Time-reversal method and cross-correlation techniques by normal mode theory: a three-point problem



Since its beginning in acoustics, the Time-Reversal method (hereafter referred as TR) has been explored by different studies to locate and characterize seismic sources in elastic media. But few authors have proposed an analytical analysis of the method, especially in the case of an elastic medium and for a finite body such as the Earth. In this paper, we use a normal mode approach (for general 3-D case and degenerate modes in 1-D reference model) to investigate the convergence properties of the TR method. We first investigate a three-point problem, with two fixed points which are the source and the receiver and a third one corresponding to a changing observation point. We extend the problem of a single channel TR experiment to a multiple channel and multiple station TR experiment. We show as well how this problem relates to the retrieval of Green’s function with a multiple source cross-correlation and also the differences between TR method and cross-correlation techniques. Since most of the noise sources are located close to the surface of the Earth, we show that the time derivative of the cross-correlation of long-period seismograms with multiple sources at the surface is different from the Green’s function. Next, we show the importance of a correct surface-area weighting of the signal resent by the stations according to a Voronoi tessellation of the Earth surface. We use arguments based on the stationary phase approximation to argue that phase-information is more important than amplitude information for getting a good focusing in TR experiment. Finally, by using linear relationships between the time-reversed displacement (resp. strain wavefields) and the components of a vector force source (resp. a moment tensor source), we show how to retrieve force (or moment tensor components) of any long period tectonic or environmental sources by time reversal.