Origin of microseisms in equatorial and southern Africa from analysis of broadband arrays

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Using broadband array noise correlation and frequency-wavenumber analysis, we find evidence for 4 distinct origins of microseisms in the 10-200mHz band: an unusual source of Rayleigh waves at 35-40mHz located in the Bight of Bonny, several abyssal locations with enhanced P-wave production at 100-200mHz, and both coastal and abyssal Rayleigh wave sources that vary in bandwidth. We find no evidence of persistent seismic noise generation on land. Data analyzed were 1Hz vertical component recordings from the Cameroon, Southern Africa, Tanzania, and Ethiopia PASSCAL experiments. The Bonny microseism is characterized by 2 well-defined peaks at 36 & 38mHz and is found to have a location on the continental shelf in the northern portion of the Bight of Bonny. Our preliminary analysis finds that the microseism is well represented as a point source with a frequency-dependent location and horizontal slowness. Additional peaks near 61mHz and 69mHz are associated with increased Rayleigh waves sourced from the Bight of Bonny but are below the frequency range expected for a doubled frequency microseism (70-80mHz). Strong P-wave energy is found to originate from abyssal regions west of Retkjanes Ridge near Greenland, South of the Kerguelen Islands, and in the vicinity of the triple-junction formed by the African, South American & Antarctic plates. We propose that the locations represent optimal sea floor bathymetry for efficient conversion of nonlinearly interfering ocean swell to seismic P waves. Maputo bay and Sofala bay in Mozambique, the Western Cape coast in South Africa, and the North Atlantic are the dominant sources of microseismic Rayleigh waves outside of 35-40mHz. All noise sources identified in our study have a seasonal signature with peak noise generation in the winter months of each location implying their energy is derived from ocean swell of extratropical cyclones.

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