We study the spectral decay parameter κ using S‐wave recordings from the central Italy dense regional array. The data set used consists of 266 earthquakes, 353 stations, and 13,952 observations of κ with a mean value of 0.0412 ± 0.0177 within the distance range of 7.1–168.8 km. We model the variation of κ with hypocenter distance r as κ(r)=κ0+κs+κ˜(r), in which κ0 and κs represent the near‐site and the near‐source decay parameters, respectively, and κ˜(r) the average κ along the S‐wave source‐station paths. We first determine κ˜(r) with a nonparametric inversion approach and then we solved for κ0 and κs with a second inversion. We found that κ˜(r) increases with distance within the whole distance range analyzed (9.2–80.6 km). The near‐source decay parameter takes values in the range 0.0<κs0.026 with a mean value of 0.003 ± 0.006, which represents 7.52% of the mean value of the observed κ. The values of the near‐site decay parameter vary in the range 0.0035κ00.0823 with a mean value of 0.0298 ± 0.0133, that is, 72.28% of the mean value of the κ observed. We conclude that most of the high‐frequency attenuation takes place near the site, because κ˜(r) contributes with only 20.2% of the spectral decay. We also investigate the spatial variability of κ by determining κ˜(r) within four quadrants that divide the studied region taking as a reference axis the Apennines chain orientation. We found higher values of κ˜(r) in the southern quadrants, where seismicity and faulting are more active, and less attenuation in the more stable northeast quadrant.

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