3D S-wave velocity imaging of Reykjanes Peninsula high-enthalpy geothermal fields with ambient-noise tomography

Joana E. Martins, Kees Weemstra, Elmer Ruigrok, Arie Verdel, Philippe Jousset, Gylfi Hersir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Tomographic imaging based on ambient seismic noise measurements has shown to be a powerful tool, especially in areas like Iceland, where the microseism illumination is excellent. In this paper, we produce a 3D S-wave tomographic image over the western Reykjanes Peninsula high-enthalpy geothermal fields and evaluate the reliability of the tomographic results for different resolutions through simulated and real data. We use 30 broadband stations operating for approximately one-and-a-half year and apply ambient noise seismic interferometry for each station-pair. This results in empirical Green's functions in which especially the ballistic surface waves (BSW) are well resolved. The retrieved BSW exhibit a high signal-to-noise ratio between 0.1 and 0.5 Hz, and the beamforming analysis indicates an apparent surface-wave velocity of 3 km/s over a broad azimuthal range. For the tomographic inversion, we invert the estimated phase velocities between all station pairs to frequency-dependent phase velocity maps in four different resolutions (1, 2, 3, and 4 km) using a Tikhonov regularisation. With the estimated regularisation parameter per frequency per resolution, we invert simulated data for checkerboard sensitivity tests per frequency for different combinations of velocity anomaly sizes and resolutions.

Finally, after the inversion to depth, we detect S-wave velocity anomalies with variations between −15% and 15% with reference to an estimated average velocity using 1 km and 3 km of lateral resolutions and 1 km of vertical resolution. This study shows the potential of ambient noise tomography as complementary seismological tool for reservoir characterization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106685
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventEGU General Assembly 2018 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 8 Apr 201813 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Invited Research Article


  • Empirical green functions
  • Model resolution
  • Reservoir characterization
  • Seismic interferometry
  • Surface-waves
  • Velocity anomalies


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