David Wilson

David Wilson
United States Geological Survey | USGS · Earthquake Hazards Program

Ph.D.

About

100
Publications
13,070
Reads
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2,234
Citations
Citations since 2016
38 Research Items
1101 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Additional affiliations
January 2015 - present
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Managing Director
August 2010 - January 2015
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Manager

Publications

Publications (100)
Article
Full-text available
The eruption of the submarine Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai (Hunga Tonga) volcano on January 15, 2022, was one of the largest volcanic explosions recorded by modern geophysical instrumentation. The eruption was notable for the broad range of atmospheric wave phenomena it generated and for their unusual coupling with the oceans and solid Earth. The even...
Article
The 15 January 2022 climactic eruption of Hunga volcano, Tonga, produced an explosion in the atmosphere of a size that has not been documented in the modern geophysical record. The event generated a broad range of atmospheric waves observed globally by various ground-based and spaceborne instrumentation networks. Most prominent is the surface-guide...
Article
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an archive of 189,180 digitized scans of analog seismic records from the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN). Although these scans have been made public, the archive is too large to manually review, and few researchers have utilized large numbers of these records. To facilitate further res...
Article
Acoustic energy originating from explosions, sonic booms, bolides, and thunderclaps have been recorded on seismometers since the 1950s. Direct pressure loading from the passing acoustic wave has been modeled and consistently observed to produce ground deformations of the near surface that have retrograde elliptical particle motions. In the past dec...
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The Global Seismographic Network (GSN)-a global network of ≈150 very broadband stations is used by researchers to study the free oscillations of the Earth (≈0.3-10 mHz) following large earthquakes. Normal-mode observations can provide information about the radial density and anisotropic velocity structure of the Earth (including near the core-mantl...
Article
Since 2004, the most complete estimate of background noise levels across the continental United States was attained using 61 broadband seismic stations to calculate power spectral density (PSD) probability density functions. To improve seismic noise estimates across the United States, we examine vertical component seismic data from the EarthScope U...
Article
Estimating the detection threshold of a seismic network (the minimum magnitude earthquake that can be reliably located) is a critical part of network design and can drive network maintenance efforts. The ability of a station to detect an earthquake is often estimated by assuming the spectral amplitude for an earthquake of a given size, assuming an...
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The accuracy of timing across a seismic network is important for locating earthquakes as well as studies that use phase‐arrival information (e.g., tomography). The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) was designed with the goal of having reported timing be better than 10 ms. In this work, we provide a brief overview of how timing is kept across the G...
Article
Seismograms from the South Pole have been important for seismological observations for over six decades by providing (until 2007) the only continuous seismic records from the interior of the Antarctic continent. The South Pole, Antarctica station has undergone many updates over the years, including conversion to a digital recording station as part...
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The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) is a multiuse, globally distributed seismic network used by seismologists, to both characterize earthquakes and study the Earth’s interior. Most stations in the network have two collocated broadband seismometers, which enable network operators to identify potential metadata and sensor issues. In this study, we...
Article
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Variations in atmospheric pressure have long been known to introduce noise in long-period (>10 s) seismic records. This noise can overwhelm signals of interest such as normal modes and surface waves. Generally, this noise is most pronounced on the horizontal components where it arises due to tilting of the seismometer in response to changes in atmo...
Article
We evaluated the performance of 12 ground-motion models (GMMs) for earthquakes in the tectonically active shallow crustal region of southern California using instrumental ground-motion observations from the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence (Mw 4.0–7.1). The sequence was well recorded by the Southern California Seismic Network and ra...
Article
Seismometers are highly sensitive instruments to not only ground motion but also many other nonseismic noise sources (e.g., temperature, pressure, and magnetic field variations). We show that the Alaska component of the Transportable Array is particularly susceptible to recording magnetic storms and other space weather events because the sensors us...
Article
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The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) has been used extensively by seismologists to characterize large earthquakes and image deep earth structure. Although the network’s original design goals have been met, the seismological community has suggested that the incorporation of small-aperture seismic arrays at select sites may improve perfor- mance of...
Article
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Power spectral density (PSD) estimates are widely used in seismological studies to characterize background noise conditions, assess instrument performance, and study quasi-stationary signals that are difficult to observe in the time domain. However, these studies often utilize different processing techniques, each of which can inherently bias the r...
Article
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Rapid seismic deployments following large earthquakes capture ephemeral near‐field recordings of aftershocks and ambient noise that can provide valuable data for seismological studies. The U.S. Geological Survey installed 19 temporary seismic stations following the 4 July 2019 M_w 6.4 and 6 July 2019 (UTC) M_w 7.1 earthquakes near the city of Ridge...
