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Megameter propagation and correlation of T-waves from Kermadec Trench and Islands

Tiago C.A. Oliveira toliveira(at)
Physics Department & Centre of Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal,
Peter Nielsen pmlg.nielsen(at)
Esberg N, Denmark
Ying-Tsong Lin, ytlin(at)
Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.
Noriyuki Kushida, noriyuki.kushida(at)
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test -Ban Treaty Organization, Vienna International Center, 1400 Vienna, Austria
Sérgio M. Jesus sjesus(at)
LarSys, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, PT-8005-139 Faro, Portugal.

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Ref.: Frontiers in Marine Science, 9:10090113, October 2022.

On 18 June 2020 and 4 March 2021, very energetic low-frequency underwater T-wave signals (2 to 25 Hz) were recorded at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) International Monitoring System (IMS) hydrophone stations in the Pacific Ocean (Stations HA11 and HA03) and the South Atlantic Ocean (Station HA10). This work investigates the long-range (megameters) propagation of these T-waves. Their sources were three powerful submarine earthquakes in the Kermadec Trench and Islands, located at approximately 6000, 8800, and 15100 km from Stations HA11, HA03, and HA10, respectively. Arrival time and back azimuth of the recorded T-waves were estimated using the Progressive Multi-Channel Correlation algorithm installed on the CTBT Organization (CTBTO) virtual Data Exploitation Centre (vDEC). Different arrivals within the duration of the earthquake signals were identified, and their correlations were also analyzed. The data analysis at HA03 and HA10 revealed intriguing T-wave propagation paths reflecting, refracting, or even transmitting through continents, as well as T-wave excitation along a chain of seamounts. The analysis also showed much higher transmission loss (TL) in the propagation paths to HA11 than to HA03 and HA10. Moreover, strong discrepancies between expected and measured back azimuths were observed for HA11, and a three-dimensional (3D) parabolic equation model was utilized to identify the cause of these differences. Numerical results revealed the importance of 3D effects induced by the Kermadec Ridge, Fiji archipelago, and Marshall Islands on T-wave propagation to HA11. This analysis can guide future improvements in underwater event localization using the CTBT-IMS hydroacoustic sensor network.