Sedimentary Basins and the Blockage of Lg Wave Propagation in the Continents
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— The phenomenon of “Lg blockage,” where Lg is strongly attenuated by crustal heterogeneities, poses a serious problem to CTBT monitoring because Lg is an important seismic phase for discrimination. This paper examines blockage in three continental regions where the Lg blockages may be caused by large, enclosed sedimentary basins along the propagation path. The Barents Sea Basin blocks Lg propagation across the Barents Sea from the Russian nuclear test sites at Novaya Zemlya to Scandinavian stations. Also, “early Lg” waves are observed in Sn codas on NORSAR, NORESS, and ARCESS recordings of Novaya Zemlya explosions where direct Lg is blocked. Early Lg waves may have resulted from Sn-to-Lg mode conversion at the contact between the Barents Basin and the Kola Peninsula. The Northern and Southern Caspian Sea Basins also block Lg waves from PNEs and earthquakes, perhaps due to thick, low-velocity, low-Q sediments replacing the granitic layer rocks in the crust. Lg blockage has also been observed in the Western Mediterranean/Levantine Basin due to low-Q sediments and crustal thinning. A “basin capture” model is proposed to explain Lg blockage in sedimentary basins. In this model, shear waves that reverberate in the crust and constitute the Lg wave train are captured, delayed, and attenuated by thick, low-velocity sediments that replace the “granitic” layer rocks of the upper crust along part of the propagation path. Sn waves, which propagate below the basin, would not be blocked and in fact, the blocked Lg waves may be diverted downward into Sn waves by the low velocity sediments in the basin.
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