Article
Replacement or deterioration of seismic instruments and the evolution of the installation conditions and sites can alter the seismic signal in very subtle ways; therefore, it is notoriously difficult to monitor the signal quality of permanent seismic stations. We present a simple way to characterize and monitor signal quality, using energy ratios b...
Article
WorldWide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN) records contain daily calibration pulses that can be used to retrieve the magnification as well as the response of the instrument for a given day record. We analyze a select number of long-period vertical (LPZ) records from WWSSN station ALQ (Albuquerque, New Mexico). Although we find that the resp...
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Station noise levels play a fundamental limitation in our ability to detect seismic signals. These noise levels are frequency-dependent and arise from a number of physically different drivers. At periods greater than 100 s, station noise levels are often limited by the self-noise of the instrument as well as the sensitivity of the instrument to non...
Article
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Long-period Rayleigh wave horizontal to vertical amplitude (H/V) ratios at a station provide information about local earth structure that is complementary to phase velocity. However, a number of studies have observed that significant scatter appears in these measurements making it difficult to use H/V ratio measurements to resolve earth structure....
Article
By coupling with the ground, wind causes ground motion that appears on seismic records as noise across a wide bandwidth. This wind-generated noise can drown out important features such as small earthquakes and prevent observation of normal modes from large earthquakes. Because the wind field is heterogeneous at local scales due to structures, diurn...
Article
The Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) has preserved a collection of photographs of seismographic equipment, stations, and drawings used by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. The photographs were transferred to ASL from the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington, D.C., after ASL be...
Article
From 1961 to 1996, the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) installed and operated the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN). Each station within the network consisted of three Benioff short-period sensors and three Sprengnether Press-Ewing long-period sensors along with recording, timing, and calibration equipment. Approximatel...
Article
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Seismologists have recently begun using low-cost nodal sensors in dense deployments to sample the seismic wavefield at unprecedented spatial resolution. Earthquake early warning systems and other monitoring networks (e.g., wastewater injection) would also benefit from network densification; however, current nodal sensors lack power systems or the r...
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Characterizing rotational motions from earthquakes at local distances has the potential to improve earthquake engineering and seismic gradiometry by better characterizing the complete seismic wavefield. Applied Technology Associates (ATA) has developed a proto-seismic magnetohydrodynamic (SMHD) three-component rotational rate sensor. We deploy two...
Article
To standardize parameters used in seismometer testing and calibration and to make these algorithms accessible to the seismological community, we have developed a new seismometer testing software package called Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) Sensor Test Suite. This software is written in Java and makes use of Seismological Exchange for E...
Article
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During the winter of 2014, a weak polar vortex brought record cold temperatures to the north-central (“Midwest”) United States, and the Great Lakes reached the highest extent of ice coverage (92.5%) since 1979. This event shut down the generation of seismic signals caused by wind-driven wave action within the lakes (termed “lake microseisms”), givi...
Article
We conduct a number of laboratory tests at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory to verify the self‐noise and fidelity in which 3 three‐component Fairfield Nodal Z‐Land, Generation 2, 5‐Hz sensors are able to record seismic signals. In addition to the incoherent self‐noise of the sensors, we estimate the sensitivity of the units in digital volts...
Article
Isolating seismic instruments from temperature fluctuations is routine practice within the seismological community. However, the necessary degree of thermal stability required in broadband installations to avoid generating noise or compromising the fidelity in the seismic records is largely unknown and likely application dependent. To quantify the...
Article
Pulsing—caused either by mechanical or electrical glitches, or by microtilt local to a seismometer—can significantly compromise the long-period noise performance of broadband seismometers. High-fidelity long-period recordings are needed for accurate calculation of quantities such as moment tensors, fault-slip models, and normal-mode measurements. S...
Article
Variability in seismic instrumentation performance plays a fundamental role in our ability to carry out experiments in observational seismology. Many such experiments rely on the assumed performance of various seismic sensors as well as on methods to isolate the sensors from nonseismic noise sources. We look at the repeat-ability of estimating the...
Article
Horizontal seismic data are dominated by atmospherically induced tilt noise at long periods (i.e., 30 s and greater). Tilt noise limits our ability to use horizontal data for sensitive seismologi-cal studies such as observing free earth modes. To better understand the local spatial variability of long-period horizontal noise, we observe horizontal...
