Various charts relating to the data in this paper
The temporal variation in ambient noise correlations (top; annual average in red), and receiver function power spectral density (PSD; middle), both of which provide independent approaches to improve our ability to image time-sensitive behavior in seismic signals. The lower panel compares groundwater levels taken at a monitored well nearby to the seismic station with these data, and with a synthetic model of the receiver function PSDs. Red symbols above this panel indicate timing of category 4 or larger hurricanes. Credit: Kim and Lekic [2019], Figure 3
Source: Geophysical Research Letters

Many human populations depend on groundwater from large aquifers as a significant source of water. Nevertheless, accurate measures of water in such systems are difficult to obtain. Kim and Lekic [2019] reveal a compelling relationship between seismic signals recorded at a seismometer with changes in groundwater levels in the Gulf Coast Aquifer System of southern Texas. Of note, when a series of large hurricanes caused a significant spike in groundwater in that system, the characteristics of seismic signals measured at the nearby seismometer also changed. This work thus illustrates how standard seismic techniques applied to single stations can be used to monitor changes in groundwater, a tool which could be particularly useful for monitoring more remote regions of the planet if nearby seismic data exists.

Citation: Kim, D., & Lekic, V. [2019]. Groundwater variations from autocorrelation and receiver functions. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 13722–13729.

—Gavin P. Hayes, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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