Seismic velocity variations at TCDP are controlled by MJO driven precipitation pattern and high fluid discharge properties

G. Hillers, M. Campillo, K. F. Ma

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Using seismic noise based monitoring techniques we find that seismic velocity variations (dv/v) observed with the borehole array of the Taiwan Chelungpu-fault Drilling Project (TCDP) are controlled by strong precipitation events associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a dynamic intraseasonal atmospheric pattern in the tropical atmosphere. High-frequency noise (>1 Hz) excited by steady anthropogenic activity in the vicinity of the TCDP allows daily resolution of dv/v time series. Relatively large fluid discharge properties control the equilibration of the ground water table and hence seismic velocities on time scales smaller than the average precipitation recurrence interval. This leads to the observed synchronous 50-80 day periodicity in dv/v and rainfall records in addition to the dominant annual component. Further evidence for the governing role of hydraulic properties is inferred from the similarity of observed dv/v timing, amplitude, and recovery properties with dv/v synthetics generated by a combined model of ground water table changes and diffusive propagation of seismic energy. The lapse time (τ) dependent increase of dv/v amplitudes is controlled by the sensitivity of the diffuse wave field sampled at 1100 m depth to shallower water level fluctuations. The significant vertical offset between stations and water level explains the direct τ dependence which is opposite to the trend previously inferred from measurements at the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014


  • Ambient noise
  • Borehole seismology
  • Ground water table
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • Monitoring


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