Article
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Long-period (>100 s period) seismic data can often be dominated by instrumental noise as well as local site noise. When multiple collocated sensors are installed at a single site, it is possible to improve the overall station noise levels by applying stacking methods to their traces. We look at the noise reduction in long-period seismic data by app...
Article
The Streckeisen STS-1 has been the primary vault-type seismometer used in the over-150-station Global Seismographic Network (GSN). This sensor has long been known for its outstanding vertical, very long-period (e.g., >100 s period), and low-noise performance, although the horizontal long-period noise performance is less well known. The STS-1 is a l...
Article
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The collaborative efforts of China and the United States led to the establishment of the CDSN. This network initiated the digital era of seismology in China, providing a valuable framework for tectonic and seismic-hazard studies. With the completion of the recent upgrades, the third phase of the CDSN is underway.
Article
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The sharp increase in seismicity over a broad region of central Oklahoma has raised concerns regarding the source of the activity and its potential hazard to local communities and energy-industry infrastructure. Efforts to monitor and characterize the earthquake sequences in central Oklahoma are reviewed. Since early 2010, numerous organizations ha...
Article
Southwestern Mexico is a region of complex active tectonics with subduction of the young Rivera and Cocos plates to the south and widespread magmatism and rifting in the continental interior. Here we use receiver function analysis on data recorded by a 50 station temporary deployment of seismometers known as the MARS (MApping the Rivera Subduction...
Article
The U.S. Geological Survey's Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) has several initiatives underway to enhance and track the quality of data produced from ASL seismic stations and to improve communication about data problems to the user community. The Data Quality Analyzer (DQA) is one such development and is designed to characterize seismic s...
Article
The midband sensitivity of a seismic instrument is one of the fundamental parameters used in published station metadata. Any errors in this value can compromise amplitude estimates in otherwise high-quality data. To estimate an upper bound in the uncertainty of the midband sensitivity for modern broadband instruments, we compare daily microseism (4...
Article
Full-text available
The midband sensitivity of a broadband seismometer is one of the most commonly used parameters from station metadata. Thus, it is critical for station operators to robustly estimate this quantity with a high degree of accuracy. We develop an in situ method for estimating changes in sensitivity using sine-wave calibrations, assuming the calibration...
Article
Ongoing eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano's (Hawaii) summit has been controlled in part by the evolution of its vent from a 35-m-diameter opening into a collapse crater 150 m across. Geologic observations, in particular from a network of webcams, have provided an unprecedented look at collapse crater development, lava lake dynamics, and shallow...
Article
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The first eruptive activity at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit in 25years began in March 2008 with the opening of a 35-m-wide vent in Halema‘uma‘u crater. The new activity has produced prominent very-long-period (VLP) signals corresponding with two new behaviors: episodic tremor bursts and small explosive events, both of which represent degassing events f...
Article
In late 2007, a perched lava channel, built up to 45m above the preexisting surface, developed during the ongoing eruption near Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone on Kīlauea Volcano’s east rift zone. The lava channel was segmented into four pools extending over a total of 1.4km. From late October to mid-December, a cyclic behavior, consisting of steady lava level rise...
Article
The 2008-2010 summit eruption of Kilauea Volcano has been characterized by degassing from an open vent over an actively circulating lava lake. Observations of explosive events and cycles of gas accumulation and release have improved our understanding of vent processes, including the transport and storage of gas within the shallow magma system. Whil...
Article
The La Ristra experiment consisted of a northwest trending linear deployment of 72 broadband seismic stations from West Texas to western Utah with 15 to 20 km spacing. The resulting 1400 km seismic line provides unprecedented images of crust and mantle along a cross section that crosses the Colorado Plateau from near Mount Taylor in the east to the...
Article
As recently as four years ago, the average age of a datalogger in the portion of the Global Seismographic Network (GSN) operated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was 16 years - an eternity in the lifetime of computers. The selection of the Q330HR in 2006 as the ``next generation'' datalogger by an Incorporated Research Institutions for...
Article
The ongoing eruption in Halema`uma`u crater, at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, has surpassed the two-year mark and is characterized by lava lake activity in the vent. As of August 2010, the lava lake is about 70 m in diameter and 180 m below the rim of a narrow vent cavity. Although the explosive events that typified the first year of activity have...
Article
Volatiles play a crucial role in volcanism; their behavior is fundamental in determining subsurface and eruptive processes, yet observations of volcanic gases are often lacking. Ground-based ultraviolet (UV) measurements of SO2 emission rates have been common since the 1970s, but low temporal resolution of most SO2 observations limits potential for...
