The increasingly dense coverage of Europe with broad-band seismic stations makes it possible to image its lithospheric structure in great detail, provided that structural information can be extracted effectively from the very large volumes of data. We develop an automated technique for the measurement of interstation phase velocities of (earthquake-excited) fundamental-mode surface waves in very broad period ranges. We then apply the technique to all available broad-band data from permanent and temporary networks across Europe. In a new implementation of the classical two-station method, Rayleigh and Love dispersion curves are determined by cross-correlation of seismograms from a pair of stations. An elaborate filtering and windowing scheme is employed to enhance the target signal and makes possible a significantly broader frequency band of the measurements, compared to previous implementations of the method. The selection of acceptable phase-velocity measurements for each event is performed in the frequency domain, based on a number of fine-tuned quality criteria including a smoothness requirement. Between 5 and 3000 single-event dispersion measurements are averaged per interstation path in order to obtain robust, broad-band dispersion curves with error estimates. In total, around 63,000 Rayleigh- and 27,500 Love-wave dispersion curves between 10 and 350 s have been determined, with standard deviations lower than 2 per cent and standard errors lower than 0.5 per cent. Comparisons of phase-velocity measurements using events at opposite backazimuths and the examination of the variance of the phase-velocity curves are parts of the quality control. With the automated procedure, large data sets can be consistently and repeatedly measured using varying selection parameters. Comparison of average interstation dispersion curves obtained with different degrees of smoothness shows that rough perturbations do not systematically bias the average dispersion measurement. They can, therefore, be treated as random but they do need to be removed in order to reduce random errors of the measurements. Using our large new data set, we construct phase-velocity maps for central and northern Europe. According to checkerboard tests, the lateral resolution in central Europe is ≤150 km. Comparison of regional surface-wave tomography with independent data on sediment thickness in North-German Basin and Polish Trough confirms the high-resolution potential of our phase-velocity measurements. At longer periods, the structure of the lithosphere and asthenosphere around the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ) is seen clearly. The region of the Tornquist-Teisseyre-Zone in the southeast is associated with a stronger lateral contrast in lithospheric thickness, across the TESZ compared to the region across the Sorgenfrei-Tornquist-Zone in the northwest.
EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut