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The imprint of crustal density heterogeneities on regional seismic wave propagation

Authors: Plonka, A.I.; Blom, N.A.; Fichtner, A.; Seismology; NWO-VIDI: Full waveform inversion for upper-mantle density structure;

The imprint of crustal density heterogeneities on regional seismic wave propagation

Abstract

Density heterogeneities are the source of mass transport in the Earth. However, the 3-D density structure remains poorly constrained because travel times of seismic waves are only weakly sensitive to density. Inspired by recent developments in seismic waveform tomography, we investigate whether the visibility of 3-D density heterogeneities may be improved by inverting not only travel times of specific seismic phases but complete seismograms. As a first step in this direction, we perform numerical experiments to estimate the effect of 3-D crustal density heterogeneities on regional seismic wave propagation. While a finite number of numerical experiments may not capture the full range of possible scenarios, our results still indicate that realistic crustal density variations may lead to travel-time shifts of up to ∼ 1s and amplitude variations of several tens of percent over propagation distances of ∼ 1000km. Both amplitude and travel-time variations increase with increasing epicentral distance and increasing medium complexity, i.e. decreasing correlation length of the heterogeneities. They are practically negligible when the correlation length of the heterogeneities is much larger than the wavelength. However, when the correlation length approaches the wavelength, density-induced waveform perturbations become prominent. Recent regional-scale full-waveform inversions that resolve structure at the scale of a wavelength already reach this regime. Our numerical experiments suggest that waveform perturbations induced by realistic crustal density variations can be observed in high-quality regional seismic data. While density-induced travel-time differences will often be small, amplitude variations exceeding ±10% are comparable to those induced by 3-D velocity structure and attenuation. While these results certainly encourage more research on the development of 3-D density tomography, they also suggest that current full-waveform inversions that use amplitude information may be biased due to the neglect of 3-D variations in density.

Solid Earth, 7 (6)

ISSN:1869-9510

ISSN:1869-9529

Countries
Netherlands, Switzerland
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Seismic wave Range (statistics) Waveform Seismogram Attenuation Geophysics Wavelength Amplitude Tomography Geology Seismology

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Stratigraphy lcsh:QE640-699 lcsh:QE1-996.5 lcsh:Geology

Keywords

Stratigraphy, Soil Science, sub-02, Geochemistry and Petrology, signal processing, Earth-Surface Processes, Paleontology, Geology, Geophysics, seismic wave propagation

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    11
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
11
Top 10%
Average
Average
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