Towards monitoring the englacial fracture state using virtual-reflector seismology

F. Lindner, C. Weemstra, F. Walter, C. Hadziioannou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


In seismology, coda wave interferometry (CWI) is an effective tool to monitor time-lapse changes using later arriving, multiply scattered coda waves. Typically, CWI relies on an estimate of the medium's impulse response. The latter is retrieved through simple time-averaging of receiver-receiver cross-correlations of the ambient field, that is, seismic interferometry (SI). In general, the coda is induced by heterogeneities in the Earth. Being comparatively homogeneous, however, ice bodies such as glaciers and ice sheets exhibit little scattering. In addition, the temporal stability of the time-averaged cross-correlations suffers from temporal variations in the distribution and amplitude of the passive seismic sources. Consequently, application of CWI to ice bodies is currently limited. Nevertheless, fracturing and changes in the englacial macroscopic water content alter the bulk elastic properties of ice bodies, which can be monitored with cryoseismological measurements. To overcome the current limited applicability of CWI to ice bodies, we therefore introduce virtual-reflector seismology (VRS). VRS relies on a so-called multidimensional deconvolution (MDD) process of the time-averaged crosscorrelations. The technique results in the retrieval of a medium response that includes virtual reflections from a contour of receivers enclosing the region of interest (i.e. the region to be monitored). The virtual reflections can be interpreted as artificial coda replacing the (lacking) natural scattered coda. Hence, this artificial coda might be exploited for the purpose of CWI. From an implementation point of view, VRS is similar to SI by MDD, which, as its name suggests, also relies on a multidimensional deconvolution process. SI by MDD, however, does not generate additional virtual reflections. Advantageously, both techniques mitigate spurious coda changes associated with temporal variations in the distribution and amplitude of the passive seismic sources. In this work, we apply SI by MDD and VRS to synthetic and active seismic surface-wave data. The active seismic data were acquired on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland. We successfully retrieve virtual reflections through the application of VRS to this active seismic data. In application to both synthetic and active seismic data, we show the potential of VRS to monitor time-lapse changes. In addition, we find that SI by MDD allows for a more accurate determination of phase velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-844
Number of pages20
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Coda waves
  • Fracture and flow
  • Glaciology
  • Seismic interferometry
  • Wave scattering and diffraction

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