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What can the sound of earthquakes tell us about a planet’s interior structure?

Brissaud, Quentin and Krishnamoorthy, Siddharth and Jackson, Jennifer M. and Bowman, Daniel C. and Komjathy, Attila and Cutts, James and Zhan, Zhongwen and Pauken, Michael T. and Izraelevitz, Jacob S. and Walsh, Gerald J. (2021) What can the sound of earthquakes tell us about a planet’s interior structure? In: AGU 2021 Fall Meeting, 13-17 December 2021, New Orleans, LA and virtual. (Unpublished)

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Deploying seismic or infrasound arrays on the ground to probe a planet’s interior structure remains challenging in remote regions facing harsh surface conditions such as Venus with a surface temperature of 464°C. Fortunately, a fraction of the seismic energy transmits in the upper atmosphere as infrasound waves, i.e. low-frequency pressure perturbations (< 20Hz). On July 22, 2019, a heliotrope balloon, equipped with pressure sensors, was launched from the Johnson Valley, CA with the objective of capturing infrasound signals from the aftershock sequence of the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake. At 16:27:36 UTC, the sound of a natural earthquake of Mw 4.2 was detected for the first time by a balloon platform. This observation offered the opportunity to attempt the first inversion of seismic velocities from the atmosphere. Shear velocities extracted by our analytical inversion method fell within a reasonable range from the values provided by regional tomographic models. While our analysis was limited by the observation’s low signal-to-noise ratio, future observations of seismic events from a network of balloons carrying multiple pressure sensors could provide excellent constraints on crustal properties. However, to build robust estimates of seismic properties, inversion procedures will have to account for uncertainties in terms of velocity models, source locations, and instrumental errors. In this contribution, we will discuss the current state of balloon-based observations, the sensitivity of the acoustic wavefield on subsurface properties, and perspectives on future inversions of seismically-induced acoustic data.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Brissaud, Quentin0000-0001-8189-4699
Krishnamoorthy, Siddharth0000-0002-0379-1616
Jackson, Jennifer M.0000-0002-8256-6336
Bowman, Daniel C.0000-0002-9341-520X
Komjathy, Attila0000-0002-5975-438X
Cutts, James0000-0002-1765-8322
Zhan, Zhongwen0000-0002-5586-2607
Pauken, Michael T.0000-0002-3993-675X
Additional Information:CC_BY_NC_ND_4.0
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211213-518517000
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112375
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:14 Dec 2021 02:49
Last Modified:14 Dec 2021 02:49

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