Body and surface wave ambient noise seismic interferometry across the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, California


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Virginia Tech


Virtual source gathers were generated using the principles of seismic interferometry from 135 hours of ambient noise recorded during a controlled-source survey across the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in southern California. The non-uniform nature of the noise sources violated a primary assumption of the method and generated artifacts in the data. The artifacts generated by the high-energy impulsive sources (e.g. earthquakes, shots) were removable using traditional methods of amplitude normalization prior to cross-correlation. The continuous source artifacts generated by the geothermal wells and highways required an unconventional approach of utilizing only normalized impulsive sources to successfully reduce the artifacts. Virtual source gathers were produced successfully that contained strong surface waves at 0.4-2.5 Hz, an order of magnitude below the corner frequency of the geophones, and modest body waves at 22-30 Hz, which are generally more difficult to obtain due to the need for many large, well-distributed subsurface sources. The virtual source gathers compare well to nearby explosive shots and are more densely spaced, but have a much lower signal-to-noise ratio. Analysis of the surface waves was complicated by strong higher-order modes. Spectral analysis of virtual source gathers required utilization of the geothermal plant energy, which produced usable signal at offsets required for mode separation. The virtual source dispersion curve compared well to a dispersion curve from a nearby explosive shot. P-waves were observed on the virtual source gathers. Creation of a low-quality multichannel reflection stack revealed two weak reflectors in the upper 2 km.



seismic interferometry, ambient noise, geophysics, reflection seismology