The seismic traffic footprint: Tracking trains, aircraft, and cars seismically

TitleThe seismic traffic footprint: Tracking trains, aircraft, and cars seismically
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRiahi N., Gerstoft P
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2015/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0094-8276
Accession NumberWOS:000354560800015
Keywordsambient noise; anisotropy; array; long beach; noise tomography; seismic noise; sensor network; spatiotemporal; traffic

Although naturally occurring vibrations have proven useful to probe the subsurface, the vibrations caused by traffic have not been explored much. Such data, however, are less sensitive to weather and low visibility compared to some common out-of-road traffic sensing systems. We study traffic-generated seismic noise measured by an array of 5200geophones that covered a7x10km area in Long Beach (California, USA) with a receiver spacing of 100m. This allows us to look into urban vibrations below the resolution of a typical city block. The spatiotemporal structure of the anthropogenic seismic noise intensity reveals the Blue Line Metro train activity, departing and landing aircraft in Long Beach Airport and their acceleration, and gives clues about traffic movement along the I-405 highway at night. As low-cost, stand-alone seismic sensors are becoming more common, these findings indicate that seismic data may be useful for traffic monitoring.

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