Abstract Surface waves are generally assumed to propagate along great-circle paths in most surface-wave tomography. However, when lateral heterogeneity is strong, off-great-circle propagation may occur and deteriorate surface wave tomography results based on the great-circle assumption. In this study, we used teleseismic waveforms recorded by the NECESSArray in Northeast China to study off-great-circle propagation of Rayleigh waves using the beamforming method and evaluated the influence of off-great-circle propagation on event-based surface wave tomography. The results show that arrival angle anomalies generally increase with decreasing period. The arrival angle anomalies at 60 and 50 s periods are smaller than that at 40 and 30 s periods, which indicates that the off-great-circle propagation is relatively weak for longer periods. At 30 s period, the arrival angle anomalies are relatively larger and some of the measurements can exceed 20°, which represents a strong off-great-circle propagation effect. In some areas, the arrival angle anomalies of adjacent events differ significantly, which may be attributed to multipathing propagation of surface waves. To evaluate the influence of off-great-circle propagation on event-based surface wave tomography, we used measured arrival angle anomalies to correct two-station phase velocity measurements, and performed azimuthal anisotropy tomography using dispersion datasets with and without the arrival angle correction. At longer periods, such as 60 s, the influence of off-great-circle propagation on surface wave tomography is weak even though the corrected model has better data fit than the uncorrected model. However, the influence of off-great-circle propagation is non-negligible at short periods. The tomography results at 30 s period show that the differences in phase velocity, the strength of anisotropy and the fast direction can be as large as 1.5 per cent, 1.0 per cent and 30°, respectively. Furthermore, the corrected phase velocity is systematically lower than that without correction. This study illustrates the necessity of studying the off-great-circle propagation of surface waves to improve the accuracy of event-based surface wave tomography, especially for shorter periods. Seismic tomography < SEISMOLOGY, Surface waves and free oscillations < SEISMOLOGY, Wave propagation < SEISMOLOGY, Seismic anisotropy < SEISMOLOGY © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Geophysical Journal International – Oxford University Press
Published: May 7, 2018
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