Effect of coherent noise on single-station direction of arrival estimation

Stewart Alan Greenhalgh, Bing Zhou, Matthew Rutty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Polarization analysis of multi-component seismic data is used in both exploration seismology and earthquake seismology. In single-station polarization processing, it is generally assumed that any noise present in the window of analysis is incoherent, i.e., does not correlate between components. This assumption is often violated in practice because several overlapping seismic events may be present in the data. The additional arrival(s) to that of interest can be viewed as coherent noise. This paper quantifies the error because of coherent noise interference. We first give a general theoretical analysis of the problem. A simple mathematical wavelet is then used to obtain a closed-form solution to the principal direction estimated for a transient incident signal superposed with a time-shifted, unequal amplitude version of itself, arriving at an arbitrary angle to the first wavelet. The effects of relative amplitude, arrival angle, and the time delay of the two wavelets on directional estimates are investigated. Even for small differences in angle of arrival, there may be significant error (>10°) in the azimuth estimate.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Seismology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Coherent noise
  • Seismic direction finding
  • Triaxial station


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