The observed behavior of P-wave relative amplitudes, as a function of epicentral distance, between 10° and 35°, is controlled primarily by the velocity-depth structure of the upper mantle. P-wave synthetic seismograms calculated by the new quantized ray theory technique are used to determine theoretical log (A/T) versus log Δ curves from a number of upper mantle models. Maximum amplitude arrivals show less model dependence than the first arrivals in the same wave trains, and hence are more consistent magnitude indicators for regions where the upper mantle structure is poorly known. Log (A/T) versus log Δ curves vary considerably, but predictably, from model to model. This model-dependent variation can account for a major part of the large standard deviations usually associated with the calculation of magnitudes from body waves.

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