The Detection of Seismicity on Icy Ocean Worlds by Single-Station and Small-Aperture Seismometer Arrays
Future missions carrying seismometer payloads to icy ocean worlds will measure global and local seismicity to determine where the ice shell is seismically active. We use two locations, a seismically active site on Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, and a more seismically quiet site on the northwestern Greenland Ice Sheet as geophysical analogs. We compare the performance of a single-station seismometer against a small-aperture seismic array to detect both high (>1 Hz) and low (<0.1 Hz) frequency events at each site. We created catalogs of high frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) seismicity at each location using an automated short-term average/long-term average technique. We find that with a 1-m small-aperture seismic array, our detection rate increased (9% for Alaska and 46% for Greenland) over the single-station approach. At Gulkana, we recorded an order of magnitude greater HF events than the Greenland site. We ascribe the HF events sources to a combination of icequakes, rockfalls, and ice-water interactions, while very HF events are determined to result from bamboo poles that were used to secure gear. We further find that local environmental noise reduces the ability to detect LF global tectonic events. Based upon this study, we recommend that (a) future missions consider the value of the expanded capability of a small array compared to a single station, (b) design detection algorithms that can accommodate variable environmental noise, and (c) assess the potential landings sites for sources of local environmental noise that may limit detection of global events.
Earth and Space Science
- Pub Date:
- March 2022