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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Solid Earth, 6, 701-717, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Jun 2015
Instaseis: instant global seismograms based on a broadband waveform database
M. van Driel1, L. Krischer2, S. C. Stähler3,2, K. Hosseini2, and T. Nissen-Meyer4 1Dept. of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, Sonneggstrasse 5, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
2Dept. of Earth Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Theresienstraße 41, 80333 Munich, Germany
3Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde, Seestraße 15, 18119 Rostock, Germany
4Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
Abstract. We present a new method and implementation (Instaseis) to store global Green's functions in a database which allows for near-instantaneous (on the order of milliseconds) extraction of arbitrary seismograms. Using the axisymmetric spectral element method (AxiSEM), the generation of these databases, based on reciprocity of the Green's functions, is very efficient and is approximately half as expensive as a single AxiSEM forward run. Thus, this enables the computation of full databases at half the cost of the computation of seismograms for a single source in the previous scheme and allows to compute databases at the highest frequencies globally observed. By storing the basis coefficients of the numerical scheme (Lagrange polynomials), the Green's functions are 4th order accurate in space and the spatial discretization respects discontinuities in the velocity model exactly. High-order temporal interpolation using Lanczos resampling allows to retrieve seismograms at any sampling rate. AxiSEM is easily adaptable to arbitrary spherically symmetric models of Earth as well as other planets. In this paper, we present the basic rationale and details of the method as well as benchmarks and illustrate a variety of applications. The code is open source and available with extensive documentation at .

Citation: van Driel, M., Krischer, L., Stähler, S. C., Hosseini, K., and Nissen-Meyer, T.: Instaseis: instant global seismograms based on a broadband waveform database, Solid Earth, 6, 701-717,, 2015.
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