AGU Fall Meeting 2021 – Seismic scattering in the Martian lithosphere: an analytical approach using InSight data


The scattering of seismic waves is the signature of random heterogeneities, present in the lithospheric structure of a terrestrial planet. It is the result of refraction and reflection of the seismic waves generated by a quake, when they cross materials with different shear rigidity, bulk modulus, and density and therefore different seismic wave velocities, compared to the ambient space.

We focused our investigation on the characteristics of the S-coda waveforms and for this reason, we worked on the respective energy envelopes. We manually picked the envelopes, defining the time window of the S-coda waves and the frequency range for each event, directly from spectrograms, using an appropriately developed visual tool.

We used a modeling approach (Dainty et al., 1974) that was developed for the computation of the energy envelopes of shallow Lunar events and a diffusive layer, sitting over an elastic half-space. The energy envelope depends on the thickness of the diffusive layer, the range of the seismic ray, the diffusivity and the attenuation in the top layer, and the seismic wave velocity in the underneath elastic half-space. We analyzed all the tradeoffs between the terms of the modeling equation, namely the geometrical relationship of the velocity contrast between the diffusive layer and the elastic half-space with the seismic ray range and the diffusive layer thickness, the diffusivity with the diffusive layer thickness, and between the diffusivity and the velocity contrast of the two examined layers.

The presence of the aforementioned tradeoffs made the definition of a unique model a very hard task, as the information for the azimuthal characteristics of the signal is not available for the examined events. This is a limitation that exists in seismology only while working with one station, and the amplitude of the seismic signal is not big enough to perform a specific polarization analysis and derive the azimuthal origin of the recorded signal. For this reason, we reviewed the fit between the modeling and the data, depending on the frequency content of the events. The results of this study illustrate one of the challenges in working with single-station seismic data where event location information, including distance, azimuth, and depth are crucial for understanding the lateral variation in seismic properties of a planet.


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