Using horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios to construct shear-wave velocity profiles

Janneke van Ginkel*, Elmer Ruigrok, Rien Herber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


For seismic hazard assessment and earthquake hypocentre localization, detailed shear-wave velocity profiles are an important input parameter. Here, we present a method to construct a shear-wave velocity profiles for a deep unconsolidated sedimentary layer by using strong teleseismic phases and the ambient noise field. Gas extraction in the Groningen field, in the northern part of the Netherlands, is causing low-magnitude, induced seismic events. This region forms an excellent case study due to the presence of a permanent borehole network and detailed subsurface knowledge. Instead of conventional horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (H/V ratios) from amplitude spectra, we calculate power spectral densities and use those as input for H/V calculations. The strong teleseisms provide resonance recordings at low frequencies, where the seismic noise field is too weak to be recorded well with the employed geophones and accelerometers. The H/V ratios of the ambient noise field are compared with several forward modelling approaches to quality check the teleseism-based shear-wave velocity profiles. Using the well-constrained depth of the sedimentary basin, we invert the H/V ratios for velocity profiles. A close relationship is observed between the H/V spectral ratios from the ambient noise field, shear-wave resonance frequencies and Rayleigh-wave ellipticity. By processing only five teleseismic events, we are able to derive shear-wave velocities for the deeper sedimentary sequence with a 7% bias in comparison with the existing detailed velocity model for the Cenozoic sediments overlying the Groningen gas field. Furthermore, a relation between resonance frequency and unconsolidated sediment thickness is derived, to be used in other areas in the Netherlands, where detailed depth maps are not available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2015-2030
Number of pages16
JournalSolid earth
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9-Nov-2020


  • AREA

Cite this