Extraction of triplicated PKP phases from noise correlations

Han H. Xia, Xiaodong Song, Tao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ambient noise correlation method has been widely used to extract surface waves and tomography. The extraction of body waves has been very limited, but recent reports have suggested promises for deep incident waves. Here we report our first observations of triplicated PKP phases (important phases for studying the Earth's core) and confirm observations of other body-wave core phases from noise correlations. We use dense seismic arrays in South America and China Regional Seismic Networks at distances from 145° to the antipode. We can clearly observe different PKP branches (df, bc and ab) in stacks of the station-station correlations. Both ambient noise and earthquake coda contribute to PKP phases. However, the contributions vary with frequency and with body-wave phases. At shorter periods (5-20 s), three branches of PKP (df, bc and ab) can be extracted from ambient noise and the ab phase from earthquake coda. At longer periods (15-50 s), earthquake coda are effective in generating the df branch, but not the ab branch. The generation of the PKIKP phase (df branch) from earthquake coda does not depend on earthquake focal mechanisms or focal depths. However, earthquakes far from the stations contribute more than events closer by. The best coda window is around 10 000-40 000 s and the best magnitude threshold is Mw greater than 6.8 or 6.9. The observation of triplicated PKP branches from noise correlations provides a new type of data for studying the Earth's deep interior, in particularly the inner core anisotropy, which overcomes some of the limitations of traditional earthquake-based studies (such as limited source distributions and source location errors).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Body waves
  • Inner core
  • Noise correlation
  • PKP triplication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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