Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for natural microseismicity studies: A case study from Antarctica

Icequakes, microseismic earthquakes at glaciers, offer insights into the dynamics of ice sheets. For the first time in the Antarctic, we explore the use of fiber optic cables as Distributed Acoustic Sensors (DAS) as a new approach for monitoring basal icequakes. We present the use of DAS for studying icequakes as a case study for the application of DAS to microseismic datasets in other geological settings. Fiber was deployed on the ice surface at Rutford Ice Stream in two different configurations. We compare the performance of DAS with a conventional geophone network for: microseismic detection and location; resolving source and noise spectra; source mechanism inversion; and measuring anisotropic shear-wave splitting parameters. Both DAS array geometries detect fewer events than the geophone array. However, DAS is superior to geophones for recording the microseism signal, suggesting the applicability of DAS for ambient noise interferometry. We also present the first full-waveform source mechanism inversions using DAS anywhere, successfully showing the horizontal stick-slip nature of the icequakes. In addition, we develop an approach to use a 2D DAS array geometry as an effective multi-component sensor capable of accurately characterising shear-wave splitting due to the anisotropic ice fabric. Although our observations originate from a glacial environment, the methodology and implications of this work are relevant for employing DAS in other microseismic environments.


Publication status:
Authors: Hudson, T.S., Baird, A.F., Kendall, J.M., Kufner, S.-K. ORCIDORCID record for S.-K. Kufner, Brisbourne, A.M. ORCIDORCID record for A.M. Brisbourne, Smith, A.M. ORCIDORCID record for A.M. Smith, Butcher, A., Chalari, A., Clarke, A.

On this site: Alex Brisbourne, Andy Smith, Sofia-Katerina Kufner
16 July, 2021
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth / 126
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