Measurements and global models of surface wave propagation

Göran Ekström, Jeroen Tromp, Erik W.F. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Scopus citations


A new technique for making single-station phase velocity measurements is developed and applied to a large number of globally recorded Rayleigh and Love waves in the period range 35-150 s. The method is based on phase-matched filter theory and iteratively suppresses the effect of interfering overtones by minimizing residual dispersion. The model surface wave signal is described by its amplitude and apparent phase velocity, both of which are parameterized in terms of smooth B-spline functions of frequency. A misfit function is constructed which represents the difference between the model and observed waveforms, and the optimal spline coefficients are estimated in an iterative misfit minimization algorithm. In order to eliminate cycle skips in the measurements of phase at short periods, the waveforms are first matched at long periods, and the frequency range is gradually extended to include higher frequencies. The application of the algorithm to records from the Global Seismographic Network, using earthquakes in the Harvard centroid-moment tensor catalog, results in the determination of more than 50,000 high-quality dispersion curves. The observed variations in measured dispersion for pairwise similar paths are used to estimate realistic uncertainties in the data. Phase delays at discrete periods are inverted for global maps of variations in phase velocity expanded in spherical harmonics up to degree 40. A realistic resolution test . indicates that structures are well recovered up to at least degree 20. The new phase velocity maps explain 70-96% of the observed variance in phase residuals, reflecting the high internal consistency of the dispersion measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96JB03729
Pages (from-to)8137-8157
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue numberB4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurements and global models of surface wave propagation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this