Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/11982
Authors: Berbellini, Andrea* 
Morelli, Andrea* 
Ferreira, Ana M. G.* 
Title: Ellipticity of Rayleigh waves in basin and hard-rock sites in Northern Italy
Issue Date: Apr-2016
Series/Report no.: / 206 (2016)
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggw159
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2122/11982
Keywords: seismology, seismic tomography, ellipticity, surface waves
Subject Classification04.06. Seismology 
Abstract: We measure ellipticity of teleseismic Rayleigh waves at 95 seismic stations in Northern Italy, for wave period between 10 and 110 s, using an automatic technique and a large volume of high-quality seismic recordings from over 500 global earthquakes that occurred in 2008– 2014. Northern Italy includes a wide range of crustal structures, from the wide and deep Po Plain sedimentary basin to outcropping sedimentary and crystalline rocks in the Northern Apennines and Alps. It thus provides an excellent case for studying the influence of shallow earth structure on polarization of surface waves. The ellipticity measurements show excellent spatial correlation with geological features in the region, such as high ellipticity associated with regions of low seismic velocity in the Po Plain and low ellipticity values in faster, hard rock regions in the Alps and Apennine mountains. Moreover, the observed ellipticity values also relate to the thickness of the basement, as highlighted by observed differences beneath the Alps and the Apennines. Comparison between observations and predicted ellipticity from a reference crustal model of the region show substantial fit, particularly for T ∼ 38 s data. Discrepancy for shorter wave period suggests that slight modifications of the model are needed, and that the ellipticity measurements could help to better constrain the shallow crustal structure of the region. Predictions for the Po Plain are larger than the observations by a factor of four or more and transition from retrograde to prograde Rayleigh wave motion at the surface for periods of T ∼ 10–13 s is predicted for seismic stations in the plain. Analysis of corresponding real data indicates a possible detection of teleseismic prograde particle motion, but the weak teleseismic earthquake signals are mixed with ambient noise signals at the predicted, short, transition periods. Detection of the period of polarity inversion from the joint analysis of earthquake and ambient noise ellipticity measurements may provide further, stringent, constraints on the structure of sedimentary basins.
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