Since 2004, the most complete estimate of background noise levels across the continental U.S. was attained using 61 broadband seismic stations to calculate power spectral density (PSD) probability density functions. To improve seismic noise estimates across the U.S., we examine vertical component seismic data from the EarthScope USArray Transportable Array seismic network that rolled across the U.S. and southeastern Canada between 2004 and 2015 and form a large (10 TB) PSD database from 1679 stations that contains no smoothing or binning of the spectral estimates. Including station outages, our database has a mean of 98.9% data completeness, and we present maps showing the spatial and temporal variability of seismic noise in six bands of interest between 0.2- and 75-s period. At 0.2 s period, seismic noise across the eastern U.S. is predominantly anthropogenically generated and may be subsequently amplified more than 20 decibels in the sandy and water-saturated sediments of the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain and Mississippi Embayment. In these sediments, 1 s noise shows similar amplification and is generated through a variety of mechanisms including cultural activity throughout Kentucky and the southeastern Appalachian Mountains, lake waves around the Great Lakes, and ocean waves throughout New England, the Pacific Northwest, and Florida. Both 0.2 and 1 s noise levels are the lowest in the Intermountain West portion of the U.S. We attribute this to a combination of installations on crystalline rocks and reduced population density. Finally, we find that sensors emplaced in sandy, water-saturated sediments observe median, diurnal variations in vertical component power at 18 to 75 s period, which we infer arise through local deformation driven by pressure variations. Ultimately, our results underscore that for shallow (<5 m depth) sensor installation, bedrock provides superior broadband noise performance compared to unconsolidated sediments.
|Title||Seismic background noise levels across the continental United States from USArray Transportable Array: The influence of geology and geography|
|Authors||Robert E. Anthony, Adam T. Ringler, David C. Wilson|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geologic Hazards Science Center|