abstract

Surface wave studies have shown that the transition region of the upper mantle, Bullen's Region C, is not spread uniformly over some 600 km but contains two relatively thin zones in which the velocity gradient is extremely high. In addition to these transition regions which start at depths near 350 and 650 km, there is another region of high velocity gradient which terminates the lowvelocity zone near 160 km. Theoretical body wave travel time and amplitude calculations for the surface wave model CIT11GB predict two prominent regions of triplication in the travel-time curves between about 15° and 40° for both P and S waves, with large amplitude later arrivals. These large later arivals provide an explanation for the scatter of travel time data in this region, as well as the varied interpretations of the “20° discontinuity.”

Travel times, apparent velocities and amplitudes of P waves are calculated for the Earth models of Gutenberg, Lehmann, Jeffreys and Lukk and Nersesov. These quantities are calculated for both P and S waves for model CIT11GB. Although the first arrival travel times are similar for all the models except that of Lukk and Nersesov, the times of the later arrivals differ greatly. The neglect of later arrivals is one reason for the discrepancies among the body wave models and between the surface wave and body wave models.

The amplitude calculations take into account both geometric spreading and anelasticity. Geometric spreading produces large variations in the amplitude with distance, and is an extremely sensitive function of the model parameters, providing a potentially powerful tool for studying details of the Earth's structure. The effect of attenuation on the amplitudes varies much less with distance than does the geometric spreading effect. Its main effect is to reduce the amplitude at higher frequencies, particularly for S waves, which may accunt for their observed low frequency character.

Data along a profile to the northeast of the Nevada Test Site clearly show a later branch similar to the one predicted for model CIT11GB, beginning at about 12° with very large amplitudes and becoming a first arrival at about 18°. Strong later arrivals occur in the entire distance range of the data shown, 1112°. to 21°. Two models are presented which fit these data. They differ only slightly and confirm the existence of discontinuities near 400 and 600 kilometers.

A method is described for predicting the effect on travel times of small changes in the Earth structure.

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