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Published June 1969 | Published
Journal Article Open

Relative amplitudes of P and S waves as a mantle reconnaissance tool


The unified magnitude, the ratio of the amiplitudes of S to P waves, and travel-time residuals were compiled from published data for the five Seismological Observatories, TFO, UBO, BMO, WMO and CBO. Using one of the stations as a reference, a relative measure of the above quantities was calculated for each of the other stations for each of a number of earthquakes. The stations in the Basin and Range Province are consistent with a markedly higher attentuation of P waves and a high attenuation of S relative to P when compared to the other stations. This latter observation indicates a high Poisson's ratio in the mantle under the Basin and Range. The delay times to these stations are also consistent with the high Poisson's ratio and with a low-velocity upper mantle. The ratio of the amplitudes of long-period S waves to short-period P waves varies by a factor of 4 among these stations. BMO, in eastern Oregon, has a high S/P amplitude ratio compared to other stations and a travel-time residual that is comparable to the observatories in the mid-continent. This may be another example of a seismic "window" into the upper mantle that is generated by underthrusting of the oceanic lithosphere.

Additional Information

© 1969 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received September 26, 1968. This research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, United States Air Force, under AFOSR contract AF-49(638)-1337. We are grateful to David Hill for critically reading the manuscript.

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August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023