Digital recordings of microearthquake codas from shallow and intermediate depth earthquakes in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan were used to determine the attenuation factors of the S-wave coda (Qc) and primary S waves (Qβ). An anomalously rapid decay of the coda shortly after the S-wave arrival, observed also in a study of coda in central Asia by Rautian and Khalturin (1978), seems to be due primarily to depth-dependent variations in Qc. In particular, we deduce the average Qc in the crust and uppermost mantle (<100-km depth) is approximately four times lower than the deeper mantle (<400-km depth) over a wide frequency range (0.4 to 24 Hz). Further, while Qc generally increases with frequency at any depth, the degree of frequency dependence of Qc depends on depth. Except at the highest frequency studied here (∼48 Hz), the magnitude of Qc at a particular frequency increases with depth while its frequency dependence decreases. For similar depths, determinations of Qβ and Qc agree, suggesting a common wave composition and attenuation mechanism for S waves and codas. Comparison of these determinations of Qc in Afghanistan with those in other parts of the world shows that the degree of frequency dependence of Qc correlates with the expected regional heterogeneity. Such a correlation supports the prejudice that Qc is primarily influenced by scattering and suggests that tectonic processes such as folding and faulting are instrumental in creating scattering environments.

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