Characterization of ambient seismic noise near a deep geothermal reservoir and implications for interferometric methods: a case study in northern Alsace, France

Geothermal Energy 2015, 3:3.

Maximilien Lehujeur*, Jérôme Vergne, Jean Schmittbuhl and Alessia Maggi.

IPGS, Université de Strasbourg/EOST, CNRS, 5 rue René Descartes, Strasbourg Cedex, 67084, France.



Ambient noise correlation techniques are of growing interest for imaging and monitoring deep geothermal reservoirs. They are simple to implement and can be performed continuously to follow the evolution of the reservoir at low cost. However, these methods rely on assumptions of spatial and temporal uniformity of seismic noise sources. Violating them can result in misinterpretation of seismic velocities owing to preferential noise propagation directions.


Using several years of seismic data recorded around the two geothermal sites of Soultz-sous-forêts and Rittershoffen in northern Alsace, France, we propose a detailed characterization of the spatial and temporal properties of the high frequency seismic noise (0.2 to 5Hz). We consider two fundamental properties of the cross correlation functions (CCFs) of ambient noise. Firstly, the reliability of the Green’s function reconstruction, an important indicator for tomographic studies. Secondly, the temporal repeatability of the CCFs between 0.2 and 0.5 seconds.

Results and conclusions

At periods below 1s, we observe a sharp decrease in signal to noise ratio resulting from the non uniform distribution of anthropogenic sources. At periods above 1s, we show that the high directivity of the northern Atlantic microseismic peak biases the CCFs’ phase significantly. We show that nocturnal noise is the most suited for temporal analysis of the CCFs. Using nocturnal noise, we should be able to monitor temporal variations induced by the geothermal activities inside the reservoir.

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