Towards an accurate real-time locator of infrasonic sources

Pinsky, V and Blom, P and Polozov, A and Marcillo, O and Arrowsmith, S and Hofstetter, A
Journal of Seismology, 21(6): 1361-1383, 2017

Infrasonic signals propagate from an atmospheric source via media with stochastic and fast space-varying conditions. Hence, their travel time, the amplitude at sensor recordings and even manifestation in the so-called “shadow zones” are random. Therefore, the traditional least-squares technique for locating infrasonic sources is often not effective, and the problem for the best solution must be formulated in probabilistic terms. Recently, a series of papers has been published about Bayesian Infrasonic Source Localization (BISL) method based on the computation of the posterior probability density function (PPDF) of the source location, as a convolution of a priori probability distribution function (APDF) of the propagation model parameters with likelihood function (LF) of observations. The present study is devoted to the further development of BISL for higher accuracy and stability of the source location results and decreasing of computational load. We critically analyse previous algorithms and propose several new ones. First of all, we describe the general PPDF formulation and demonstrate that this relatively slow algorithm might be among the most accurate algorithms, provided the adequate APDF and LF are used. Then, we suggest using summation instead of integration in a general PPDF calculation for increased robustness, but this leads us to the 3D space-time optimization problem. Two different forms of APDF approximation are considered and applied for the PPDF calculation in our study. One of them is previously suggested, but not yet properly used is the so-called “celerity-range histograms” (CRHs). Another is the outcome from previous findings of linear mean travel time for the four first infrasonic phases in the overlapping consecutive distance ranges. This stochastic model is extended here to the regional distance of 1000 km, and the APDF introduced is the probabilistic form of the junction between this travel time model and range-dependent probability distributions of the phase arrival time picks. To illustrate the improvements in both computation time and location accuracy achieved, we compare location results for the new algorithms, previously published BISL-type algorithms and the least-squares location technique. This comparison is provided via a case study of different typical spatial data distributions and statistical experiment using the database of 36 ground-truth explosions from the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) recorded during the US summer season at USArray transportable seismic stations when they were near the site between 2006 and 2008.