We develop a robust algorithm to compute seismic normal modes in a spherically symmetric, non-rotating Earth. A well-known problem is the cross-contamination of modes near "intersections" of dispersion curves for separate waveguides. Our novel computational approach completely avoids artificial degeneracies by guaranteeing orthonormality among the eigenfunctions. We extend Buland’s work, and reformulate the Sturm-Liouville problem as a generalized eigenvalue problem with the Rayleigh-Ritz Galerkin method. A special projection operator incorporating the gravity terms proposed by de Hoop and a displacement/pressure formulation are utilized in the fluid outer core to project out the essential spectrum. Moreover, the weak variational form enables us to achieve high accuracy across the solid-fluid boundary, especially for Stoneley modes, which have exponentially decaying behavior. We also employ the mixed finite element technique to avoid spurious pressure modes arising from discretization schemes and a numerical inf-sup test is performed following Bathe’s work. In addition, the self-gravitation terms are reformulated to avoid computations outside the Earth, thanks to the domain decomposition technique.
Our package enables us to study the physical properties of intersection points of waveguides. According to Okal's classification theory, the group velocities should be continuous within a branch of the same mode family. However, we have found that there will be a small “bump” near intersection points, which is consistent with Miropol'sky’s observation. In fact, we can loosely regard Earth’s surface and the CMB as independent waveguides. For those modes that are far from the intersection points, their eigenfunctions are localized in the corresponding waveguides. However, those that are close to intersections will have physical features of both waveguides, which means they cannot be classified in either family. Our results improve on Okal’s classification, demonstrating that dispersion curves from independent waveguides should be considered to break at intersection points. Moreover, intersection points have close relations with Stoneley-related modes observed from earthquakes data, which casts light on studying deep Earth's structures.