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Keywords:

  • array seismology;
  • array methods;
  • geophysics;
  • earthquake and nuclear explosion seismology

[1] Since their development in the 1960s, seismic arrays have given a new impulse to seismology. Recordings from many uniform seismometers in a well-defined, closely spaced configuration produce high-quality and homogeneous data sets, which can be used to study the Earth's structure in great detail. Apart from an improvement of the signal-to-noise ratio due to the simple summation of the individual array recordings, seismological arrays can be used in many different ways to study the fine-scale structure of the Earth's interior. They have helped to study such different structures as the interior of volcanos, continental crust and lithosphere, global variations of seismic velocities in the mantle, the core-mantle boundary and the structure of the inner core. For this purpose many different, specialized array techniques have been developed and applied to an increasing number of high-quality array data sets. Most array methods use the ability of seismic arrays to measure the vector velocity of an incident wave front, i.e., slowness and back azimuth. This information can be used to distinguish between different seismic phases, separate waves from different seismic events and improve the signal-to-noise ratio by stacking with respect to the varying slowness of different phases. The vector velocity information of scattered or reflected phases can be used to determine the region of the Earth from whence the seismic energy comes and with what structures it interacted. Therefore seismic arrays are perfectly suited to study the small-scale structure and variations of the material properties of the Earth. In this review we will give an introduction to various array techniques which have been developed since the 1960s. For each of these array techniques we give the basic mathematical equations and show examples of applications. The advantages and disadvantages and the appropriate applications and restrictions of the techniques will also be discussed. The main methods discussed are the beam-forming method, which forms the basis for several other methods, different slant stacking techniques, and frequency–wave number analysis. Finally, some methods used in exploration geophysics that have been adopted for global seismology are introduced. This is followed by a description of temporary and permanent arrays installed in the past, as well as existing arrays and seismic networks. We highlight their purposes and discuss briefly the advantages and disadvantages of different array configurations.