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Lg Coda Q and its Relation to the Structure and Evolution of Continents: A Global Perspective

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—Tomographic maps of Lg coda Q (Q c Lg) variation are now available for nearly the entire African, Eurasian, South American, and Australian continents, as well as for the United States. Q c Lg at 1 Hz (Q 0) varies from less than 200 to more than 1000 and Q c Lg frequency dependence (<eta>) varies between 0.0 and nearly 1.0. Q 0 appears to increase in proportion to the length of time that has elapsed since the most recent major episode of tectonic or orogenic activity in any region. A plot of Q 0 versus time since that activity indicates that a single Q 0-time relation approximates most mean Q 0 values. Those that deviate most from the trend lay in Australia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the East African rift. The increase in Q 0 with time may be due to a continual increase in crustal shear wave Q (Q <mu>) caused by the loss of crustal fluids and reduction of crustal permeability following tectonic or orogenic activity. Extrapolated values of Q c Lg at 5 Hz (using Q 0 and <eta> values measured at 1 Hz and assuming that <eta> is constant in all regions between 1 and 5 Hz) show a similar percentage-wise increase with times that has elapsed since the most recent activity. Other factors that can reduce Q 0 in continental regions include thick accumulations of sediment (especially sandstone and shale of Mesozoic age and younger), severe velocity gradients at the crust-mantle transition and, possibly, lateral variations in the depth, thickness, and severity of those gradients. Severe and large increases of Q <mu> in the mid-crust of some regions can cause relatively large values of <eta>, even if the frequency dependence of Q <mu> is small.

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Received March 5, 1998, revised August 17, 1998, accepted August 25, 1988

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Mitchell, B., Cong, L. Lg Coda Q and its Relation to the Structure and Evolution of Continents: A Global Perspective. Pure appl. geophys. 153, 655–663 (1998).

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