Probabilistic inversion of circular phase spectra: Application to two-station phase-velocity dispersion estimation in western Canada


Periodic directional and temporal measurements are common in seismology, and necessitate specific statistical analyses that are appropriate for circular quantities. In this work, we explore the use of a von Mises distribution as a representation of errors on circular seismological observations. Specifically, we automate the estimation of surface-wave phase-velocity dispersion for the teleseismic two-station method, which generally suffers from a 2π phase ambiguity. The use of Bayesian inverse techniques, which aim to rigorously quantify model parameter uncertainty, have become widespread throughout seismology over the last decade. Here, we apply Bayesian inversion to measurements of surface-wave phase spectra in order to estimate 1-D, path-averaged Earth structure between station pairs. The dispersion curve and associated uncertainties are additional results of the inversion, which can then be used as input for subsequent analyses (e.g. tomography). We demonstrate this technique through application to surface-wave recordings from long-running seismic stations throughout western Canada. Our results for over 10 000 station pairs reveal first-order tectonic features consistent with previous studies, which provides confidence in our approach as well as an initial step towards resolving a full 3-D seismic velocity model for the region. This work also presents a foundation for the inversion of surface-wave phase spectra to estimate 3-D Earth structure directly. Finally, the ideas presented in this work are not limited to the inversion of surface-wave phase spectra, but can also be considered for Bayesian geophysical inversion of any circular quantities.

Geophysical Journal International
Dr. Jeremy Gosselin
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow

My research interests include Seismology, Inverse problems, and Tectonics.