Sensor orientation of the TMD seismic network (Thailand) from P-wave particle motions

Patinya Pornsopin, Passakorn Pananont, Kevin P. Furlong, Eric Sandvol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) seismic network began development in 2008. There are a total of 71 seismic stations consisting of 26 borehole stations and 45 surface stations currently installed. The three-component data from the TMD seismic network have been widely used in previous seismological studies. In a recent analysis, we have found that sensor orientation as reported in the site metadata is sometimes significantly incorrect, especially for borehole stations. In this study, we analyze P-wave polarization data from regional and teleseismic earthquakes recorded in the network to estimate the true instrument orientation relative to geographic north and compare that to station metadata. Of the 45 surface stations, we found that at present, ~ 82% are well oriented (i.e., aligned within 0–15° of true north). However, 8 sites have sensors misoriented by more than 15°, and some stations had a temporal change in sensor orientation during an upgrade to the seismic system with replacement of the sensor. We also evaluated sensor orientations for 26 TMD borehole seismic stations, from 2018 to the 2022. For many of the borehole stations, the actual sensor orientation differs significantly from the TMD metadata, especially at short-period stations. Many of those stations have sensor misorientations approaching 180°, due to errors in the ambient noise analysis calibration techniques used during installation. We have also investigated how this sensor misorientation affects previous seismic studies, such as regional moment tensor inversion of earthquakes sources and receiver function stacking. We have found that the large deviations in sensor orientation can result in erroneous results and/or large measurement errors. A cause of the orientation error for borehole sites could be a combination of strong background surface ambient seismic noise coupled with an incorrect reference instrument response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalGeoscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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