Antarctic ice sheet thickness estimation using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio method with single-station seismic ambient noise

Yan, Peng; Li, Zhiwei; Li, Fei; Yang, Yuande; Hao, Weifeng; Bao, Feng

We report on a successful application of the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (H / V) method, generally used to investigate the subsurface velocity structures of the shallow crust, to estimate the Antarctic ice sheet thickness for the first time. Using three-component, five-day long, seismic ambient noise records gathered from more than 60 temporary seismic stations located on the Antarctic ice sheet, the ice thickness measured at each station has comparable accuracy to the Bedmap2 database. Preliminary analysis revealed that 60 out of 65 seismic stations on the ice sheet obtained clear peak frequencies (f0) related to the ice sheet thickness in the H / V spectrum. Thus, assuming that the isotropic ice layer lies atop a high velocity half-space bedrock, the ice sheet thickness can be calculated by a simple approximation formula. About half of the calculated ice sheet thicknesses were consistent with the Bedmap2 ice thickness values. To further improve the reliability of ice thickness measurements, two-type models were built to fit the observed H / V spectrum through non-linear inversion. The two-type models represent the isotropic structures of single- and two-layer ice sheets, and the latter depicts the non-uniform, layered characteristics of the ice sheet widely distributed in Antarctica. The inversion results suggest that the ice thicknesses derived from the two-layer ice models were in good concurrence with the Bedmap2 ice thickness database, and that ice thickness differences between the two were within 300 m at almost all stations. Our results support previous finding that the Antarctic ice sheet is stratified. Extensive data processing indicates that the time length of seismic ambient noise records can be shortened to two hours for reliable ice sheet thickness estimation using the H / V method. This study extends the application fields of the H / V method and provides an effective and independent way to measure ice sheet thickness in Antarctica.

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Yan, Peng / Li, Zhiwei / Li, Fei / et al: Antarctic ice sheet thickness estimation using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio method with single-station seismic ambient noise. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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