Article
After maintaining elevations near sea level for over 500 million years, the Colorado Plateau (CP) has a present average elevation of 2 km. We compute new receiver function images from the first dense seismic transect to cross the plateau that reveal a central CP crustal thickness of 42–50 km thinning to 30–35 km at the CP margins. Isostatic calcula...
Article
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On 19 March, 2008 eruptive activity returned to the summit of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii with the formation of a new vent within the Halemaumau pit crater. The new vent has been gradually increasing in size, and exhibiting sustained degassing and the episodic bursting of gas slugs at the surface of a lava pond ∼200 m below the floor of Halemaumau. The...
Article
Early in the morning of 1 February 2010 (UTC; early afternoon 31 January 2010 local time), continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) and tilt instruments detected a slow slip event (SSE) on the south flank of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. The SSE lasted at least 36 hours and resulted in a maximum of about 3 centimeters of seaward displacement. About 10...
Article
The Archean western Superior Province in Canada represents the nucleus of the North American continent whose origin has been speculated to be the result of widespread crustal accretion some 2.7 Ga ago. In this paper, crustal and upper-mantle seismic discontinuities beneath the western Superior Province of the Canadian shield are imaged with telesei...
Article
We characterize the timing, amplitude, and source location of long period (peak frequency 0.5Hz) tremor bursts during the 2008-present summit eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Seismic tremor levels at Kilauea's summit, which began rising steadily in early November 2007, reached nearly five times the background level by early 2008. Matching the t...
Article
Early in the 26th year of Kilauea volcano's ongoing east rift zone eruption, a distinct increase in activity was detected at Kilauea summit. By February 2008, the southern part of the summit caldera was bathed in high concentrations of SO2 prompting Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to close public access. A vigorous fuming area at the base of the ea...
Article
After maintaining elevations near sea level for hundreds of millions years, the Colorado Plateau (CP) of the southwestern United States has a present average elevation of 2 km. However, the sources of buoyant support for this high elevation have long been unclear. We apply receiver function joint velocity analysis and imaging to data from the LA RI...
Article
In 2003 an increase in magma supply to Kilauea started a series of events leading up to the first explosive summit eruption of the volcano since 1924 and the first simultaneous summit and rift eruption in 34 years. This eruption has also provided an opportunity to test the widely accepted degassing model for Kilauea (Gerlach, T.M., and Graeber, E.J...
Article
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In this study, we have determined the crustal structure using three different receiver function methods using data collected from the northern transect of the Continental Dynamics of the Rocky Mountains (CD-ROM) experiment. The resulting migrated image and crustal thickness determinations confirm and refine prior crustal thickness measurements base...
Article
The subduction zone of western Mexico is a unique region on Earth where microplate capture and overriding plate disruption are occurring today. The young, small Rivera plate and the adjacent Cocos plate are subducting beneath the Jalisco block of Mexico. Here, we present a P wave tomographic model of the upper mantle to 400 km depth beneath the Jal...
Article
Following several months of steadily increasing SO2 emissions and seismic tremor at the summit of Kilauea volcano, a small explosive eruption on March 19, 2008, opened a 35-m-wide vent on the south wall of Halema'uma'u crater. Since then, the new vent has exhibited fluctuating nighttime glow and is the source of a persistent ~1-km-high plume of gas...
Article
Beginning in early January 2008, sulfur dioxide emission rates from the summit area of Kilauea increased to 2 to 10 times above background values, prompting partial closure of the summit region by late February. On March 12, 2008, a new gas vent appeared low on the southeast wall of Halema'uma'u Crater. Incandescence was seen at the vent, starting...
Article
Shear-wave splitting measurements from SKS and SKKS phases show fast polarization azimuths that are subparallel to North American absolute plate motion within the central Rio Grande Rift (RGR) and Colorado Plateau (CP) through to the western rim of the CP, with anisotropy beneath the CP and central RGR showing a remarkably consistent pattern with a...
Article
Full-text available
Teleseismic traveltime data are inverted for mantle Vp and Vs variations beneath a 1400 km long line of broadband seismometers extending from eastern New Mexico to western Utah. The model spans 600 km beneath the moho with resolution of ~50 km. Inversions show a sharp, large-magnitude velocity contrast across the Colorado Plateau-Great Basin transi...
Article
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At 0258 Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) on 19 March 2008, a small explosion scattered altered and fresh lithic debris across a 40-hectare area at the summit of Kilauea volcano. This explosion, the first recorded there since 1924, issued from a vent about 35 meters wide along the east wall of Halema'uma'u Crater. Ballistic fragments-the largest...
