Tomography of Southern California Via Bayesian Joint Inversion of Rayleigh Wave Ellipticity and Phase Velocity From Ambient Noise Cross-Correlations

E. M. Berg, Fan-Chi Lin, A. Allam, H. Qiu, W. Shen, Y. Ben-Zion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A self-consistent regional-scale seismic velocity model with resolution from seismogenic depth to the surface is crucial for seismic hazard assessment. Though Southern California is the most seismically imaged region in the world, techniques with high near-surface sensitivity have been applied only in disparate local areas and have not been incorporated into a unified model with deeper resolution. In the present work, we obtain isotropic values for Rayleigh wave phase velocity and ellipticity in Southern California by cross-correlating daily time series from the year 2015 across 315 regional stations in period ranges 6 to 18 s. Leveraging the complementary sensitivity of the two Rayleigh wave data sets, we combine H/V and phase velocity measurements to determine a new 3-D shear velocity model in a Bayesian joint inversion framework. The new model has greatly improved shallow resolution compared to the Southern California Earthquake Center CVMS4.26 reference model. Well-known large-scale features common to previous studies are resolved, including velocity contrasts across the San Andreas, San Jacinto, Garlock, and Elsinore faults, midcrustal high-velocity structure beneath the Mojave Desert, and shallow Moho beneath the Salton Trough. Other prominent features that have previously only been imaged in focused local studies include the correct sedimentary thickness of the southern Central Valley, fold structure of the Ventura and Oak Ridge Anticlines, and velocity contrast across the Newport-Inglewood fault. The new shallow structure will greatly impact simulation-based studies of seismic hazard, especially in the near-surface low-velocity zones beneath densely populated areas like the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura Basins.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9933-9949
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 23 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-03-10
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OCRF-2014-CRG3-2300
Acknowledgements: The data used in this work are archived and distributed by the Southern California Earthquake Data Center (SCEDC; and the IRIS Earthquake Data Center ( Both the SCEC Community Velocity Models used in this work, CVMS-4.26 and CVMH-15.1.0, are available from the Southern California Earthquake Center ( This study was supported by the Southern California Earthquake Center (award 17195), the National Science Foundation (grants CyberSEES-1442665 and EAR-162061), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (award OCRF-2014-CRG3-2300). We also thank the reviewers of this paper, an anonymous individual, and Jan Dettmer, for their valuable insight and constructive reviews of the manuscript. The 3-D shear wave velocity model will be available from IRIS Data Services Products: Earth Model Collaboration (
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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