pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 125, Issue 4, pp 499–577 | Cite as

Coda waves: A review

  • M. Herraiz
  • A. F. Espinosa


The analysis and interpretation of coda waves have received increasing attention since the early seventies. In the past few years interest in this subject has spread worldwide, and the study of high-frequency seismic coda waves has become a very important seismological topic. As a conclusion of the studies accomplished in this time, coda waves are considered the result of scattering processes caused by heterogeneities acting on seismic waves.P andS waves play a particularly important role in this interaction. The process introduces an attenuation which, added to the intrinsic absorption, gives the observed apparent attenuation. Therefore, coda waves constitute a thumbprint left by the heterogeneities on the seismograms. Coda waves offer decisive information about the mechanism of how scattering and attenuation take place. This review describes coda waves in detail, and summarizes the work done in this subject to 1986. The relation between coda waves and attenuation in the context of research on seismic scattering problems is stressed. Particular attention has been given to the application of coda waves to estimate source and medium parameters. The state-of-the-art of the temporal variations of coda wave shape, and the possible use of these variations as an earthquake precursor also are presented. Care has been taken to introduce the statistical models used to deal with the heterogeneities responsible for scattering.

Key words

High frequency seismic waves coda waves attenuation scattering heterogeneity absorption inhomogeneity coda quality factor Lg quality factor 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Herraiz
    • 1
  • A. F. Espinosa
    • 2
  1. 1.Cátedra de Geofisica, Facultad de Ciencias FísicasUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain
  2. 2.M.S. 966, Denver Federal CenterU.S. Geological SurveyDenverUSA

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