Frequency dependence of Q in Earth's upper mantle inferred from continuous spectra of body waves

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Abstract

[1] The frequency dependence of Q in Earth's upper mantle is investigated using the continuous P wave spectra over 0.08 < f < 8.0 Hz. Regional waveform data from 23 events in the Pacific slab recorded on broadband stations in western Japan were used to create spectral ratio estimates of P waves which sample a subducting slab and mantle wedge. We assumed the power-law model Q(f) = Q0(f/f0)α and applied a grid search to determine the best fit α and Q0. The inferred frequency dependence (0.2 < α < 0.4) in most regions is consistent with laboratory data on solid olivine but not on partially molten olivine-rich rocks except those data for deep events. Close agreement between seismological and laboratory observations on frequency dependence of Q suggests that physical mechanisms of seismic wave attenuation are common and therefore laboratory data can be used to infer the physical state of Earth's upper mantle from seismic wave attenuation.

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