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Open Access

Automatic seismic wave arrival detection and picking with stationary analysis: Application of the KM2O-Langevin equations

Earth, Planets and Space200759:BF03352719

Received: 20 June 2006

Accepted: 13 March 2007

Published: 27 June 2007


An automatic detection and a precise picking of the arrival times of seismic waves using digital seismograms are important for earthquake early detection systems. Here we suggest a new method for detecting and picking P-and S-wave signals automatically. Compared to methods currently in use, our method requires fewer assumption with properties of the data time series. We divide a record into intervals of equal lengths and check the “local and weak stationarity” of each interval using the theory of the KM2O-Langevin equations. The intervals are stationary when these include only background noise, but the stationarity breaks abruptly when a seismic signal arrives and the intervals include both the background noise and the P-wave. This break of stationarity makes us possible to detect P-wave arrival. We expand the method for picking of S-waves. We applied our method to earthquake data from Hi-net Japan, and 90% of P-wave auto-picks were found to be within 0.1 s of the corresponding manual picks, and 70% of S-wave picks were within 0.1 s of the manual picks. This means that our method is accurate enough to use as a part of the seismic early detection system.

Key words

WaveformarrivalpickerKM2O-Langevin equationsauto-regressive modelP-waveS-wave