Skip to main content


cross-correlation In comparing one wave-form with another, the correlation of two digital traces (i.e. wave-forms that have been digitized) which are similar but not the same, with one being delayed in time with respect to the other. The operator slides one trace past the other in small time steps (called delays or lags) and at each step the elements of the traces are multiplied together, term by term, and the products added. The maximum value (almost equal to unity) of this cross-correlation is obtained when the two traces are in closest alignment with each other. A value of −1 means the wave-forms are identically matched but opposite in phase; a value approaching zero indicates low degrees of similarity. The method is extremely useful for detecting wave-forms swamped by noise and, in particular, in the analysis of Vibroseis records. See also AUTO-CORRELATION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cross-correlation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . 22 Sep. 2019 <>.

"cross-correlation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . (September 22, 2019).

"cross-correlation." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved September 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.