Velocity and attenuation structure of the mantle : constraints from differential properties of shear waves
Although much progress has been made in determining the three dimensional distribution of seismic wave velocities in the Earth, substantially less is known about the three dimensional distribution of intrinsic attenuation. In this study variations in attenuation and shear velocity of the Earth's mantle are constrained using measurements of differential travel time and attenuation. The data are broadband displacement SH seismograms filtered to have energy in the period range 8 to 20 s. Broadband data are used as they should allow a more accurate estimation of body wave attenuation to be made. The seismograms are obtained from over 600 globally distributed earthquakes of magnitude, Mw, 5.5 or greater. Two new methods for determining differential travel times and differential t* values from multiple S phases are presented. The first of these, referred to as the "waveform fitting method" is used to analyse approximately 4300 SS and S waveforms and around 1000 SSS and SS waveforms resulting in differential SS-S and SSS-SS travel times, and corresponding values of differential attenuation represented by t*. The second method, referred to as the "spectral ratio method" is used to analyse approximately 3200 SS and S and around 900 SSS and SS waveforms. The differential travel times and t* values are inverted to obtain models of the lateral variation of shear velocity and lateral variation of q(mu) where q(mu) =1/Q(mu). The models explain the data well but have limited depth resolution. The velocity models show good correlation with previous studies, in particular, low velocities are observed underlying spreading ridges and convergent margins and high velocities are observed under continental regions. The q(mu) model shows shield regions to be less attenuating than PREM, with ridges appearing as highly attenuating features. Models of shear velocity and attenuation are also obtained by combining the body wave dataset of this study with the surface wave datasets of Van Heijst (1997) and Selby (1998).