Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 172, Issue 2, pp 213–224 | Cite as

Auto Correlation Analysis of Coda Waves from Local Earthquakes for Detecting Temporal Changes in Shallow Subsurface Structures: the 2011 Tohoku-Oki, Japan Earthquake

  • Hisashi Nakahara


For monitoring temporal changes in subsurface structures I propose to use auto correlation functions of coda waves from local earthquakes recorded at surface receivers, which probably contain more body waves than surface waves. Use of coda waves requires earthquakes resulting in decreased time resolution for monitoring. Nonetheless, it may be possible to monitor subsurface structures in sufficient time resolutions in regions with high seismicity. In studying the 2011 Tohoku-Oki, Japan earthquake (Mw 9.0), for which velocity changes have been previously reported, I try to validate the method. KiK-net stations in northern Honshu are used in this analysis. For each moderate earthquake normalized auto correlation functions of surface records are stacked with respect to time windows in the S-wave coda. Aligning the stacked, normalized auto correlation functions with time, I search for changes in phases arrival times. The phases at lag times of <1 s are studied because changes at shallow depths are focused. Temporal variations in the arrival times are measured at the stations based on the stretching method. Clear phase delays are found to be associated with the mainshock and to gradually recover with time. The amounts of the phase delays are 10 % on average with the maximum of about 50 % at some stations. The deconvolution analysis using surface and subsurface records at the same stations is conducted for validation. The results show the phase delays from the deconvolution analysis are slightly smaller than those from the auto correlation analysis, which implies that the phases on the auto correlations are caused by larger velocity changes at shallower depths. The auto correlation analysis seems to have an accuracy of about several percent, which is much larger than methods using earthquake doublets and borehole array data. So this analysis might be applicable in detecting larger changes. In spite of these disadvantages, this analysis is still attractive because it can be applied to many records on the surface in regions where no boreholes are available.


Temporal changes coda waves auto correlation Tohoku-Oki earthquake 



Seismograms recorded by KiK-net and managed by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) were used in this study. I am grateful to Takeshi Nishimura, Florent Brenguier, Mare Yamamoto and the other members of our Japan-France “Namazu” project for enlightening discussions. The idea for the method used in this study came from long collaboration with Kazuo Yoshimoto. Comments from the editor, Dr. Koji Uenishi, and two anonymous reviewers were really helpful to improve the quality of this manuscript. Some of the figures were made using the Generic Mapping Tool (Wessel and Smith 1998). This study was partially supported by the JST J-RAPID program and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 24540449 and 23540449.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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