The attenuation of shear waves propagating in the crust of northwestern Turkey has been investigated in the frequency range 1–10 Hz. A standard spectral inversion scheme is applied to a data set of 245 aftershocks (ML <4.5) of the 1999 Izmit earthquake. The obtained attenuation-with-distance curves have been described in terms of the t* cumulative attenuation parameter and its dependence on frequency and distance investigated. At 1 Hz, Q−1, evaluated by normalizing t* to the travel time, is generally larger than 0.025 for source-to-station distances smaller than 40 km, indicating the presence of a highly attenuating upper crust in the area. Over longer distances, Q−1 decreases, suggesting a decrease in the attenuation with depth. By contrast, the normalized t* computed for earthquakes recorded at stations having almost the same distance from the sources do not show a strong dependence on the backazimuth. These results suggest that the decrease of Q−1 with depth is more significant than its lateral variations. Regarding its frequency dependence, Q−1 almost linearly decreases with frequency.

Finally, the near-surface-attenuation parameter k is evaluated at 12 stations and the results discussed in terms of site, event, and propagation contributions. The event contribution is not negligible and shows a significant positive correlation with magnitude. The site term is smaller than 0.020 sec for rock or topographic sites, while it assumes values of 0.036 sec and 0.042 sec for two stations installed over thick soft sedimentary layers.

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