Journal of Seismology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 27–49 | Cite as

Low signal-to-noise event detection based on waveform stacking and cross-correlation: application to a stimulation experiment

  • Katrin Plenkers
  • Joachim R. R. RitterEmail author
  • Marion Schindler
Original Article


We study the microseismicity (M L  < 2) in the region of Landau, SW Germany. Here, due to thick sediments (~3 km) and high cultural seismic noise, the signal-to-noise ratio is in general very low for microearthquakes. To gain new insights into the occurrence of very small seismic events, we apply a three-step detection approach and are able to identify 207 microseismic events (−1 < M L  < ~1) with signal-to-noise ratios smaller than 3. Recordings from a temporary broadband network are used with station distances of approximately 10 km. First, we apply a short-term to long-term average detection algorithm for data reduction. The detection algorithm is affected severely by transient noise signals. Therefore, the most promising detections, selected by coinciding triggers and high-amplitude measures, are reviewed manually. Thirteen seismic events are identified in this way. Finally, we conduct a cross-correlation analysis. As master template, we use the stacked waveforms of five manually detected seismic events with a repeating waveform. This search reveals additional 194 events with a cross-correlation coefficient exceeding 0.65 which ensures a stable identification. Our analysis shows that the repeating events occurred during the stimulation of a geothermal reservoir within a source region of only about 0.5 km3. Natural background seismicity exceeding our detection level of M L  ~ 0.7 is not found in the region of Landau by our analysis.


Induced seismicity Event detection 



This study was funded by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Consumer Protection of Rhineland-Palatinate. The TIMO project was funded by the Geophysical Institute of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology which also provided the KABBA instruments. Data for Fig. 10 were provided by geo x GmbH. Figure 1 was produced using GMT (Wessel and Smith 1998) and data analysis was conducted with SeismicHandler (Stammler 1993) and MATLAB. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrin Plenkers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joachim R. R. Ritter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marion Schindler
    • 3
  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of TechnologyGeophysical InstituteKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Swiss Seismological Survey (SED)ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.BESTEC GmbHLandauGermany

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