Modelling two-dimensional global seismic wave propagation in a laterally heterogeneous whole-Moon model

Yanbin Wang, Hiroshi Takenaka, Xianghua Jiang, Jianshe Lei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The whole-Moon model was recently proposed by re-analyzing of lunar seismic data, which presumes efficient propagation of seismic waves within the Moon. However, common seismic body-wave or surface-wave phases observed for earthquake are absent or very weak in lunar seismic signals characterized by strong reverberations and coda. Hence, the process of seismic wave propagation in the Moon's interior is not well understood from limited lunar seismic data. We present numerical simulations of seismic body wave propagation in the whole Moon based on recently published whole-Moon model. Seismic wave equations are solved in a 2-D cross-section of spherical Moon with a staggered grid pseudospectral and finite difference hybrid method. Our simulation results provide the processes of seismic body wave propagation in the wholeMoon for both deep and shallow moonquakes with sequential wavefield snapshots and synthetic waveforms. Effects of lateral heterogeneity on seismic wave propagation were investigated by simulations for a Moon tomographic model. Comparisons with the observed Apollo seismograms show that simulations predicted the arrivals of direct P and S waves and reproduced the reverberating nature of both direct and secondary waves. However, modelling with only the 1-D or tomographic model does not seem to be enough to produce the slow decay of energy in observations if other possible factors, such as scattering, are not considered in the model. Comparisons between different focal mechanisms suggest that great differences can be seen for the direct waves, but the structure model contributes significantly to the overall characteristics of synthetic seismograms. Numerical simulations demonstrated efficient propagation and interactions with various interfaces of seismic body waves within the whole Moon. Seismic energy propagating in the near surface low-velocity layer formed trapped waves, which propagate along the surface and appear as reverberations in the waveforms. Strength of the reverberations increases with dominant frequency and decreasing focal depth. Detectability of lunar seismic body-wave phases should be enhanced with deployment of very broad band seismometer network in the future lunar seismic experiment, which will further improve our knowledge of the Moon's interior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1287
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Body waves
  • Computational seismology
  • Numerical solutions
  • Wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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