Seismically observed seiching in the Panama Canal
Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)
Volume 116, Issue B4, April 2011
How to Cite
2011), Seismically observed seiching in the Panama Canal, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B04312, doi:10.1029/2010JB007930., , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 FEB 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 7 JAN 2011
- Manuscript Received: 12 AUG 2010
 A large portion of the seismic noise spectrum is dominated by water wave energy coupled into the solid Earth. Distinct mechanisms of water wave induced ground motions are distinguished by their spectral content. For example, cultural noise is generally <1 s period, microseisms dominate the seismic spectrum from periods of 2 to 20 s, and the Earth's “hum” is in the range of 50 to 600 s. We show that in a large lake in the Panama Canal there is an additional source of long-period noise generated by standing water waves, seiches, induced by disturbances such as passing ships and wind pressure. We compare seismic waveforms to water level records and relate these observations to changes in local tilt and gravity due to an oscillating seiche. The methods and observations discussed in this paper provide a first step toward quantifying the impact of water inundation as recorded by seismometers. This type of quantified understanding of water inundation will help in future estimates of similar phenomena such as the seismic observations of tsunami impact.