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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-109
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-109
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 25 Oct 2018

Review article | 25 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Power Spectra of Random Heterogeneities of the Solid Earth

Haruo Sato Haruo Sato
  • Geophysics, Science, Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, 980-8578, Japan

Abstract. Recent seismological observations focusing on the collapse of an impulsive wavelet revealed the existence of small-scale random heterogeneities in the earth medium. The radiative transfer theory (RTT) is often used for the study of the propagation and scattering of wavelet intensities, the mean square amplitude envelopes. For the statistical characterization of the power spectral density function (PSDF) of the random fractional fluctuation of velocity inhomogeneities in a 3D space, we use von Karman type with three parameters: the root mean square (RMS) fractional velocity fluctuation, the characteristic length, and the order of the modified Bessel function of the second kind, which leads to the power-law decay of PSDF at wavenumbers higher than the corner. We compile reported statistical parameters of the lithosphere and the mantle based on various types of measurements for a wide range of wavenumbers: photo scan data of rock samples, acoustic well log data, and envelope analyses of cross-hole experiment seismograms, regional seismograms and tele-seismic waves based on the RTT. Reported exponents of wavenumber are distributed between −3 and −4, where many of them are close to −3. Reported RMS fractional fluctuations are of the order of 0.01~0.1 in the crust and the upper mantle. Reported characteristic lengths distribute very widely, however, each one seems to be restricted by the dimension of the measurement system or the sample length. In order to grasp the spectral characteristics, eliminating strong heterogeneity data and the lower mantle data, we have plotted all the reported PSDFs of the crust and the upper mantle against wavenumber for a wide range 10−3108km−1. We find that the envelope of those PSDFs is well approximated by the −3rd power of wavenumber. It suggests that the earth medium randomness has a broad spectrum. In theory, we need to re-examine the applicable range of the Born approximation in the RTT when the wavenumber of a wavelet is much higher than the corner. In observation, we will have to measure carefully the PSDF on both sides of the corner. We may consider the obtained power-law decay spectral envelope as a reference for studying the regional differences. It is interesting to study what kinds of geophysical processes created the observed power-law spectral envelope in different scales and in different portions of the solid earth medium.

Haruo Sato
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Haruo Sato
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Short summary
Recent seismological observations focusing on the collapse of an impulsive wavelet and the excitation of coda waves revealed the existence of random heterogeneities in the earth medium. We have compiled reported power spectra characterizing random heterogeneities; from a mineral grain size to the upper mantle. Each power spectrum is well approximated by von Karman type; however, the envelope of those power spectra obeys a power-law decay spectrum for a very wide range of wavenumbers.
Recent seismological observations focusing on the collapse of an impulsive wavelet and the...
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