Time reversal location of glacial earthquakes

Carène Larmat, Jeroen Tromp, Qinya Liu, Jean Paul Montagner

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76 Scopus citations


In 2003, Ekström et al. reported the detection and location of a new class of earthquakes occurring in the polar regions of the Earth. The proposed source mechanism involves large and sudden sliding motions of glaciers, which gave the name "glacial earthquakes" to these events. In this study we localize some of these earthquakes with a time reversal mirror (TRM) algorithm, which, contrary to ordinary back projection methods, does not involve testing each possible source location. In TRM localization, an earthquake is located on the basis of only one 3-D spectral element simulation of seismic wave propagation by using the full complexity of recorded data as simultaneous time-reversed sources. We show that on the basis of this approach, even glacial earthquakes with a faint signal can be correctly localized and that the pattern of the time-reversed wavefield is coherent with the motion of glaciers down their valley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberB09314
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 4 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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