Improving cross-correlations of ambient noise using an rms-ratio selection stacking method

Jinyun Xie, Yingjie Yang, Yinhe Luo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Stacking of ambient noise correlations is a crucial step to extract empirical Green's functions (EGFs) between station pairs. The traditional method is to linearly stack all short-duration cross-correlation functions (CCFs) over a long period of time to obtain final stacks. It requires at least several months of ambient noise data to obtain reliable phase velocities at periods of several to tens of seconds from CCFs. In this study, we develop a new stacking method named root-mean-square ratio selection stacking (RMSR-SS) to reduce the time duration required for the recovery of EGFs from ambient noise. In our RMSR-SS method, rather than stacking all short-duration CCFs, we first judge if each of the short-duration CCF constructively contributes to the recovery of EGFs or not. Then, we only stack those CCFs which constructively contribute to the convergence of EGFs. By applying our method to synthetic noise data, we demonstrate how our method works in enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio of CCFs by rejecting noise sources which do not positively contribute to the recovery of EGFs. Then, we apply our method to real noise data recorded in western USA. We show that reliable and accurate phase velocities can be measured from 15-d long ambient noise data using our RMSR-SS method. By applying our method to ambient noise tomography (ANT), we can reduce the deployment duration of seismic stations from several months or years to a few tens of days, significantly improving the efficiency of ANT in imaging crust and upper-mantle structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1002
Number of pages14
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

This article has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Journal International © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


  • Computational seismology
  • Seismic tomography
  • Surface waves and free oscillations


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