Abstract / Description of output
It is a well-established principle that cross-correlating seismic observations at different receiver locations can yield estimates of band-limited inter-receiver Green’s functions. This principle, known as Green’s function retrieval or seismic interferometry, is a powerful technique that can transform noise into signals which enable remote interrogation and imaging of the Earth’s subsurface. In practice it is often necessary and even desirable to rely on noise already present in the environment. Theory that underpins many applications of ambient noise interferometry assumes that the sources of noise are uncorrelated in time. However, many real-world noise sources such as trains, highway traffic and ocean waves are inherently correlated in space and time, in direct contradiction to the these theoretical foundations. Applying standard interferometric techniques to recordings from correlated energy sources makes the Green’s function liable to estimation errors that so far have not been fully accounted for theoretically nor in practice. We show that these errors are significant for common noise sources, always perturbing or entirely obscuring the phase one wishes to retrieve. Our analysis explains why stacking may reduce the phase errors, but also shows that in commonly encountered circumstances stacking will not remediate the problem. This analytical insight allowed us to develop a novel workflow that significantly mitigates effects arising from the use of correlated noise sources. Our methodology can be used in conjunction with already existing approaches, and improves results from both correlated and uncorrelated ambient noise. Hence, we expect it to be widely applicable in ambient noise studies.