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Seismic evidence for broad attenuation anomalies in the asthenosphere beneath the Pacific Ocean

Abstract : We present QADR17, a global model of Rayleigh-wave attenuation based on a massive surface wave data set (372 629 frequency-dependent attenuation curves in the period range 50-260 s). We correct for focusing-defocusing effects and geometrical spreading, and perform a stringent selection to only keep robust observations. Then, data with close epicentres recorded at the same station are clustered, as they sample the same Earth's structure. After this pre-selection, our data set consists of about 35 000 curves that constrain the Rayleigh-wave intrinsic attenuation in the upper mantle. The logarithms of the attenuation along the individual rays are then inverted to obtain global maps of the logarithm of the local attenuation. After a first inversion, outliers are rejected and a second inversion yields a variance reduction of about 45 per cent. Our attenuation maps present strong agreement with surface tectonics at periods lower than 200 s, with low attenuation under continents and high attenuation under oceans. Over oceans, attenuation decreases with increasing crustal ages, but at periods sensitive to the uppermost 150 km, mid-ocean ridges are not characterized by a very localized anomaly, in contrast to what is commonly observed for seismic velocity models. Attenuation is rather well correlated with hotspots, especially in the Pacific ocean, where a strong attenuating anomaly is observed in the long wavelength component of our signal at periods sampling the oceanic asthenosphere. We suggest that this anomaly results from the horizontal spreading of several thermal plumes within the asthenosphere. Strong velocity reductions associated with high attenuation anomalies of moderate amplitudes beneath the East Pacific Rise, the Red Sea and the eastern part of Asia may require additional mechanisms, such as partial melting.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 12:36:36 PM
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Alice Adenis, Eric Debayle, Yanick Ricard. Seismic evidence for broad attenuation anomalies in the asthenosphere beneath the Pacific Ocean. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017, 209 (3), pp.1677--1698. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggx117⟩. ⟨hal-02328803⟩



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