Abstract

This is a study of the nonisotropic scattering process based on radiative transfer theory and its application to the observation of the M 4.3 aftershock recording of the 2008 Wells earthquake sequence in Nevada. Given a wide range of recording distances from 29 to 320 km, the data provide a unique opportunity to discriminate scattering models based on their distance‐dependent behaviors. First, we develop a stable numerical procedure to simulate nonisotropic scattering waves based on the 3D nonisotropic scattering theory proposed by Sato (1995). By applying the simulation method to the inversion of M 4.3 Wells aftershock recordings, we find that a nonisotropic scattering model, dominated by forward scattering, provides the best fit to the observed high‐frequency direct S waves and S‐wave coda velocity envelopes. The scattering process is governed by a Gaussian autocorrelation function, suggesting a Gaussian random heterogeneous structure for the Nevada crust. The model successfully explains the common decay of seismic coda independent of source–station locations as a result of energy leaking from multiple strong forward scattering, instead of backscattering governed by the diffusion solution at large lapse times. The model also explains the pulse‐broadening effect in the high‐frequency direct and early arriving S waves, as other studies have found, and could be very important to applications of high‐frequency wave simulation in which scattering has a strong effect. We also find that regardless of its physical implications, the isotropic scattering model provides the same effective scattering coefficient and intrinsic attenuation estimates as the forward scattering model, suggesting that the isotropic scattering model is still a viable tool for the study of seismic scattering and intrinsic attenuation coefficients in the Earth.

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