Ambient noise Rayleigh wave tomography across Europe

Yingjie Yang*, Michael H. Ritzwoller, Anatoli L. Levshin, Nikolai M. Shapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

544 Citations (Scopus)


We extend ambient noise surface wave tomography both in bandwidth (10-50 s period) and in geographical extent (across much of Europe) compared with previous applications. 12 months of ambient noise data from 2004 are analysed. The data are recorded at about 125 broad-band Seismic stations from the Global Seismic Network and the Orfeus Virtual European Broad-band seismic Network. Cross-correlations are computed in daily segments, stacked over 1 yr, and Rayleigh wave group dispersion curves from 8 to 50 s period are measured using a phase-matched filter, frequency time analysis technique. We estimate measurement uncertainties using the seasonal variation of the dispersion curves revealed in 3 month stacks. On average, uncertainties in group delays increase with period from ∼3 to ∼7 s from periods of 10 to 50 s, respectively. Group speed maps at periods from 10 to 50 s are estimated. The resulting path coverage is denser and displays a more uniform azimuthal distribution than from earthquake-emitted surface waves. The fit of the group speed maps to the ambient noise data is significantly improved below 30 s compared to the fit achieved with earthquake data. Average resolution is estimated to be about 100 km at 10 s period, but degrades with increasing period and toward the periphery of the study region. The resulting ambient noise group speed maps demonstrate significant agreement with known geological and tectonic features. In particular, the signatures of sedimentary basins and crustal thickness are revealed clearly in the maps. These results are evidence that surface wave tomography based on cross-correlations of long time-series of ambient noise data can be achieved over a broad period band on nearly a continental scale and yield higher resolution and more reliable group speed maps than based on traditional earthquake-based measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-274
Number of pages16
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambient noise
  • Cross-correlations
  • Europe
  • Surface waves
  • Tomography


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