Applications and limitations of distributed acoustic sensing in shallow seismic surveys and monitoring

Yarin Abukrat*, Pavel Sinitsyn, Moshe Reshef, Ariel Lellouch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) is an emerging technology gaining acceptance in a variety of seismological applications. We systematically analyze the adaptability and usefulness of horizontal DAS deployments for near-surface geophysical applications, such as surface wave inversion, diving wave tomography, and passive subsurface source location. We find that, in accordance with previous studies, DAS data are generally similar to traditional sensors and can be successfully used independently. Nonetheless, DAS data suffer from inherent limitations due to the design of the optical measurement system. Among others, we identify the gauge length, measurement directivity, and saturation at near offsets as the primary limiting factors. When operating in low-velocity environments and a standard 10 m gauge length, surface wave analysis may be constrained to the usage of low frequencies due to the wavenumber filtering effect of the gauge length. The measurement directivity generally prohibits applications that are based on upgoing P-wave energy, such as near-offset diving wave tomography. In addition, saturation at near offsets prevents reliable diving wave traveltime picking. As a consequence of these limitations, the ultrashallow resolution achievable with DAS data is poor. Source directivity also strongly limits passive source location resolution. Whereas some of the limitations can be alleviated through an optimal choice of optical parameters at the interrogator level, we mostly rely on adapted field acquisition and data processing workflows that use the undisturbed portion of the recorded signal. Eventually, the spatiotemporal resolution and relative ease of long-term deployments turn DAS into a worthwhile option for monitoring and time-lapse scenarios, or when operating in urban environments over existing infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)WC1-WC12
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • acquisition
  • distributed acoustic sensors
  • near surface
  • passive seismic
  • surface wave


Dive into the research topics of 'Applications and limitations of distributed acoustic sensing in shallow seismic surveys and monitoring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this