytime and nighttime, and have durations lasting from a couple of hours to multiple days. They occur more frequently in the spring, summer, and fall, and less commonly in the winter. The occurrences of noise peaks in the summer show a day night pattern and seem to reach a peak during the night.

The time dependence of this 1-s seismic noise was compared to records of wind speed measured at 1-hr intervals from nearby meteorological stations run by the NWS, and to lake level gage height measurements made by the USGS. Correlations with wind speed and lake level were done for every month of the year in 2013. Results showed that the correlations with wind varied throughout the year from a high of 0.49 in November to a low of 0.20 in the month of January. The correlation with lake level also varied throughout the year and the strongest correlation was found in the month of December with a correlation of 0.43. While these correlation values are statistically significant, neither wind nor lake level can completely explain the seismic observations. Further work will be done comparing wind and lake level to the seismic data for the years of 2001-2012 over a broader range of periods. We are currently investigating whether this noise source can be used to image the basin structure of the Salt Lake Valley via cross-correlation.