A Caltech Library Service

Complex polarization analysis of particle motion

Vidale, John E. (1986) Complex polarization analysis of particle motion. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 76 (5). pp. 1393-1405. ISSN 0037-1106.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Knowledge of particle motion polarization aids in identifying phases on three-component seismograms. The scheme of Montalbetti and Kanasewich (1970) is extended to analytic three-component seismograms, where the imaginary part of the signal is the Hilbert transform of the real part. This scheme has only one free parameter, the length of the time window over which the polarization parameters are estimated, so it can be applied in a routine way to three-component data. The azimuth and dip of the direction of maximum polarization and the degree of elliptical polarization as a function of time for the seismograms are obtained. Polarization analysis of strong motion data from the 1971 San Fernando earthquake aids in the discrimination between wave types, which is important for the understanding of the complicated earthquake-induced shaking observed in basins. Most arrivals are incident on the receivers in the direction of the back-azimuth to the epicenter, which suggests that despite the complicated motions, two-dimensional finite difference methods are sufficient to understand the effect on seismic waves of the Los Angeles and San Fernando basins (Vidale and Helmberger, 1986b).

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1986 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 16 January 1986. This work was partly supported by Air Force-Cambridge Grant F19628-83-K-0010 and NSF Grant CEE-8121719. J. E. V. was supported by an NSF fellowship. Donald V. Helmberger gave valuable advice, and critical reviews by Heidi Houston, Don L. Anderson, Richard Stead, and an anonymous reviewer were helpful. Contribution number 4300 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)F19628-83-K-0010
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4900
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140813-132610954
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Vidale, J. E. (1986). Complex polarization analysis of particle motion. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 76(5), 1393-1405.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48515
Deposited On:13 Aug 2014 21:45
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:04

Repository Staff Only: item control page