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Rayleigh Wave Attenuation and Amplification Measured at Ocean-Bottom Seismometer Arrays using Helmholtz Tomography
  • Joshua B. Russell,
  • Colleen A Dalton
Joshua B. Russell
Brown University, Brown University

Corresponding Author:joshua_russell@brown.edu

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Colleen A Dalton
Brown University, Brown University
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Shear attenuation provides insights into the physical and chemical state of the upper mantle. Yet, observations of attenuation are infrequent in the oceans, despite recent proliferation of arrays of ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS). Studies of attenuation in marine environments must overcome unique challenges associated with strong oceanographic noise at the seafloor and data loss during OBS recovery in addition to untangling the competing influences of elastic focusing, local site amplification, and anelastic attenuation on surface-wave amplitudes. We apply Helmholtz tomography to OBS data to simultaneously resolve Rayleigh wave attenuation and site amplification at periods of 20-150 s. The approach explicitly accounts for elastic focusing and defocusing due to lateral velocity heterogeneity using wavefield curvature. We validate the approach using realistic wavefield simulations at the NoMelt Experiment and Juan de Fuca (JdF) plate, which represent endmember open-ocean and coastline-adjacent environments, respectively. Focusing corrections are successfully recovered at both OBS arrays, including at periods < 35 s at JdF where coastline effects result in strong multipathing. When applied to real data, our observations of Rayleigh wave attenuation at NoMelt and JdF revise previous estimates. At NoMelt, we observe a low attenuation lithospheric layer (Qμ > 1500) overlying a highly attenuating asthenospheric layer (Qμ ~ 50-70). At JdF, we find a broad peak in attenuation (Qμ ~ 50-60) centered at a depth of 100-130 km. We also report strong local site amplification at the JdF Ridge (>10% at 31 s period), which can be used to refine models of crust and shallow mantle structure.
Oct 2022Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth volume 127 issue 10. 10.1029/2022JB025174