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Spectral-Element Simulations of 3-D Seismic Wave Propagation and Applications to Source and Structural Inversions


Liu, Qinya (2006) Spectral-Element Simulations of 3-D Seismic Wave Propagation and Applications to Source and Structural Inversions. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/JZ6J-0257.


This thesis presents a concise introduction to the spectral-element method and its applications to the simulation of seismic wave propagation in 3-D earth models. The spectral-element method is implemented in the regional scale for a 3-D integrated southern California velocity model. Significantly better waveform fits are achieved for the 3-D synthetics calculated compare to the 1-D synthetics generated from the 1-D standard southern California model, especially for many basin stations where strong amplifications are observed due to the very low wave-speed sediments. A hypothetical earthquake rupturing from northeast to southwest at the southern end of the San Andreas fault is simulated to improve our understanding of the seismic hazards in the Salton Trough region.

With the improved 3-D Green's function, we perform source inversions for both the source mechanisms and event depths of $M_w geq 3.5$ earthquakes in southern California. The inversion results generally agree well with the results obtained by other traditional methods, but with significantly more stations used in the inversions. Time shifts are generally required to align the data and the synthetics, which provides a great dataset for the improvement of the 3-D velocity models in southern California.

We use the adjoint method to formulate the tomographic inverse problem based upon a 3-D initial model. We calculate the sensitivity kernels, a key component of the tomographic inversion, that relate the perturbations of observations to the perturbations of the model parameters. These kernels are constructed by the interaction of the regular forward wavefield and the adjoint wavefield generated by putting the time-reversed signals at the receivers as simultaneous adjoint sources. We compute the travel-time sensitivity kernels for typical phases in both regional and global problems for educational purposes, and outline the procedures of applying the conjugate-gradient method to solve both source and structural inversion problems.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:3-D Seismic Wave Propagation; moment-tensor inversion; Spectral-Element Simulation; Tomography inversion
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Tromp, Jeroen
Thesis Committee:
  • Stock, Joann M. (chair)
  • Helmberger, Donald V.
  • Tromp, Jeroen
  • Clayton, Robert W.
Defense Date:9 May 2006
Non-Caltech Author Email:liuqy (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05262006-172954
Persistent URL:
Liu, Qinya0000-0002-1071-2314
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2115
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Jun 2006
Last Modified:12 Nov 2021 20:55

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