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Keywords:

  • Surface waves;
  • tomography;
  • seismic noise

[1] This study presents surface wave dispersion maps across the contiguous United States determined using seismic ambient noise. Two years of ambient noise data are used from March 2003 through February 2005 observed at 203 broadband seismic stations in the US, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. Cross-correlations are computed between all station-pairs to produce empirical Green functions. At most azimuths across the US, coherent Rayleigh wave signals exist in the empirical Green functions implying that ambient noise in the frequency band of this study (5–100 s period) is sufficiently isotropically distributed in azimuth to yield largely unbiased dispersion measurements. Rayleigh and Love wave group and phase velocity curves are measured together with associated uncertainties determined from the temporal variability of the measurements. A sufficient number of measurements (>2000) is obtained between 8 and 25 s period for Love waves and 8 and 70 s period for Rayleigh waves to produce tomographic dispersion maps. Both phase and group velocity maps are presented in these period bands. Resolution is estimated to be better than 100 km across much of the US from 8–40 s period for Rayleigh waves and 8–20 s period for Love waves, which is unprecedented in a study at this spatial scale. At longer and shorter periods, resolution degrades as the number of coherent signals diminishes. The dispersion maps agree well with each other and with known geological and tectonic features and, in addition, provide new information about structures in the crust and uppermost mantle beneath much of the US.