F. Brenguier, R. Courbis, A. Mordret, X. Campman, P. Boué, M. Chmiel, T. Takano, T. Lecocq, W. Van der Veen, S. Postif, D. Hollis, Noise-based ballistic wave passive seismic monitoring. Part 1: body waves, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 221, Issue 1, April 2020, Pages 683–691

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Noise-based ballistic wave passive seismic monitoring. Part 1: body waves

Unveiling the mechanisms of earthquake and volcanic eruption preparation requires improving our ability to monitor the rock mass response to transient stress perturbations at depth. The standard passive monitoring seismic interferometry technique based on coda waves is robust but recovering accurate and properly localized P- and S-wave velocity temporal anomalies at depth is intrinsically limited by the complexity of scattered, diffracted waves. In order to mitigate this limitation, we propose a complementary, novel, passive seismic monitoring approach based on detecting weak temporal changes of velocities of ballistic waves recovered from seismic noise correlations. This new technique requires dense arrays of seismic sensors in order to circumvent the bias linked to the intrinsic high sensitivity of ballistic waves recovered from noise correlations to changes in the noise source properties. In this work we use a dense network of 417 seismometers in the Groningen area of the Netherlands, one of Europe's largest gas fields. Over the course of 1 month our results show a 1.5 per cent apparent velocity increase of the P wave refracted at the basement of the 700-m-thick sedimentary cover. We interpret this unexpected high value of velocity increase for the refracted wave as being induced by a loading effect associated with rainfall activity and possibly canal drainage at surface. We also observe a 0.25 per cent velocity decrease for the direct P-wave travelling in the near-surface sediments and conclude that it might be partially biased by changes in time in the noise source properties even though it appears to be consistent with complementary results based on ballistic surface waves presented in a companion paper and interpreted as a pore pressure diffusion effect following a strong rainfall episode. The perspective of applying this new technique to detect continuous localized variations of seismic velocity perturbations at a few kilometres depth paves the way for improved in situ earthquake, volcano and producing reservoir monitoring.

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