Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 175, Issue 8, pp 2905–2930 | Cite as

Ultrasonic P- and S-Wave Attenuation and Petrophysical Properties of Deccan Flood Basalts, India, as Revealed by Borehole Studies

  • Nimisha Vedanti
  • Ajay Malkoti
  • O. P. PandeyEmail author
  • J. P. Shrivastava


Petrophysical properties and ultrasonic P- and S-wave attenuation measurements on 35 Deccan basalt core specimens, recovered from Killari borehole site in western India, provide unique reference data-sets for a lesser studied Deccan Volcanic Province. These samples represent 338-m-thick basaltic column, consisting four lava flows each of Ambenali and Poladpur Formations, belonging to Wai Subgroup of the Deccan volcanic sequence. These basalt samples are found to be iron-rich (average FeOT: 13.4 wt%), but relatively poor in silica content (average SiO2: 47.8 wt%). The saturated massive basalt cores are characterized by a mean density of 2.91 g/cm3 (range 2.80–3.01 g/cm3) and mean P- and S-wave velocities of 5.89 km/s (range 5.01–6.50 km/s) and 3.43 km/s (range 2.84–3.69 km/s), respectively. In comparison, saturated vesicular basalt cores show a wide range in density (2.40–2.79 g/cm3) as well as P-wave (3.28–4.78 km/s) and S-wave (1.70–2.95 km/s) velocities. Based on the present study, the Deccan volcanic sequence can be assigned a weighted mean density of 2.74 g/cm3 and a low Vp and Vs of 5.00 and 3.00 km/s, respectively. Such low velocities in Deccan basalts can be attributed mainly to the presence of fine-grained glassy material, high iron contents, and hydrothermally altered secondary mineral products, besides higher porosity in vesicular samples. The measured Q values in saturated massive basalt cores vary enormously (Qp: 33–1960 and Qs: 35–506), while saturated vesicular basalt samples exhibit somewhat lesser variation in Qp (6–46) as well as Qs (5–49). In general, high-porosity rocks exhibit high attenuation, but we observed the high value of attenuation in some of the massive basalt core samples also. In such cases, energy loss is mainly due to the presence of fine-grained glassy material as well as secondary alteration products like chlorophaeite, that could contribute to intrinsic attenuation. Dominance of weekly bound secondary minerals might also be responsible for the generation of microcracks, which may generate squirt flow in saturated samples. Hence, we argue that the Deccan basalts attenuate seismic energy significantly, where its composition plays a major role.


Petrophysical properties P- and S-wave attenuation massive and vesicular basalts Ambenali and Poladpur Formations Killari borehole Deccan traps 



We thank Drs. K.J.P. Lakshmi, Kesav Krishna and M. Satyanarayanan for petrophysical and geochemical analysis and Drs. D. V. Subbarao and Dinesh Pandit for petrological examination of the thin sections and many useful discussions. We are also thankful to Prof. Mrinal K. Sen, Ex-Director, CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, for making available the samples for the analysis. This study has been supported by CSIR project SHORE PSC 0205. Dr. O.P. Pandey is thankful to CSIR for emeritus scientist position at CSIR-NGRI. One of the authors (AM) acknowledges UGC for providing Senior Research Fellowship. Further, highly constructive suggestions made by the anonymous reviewer and Prof. Y. Gueguen, Editor, Pure and Applied Geophysics, have been very helpful in improving the manuscript. Permission accorded by the Director CSIR-NGRI to publish this work, is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIR-National Geophysical Research InstituteHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Academy for Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-NGRIHyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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