PSN-L Email List Message
Subject: Re: Phase picking
From: Larry Cochrane lcochrane@..............
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 23:30:57 -0700
WinQuake can be used to learn how to pick the P and S waves using known event
information. To do this, the following things need to be correct:
The data needs to be accurately timestamped and the location of the sensor must be
known to a few meters. Nowadays, using GPS this shouldn't be a problem.
The reporting agency needs to report the location, depth and event time correctly.
The sensor to event distance must be under ~11000km do to the shadow effect of the
If these things are correct WinQuake, using the travel time tables, can place the P
and S markers very accurately on the seismogram. I'm constantly amazed at how
accurate the travel-time tables can be. The waves can take over 10 minutes to get to
the station and the calculated P wave arrival time is less then two or three seconds
off from the actual arrival time. That's less then a 0.5% error.
With a good signal to noise seismogram, the P wave should be easily picked no matter
if the data is in acceleration, velocity or displacement. It's the point where you
see the first out of noise signal from the event. Normally a vertical sensor will
display the P wave more clearly then a horizontal sensor.
Picking the S wave is much harder. A horizontal senor will display the S wave better
so using this type of sensor makes it easier to pick the start of this wave.
The depth of the event also makes a difference. With one seismogram it's hard to
determine this parameter. One clue that the event is under 33 km is the lack of large
Redwood City, PSN
> Hi all,
> I live on Long Island, New York. Local events are very rare here, so what I
> detect are mostly teleseisms. I consider myself pretty competent at the
> recording and signal processing of such events to obtain accurate broadband
> waveform reproduction and timing. My event waveforms correspond well with those of
> nearby LD network station PAL.
> I do not consider myself competent at P and S phase picking, and need
> advice. What is the criterion for judging phase arrival time? Is it the first
> velocity peak, emergent velocity, first displacement peak, emergent displacement,
> or what? Most of the S phases I record have fairly long period, and the P minus
> S time estimate depends greatly on the S phase time pick.
> Bob (PSN station rem)
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