Implications of sea ice on Southern Ocean microseisms detected by a seismic array in West Antarctica

Martin J. Pratt, Douglas A. Wiens, J. Paul Winberry, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Garrett G. Euler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The proximity of Southern Ocean storms coupled with seasonal variation in sea ice make Antarctica ideal for the study of microseism sources. We explore frequency-dependent beamforming results using a short-duration, 60 km aperture, broad-band seismic array located on the Whillans Ice Stream,West Antarctica. Locations of single-frequency microseism (13-16 s period) generation are in regions where the continental shelf is ice-free, consistent with previous studies, and show Rayleigh wave sources remaining at consistent backazimuths throughout the duration of the array. Beamforming analysis of daily noise correlations shows that long-period double-frequency microseisms (9-11 s) consist predominantly of Rayleigh waves excited by storms in the Southern Ocean. Modelling of source locations based on wave-wave interaction provides a good fit to our data at these periods. We show that short-period double-frequency microseisms (5-7 s) in Antarctica consist of crustal phase Lg and body waves. Lg arrivals propagate through regions of continental crust and our data show that the Lg energy is generated when storm systems interact with the sea-ice-free continental shelf during austral summers. Ultra-short-period (0.3-2 s) microseismic body waves back project to regions that correlate with oceanic storm systems in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-507
Number of pages16
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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