pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 132, Issue 3, pp 545–568 | Cite as

Attenuation and dispersion ofSH waves due to scattering by randomly distributed cracks

  • Teruo Yamashita


The effect of randomly distributed cracks on the attenuation and dispersion ofSH waves is theoretically studied. If earthquake ruptures are caused by sudden coalescence of preexisting cracks, it will be crucial for earthquake prediction to monitor the temporal variation of the crack distribution. Our aim is to investigate how the property of crack distribution is reflected in the attenuation and dispersion of elastic waves.

We introduce the stochastic property, in the mathematical analysis, for the distributions of crack location, crack size and crack orientation. The crack size distribution is assumed to be described by a power law probability density (p(a) ∞ a−γ foraminaamax according to recent seismological and experimental knowledge, wherea is a half crack length and the range 1≤γ≤3 is assumed. The distribution of crack location is assumed to be homogeneous for the sake of mathematical simplicity, and a low crack density is assumed. The stochastic property of each crack is assumed to be independent of that of the other cracks. We assume two models, that is, the aligned crack model and the randomly oriented crack model, for the distribution of crack orientation. All cracks are assumed to be aligned in the former model. The orientation of each crack is assumed to be random in the latter model, and the homogeneous distribution is assumed for the crack orientation. The idea of the mean wave formalism is employed in the analysis, and Foldy's approximation is assumed.

We observe the following features common to both the aligned crack model and the randomly oriented crack model. The attenuation coefficientQ−1 decays in proportion tok−1 in the high frequency range and its growth is proportional tok2 in the low frequency range, wherek is the intrinsic wave number. This asymptotic behavior is parameter-independent, too. The attenuation coefficientQ−1 has a broader peak as γ increases and/oramin/amax decreases. The nondimensional peak wave numberk p amax at whichQ−1 takes the peak value is almost independent ofamin/amax for γ=1 and 2 while it considerably depends onamin/amax for γ=3. The phase velocity is almost independent ofk in the rangekamax<1 and increases monotonically ask increases in the rangekamax>1. While the magnitude ofQ−1 and the phase velocity considerably depend on the orientation of the crack in the aligned crack model, the above feature does not depend on the crack orientation.

The accumulation of seismological measurements suggests thatQ−1 ofS waves has a peak at around 0.5 Hz. If this observation is combined with our theoretical results onk p amax, the probable range ofamax of the crack distribution in the earth can be estimated for γ=1 or 2. If we assume 4 km/sec as theS wave velocity of the matrix medium,amax is estimated to range from 2 to 5 km. We cannot estimateamax in a narrow range for γ=3.

Key words

Cracks scattering attenuation phase velocity SH waves 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teruo Yamashita
    • 1
  1. 1.Earthquake Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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