Article
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Mid-2007 was a time of intense activity at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii (see Figure 1). In June, the long-lived Pu`u `O`o-Kupaianaha eruption, a dual-vent system along the east rift zone (ERZ) that has been erupting since 1983 [Heliker et al., 2003], paused due to the outbreak of a new vent farther up the rift (see Figure 2). The Pu`u `O`o vent collapse...
Article
Shear-wave splitting measurements are determined using data collected from LA RISTRA 1 and 1.5 (Colorado pLAteau RIo Grande Rift/Great Plains Seismic TRAnsect) to study the origin of seismic anisotropy in the mantle beneath the Colorado Plateau and the Colorado Plateau-Great Basin transition. Results show that, on the average, the fast polarization...
Article
The subduction zone of western Mexico is a unique region on Earth where microplate capture and overriding plate disruption are occurring today. The small Rivera plate is subducting beneath western most Mexico primarily beneath Jalisco state while to the east it is the Cocos plate that is subducting. Above the Rivera plate the Jalisco block of Mexic...
Article
Full-text available
Shear-wave splitting measurements are determined using data collected from MARS (Mapping the Rivera subduction zone) project to study the origin of seismic anisotropy in the mantle beneath the wedge of the subduction zone. The MARS project consists of the deployment of 50 broadband temporary stations in Mexico covering the Jalisco block from the co...
Article
The MARS ( Mapping the Rivera Subduction zone ) project started in January 2006 deploying 50 broadband seismometers across southwestern Mexico for one and a half year duration. The stations were deployed in Jalisco, Michoacan and Colima states. The goal of the project is to understand the geometry of the Rivera and Cocos subducting plates and the e...
Article
The subduction zone of western Mexico is a unique region on Earth where microplate capture and overriding plate disruption are occurring today. The small Rivera plate is subducting beneath western most Mexico primarily beneath Jalisco state while to the east it is the Cocos plate that is subducting. Above the Rivera plate the Jalisco block of Mexic...
Article
The La RISTRA 1.5 project consisted of the deployment of 18 broadband seismic stations along a line extending from the center of the Colorado Plateau into the Great Basin along a northwest azimuth. P and S travel time data are inverted to determine mantle velocity perturbations relative to the IASPE91 velocity model. This 2-D slice extends previous...
Article
As part of HI-CLIMB a 32-station temporary broadband seismic array was operated from July 2004 to September 2005 near Tingri-Xigaze of southern Tibet. About 1000 receiver functions from teleseismic events (Mb > 5.0) were obtained. They are stacked and projected along one N-S and two E-W trending profiles for imaging crust and two profiles for imagi...
Article
We present preliminary images of the crust and upper mantle seismic structure beneath a complete NW-SE transect of the Colorado Plateau (CP). We use teleseismic data from the recent (summer 2004-summer 2006) RISTRA 1.5 experiment which extends northwest from the center of the CP to a point 100 km into the Great Basin, together with data from the LA...
Article
Crustal and upper-mantle seismic discontinuities beneath eastern Turkey are imaged using teleseismic S-to-P converted phases. Three crustal phases are observed: the Moho with depth ranging between 30 and 55 km, indicating variable tectonic regimes within this continental collision zone; an upper-crustal discontinuity at approximately 10 km depth; a...
Article
We present results from forward modelling to study the feasibility of using S-to-P converted phases to image the seismic discontinuity structure of the crust and upper mantle. We show that a significant level of P-wave energy arriving before the direct S-wave arrival can interfere with the S-to-P converted phases of interest and may result in Sp re...
Article
The Ordos Plateau in North China as a stable unit is surrounded by intense seismicity and active fault zones as a consequence of the ongoing northeast expansion of the Tibetan plateau. Detailed studies of the crustal and uppermost mantle structure of these active fault zones could help us to understand the diffuse plate boundary deformation across...
Article
Eastern Turkey is a region dominated by the early stages of continent--continent collision. The high topography (~ 2 km) of this young plateau has resulted from the convergence of the Arabian, Anatolian and Eurasian plates since the Middle Miocene, where the supporting mechanism of the plateau has been the focus of debate. Evidence suggests that a...
Article
Full-text available
Receiver functions provide an indispensable tool for producing discontinuity images of the crust and upper mantle from teleseismic earthquake arrivals. However, image quality can be significantly compromised by instabilities inherent in the deconvolution process and by irregularities in data coverage driven by source and/or receiver geometries. We...