Ocean Sciences Editors' Highlights

Atoll Seismometer Detection of Solitary Ocean Waves

Seismic recordings from the South China Sea indicate that subtle, daily tilting of shorelines due to passing internal ocean waves can be measured on land, promising new constraints on ocean dynamics.

Source: AGU Advances


Problems from coastal erosion to climate dynamics require a better handle on ocean wave phenomena. Satellites image the surface expression of ocean waves. However, there are coverage limits, and solid earth recordings can provide complementary constraints for ocean and surface dynamics. Here, Shaddox et al. [2021] expand prior environmental seismology analysis and focus on solitary ocean waves passing by a near-ideal test setting, an atoll in the South China Sea which is known to experience large amplitude wave activity. By combing data from a permanent borehole seismometer, temporary stations, satellites and ocean sensors, the authors find tantalizing evidence for the detection of the subtle tilting that might be expected from the ocean-land interactions around the island. Similar signals had been seen on ocean bottom seismometers, but if the land-based detection were to become routine, perhaps with improved seismic sensors, more complete records of ocean dynamics would become available.

Citation: Shaddox, H., Brodsky, E., Davis, K. & Ramp, S. [2021]. Seismic Detection of Oceanic Internal Gravity Waves from Subaerial Seismometers. AGU Advances, 2, e2021AV000475. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021AV000475

—Thorsten W. Becker, Editor, AGU Advances

Text © 2021. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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