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Title: Improved Characterization of Ultralow‐Velocity Zones Through Advances in Bayesian Inversion of ScP Waveforms

Ultralow‐velocity zones (ULVZs) have been studied using a variety of seismic phases; however, their physical origin is still poorly understood. Short period ScP waveforms are extensively used to infer ULVZ properties because they may be sensitive to all ULVZ elastic moduli and thickness. However, ScP waveforms are additionally complicated by the effects of path attenuation, coherent noise, and source complexity. To address these complications, we developed a hierarchical Bayesian inversion method that allows us to invert ScP waveforms from multiple events simultaneously and accounts for path attenuation and correlated noise. The inversion method is tested with synthetic predictions which show that the inclusion of attenuation is imperative to recover ULVZ parameters accurately and that the ULVZ thickness and S‐wave velocity decrease are most reliably recovered. Utilizing multiple events simultaneously reduces the effects of coherent noise and source time function complexity, which in turn allows for the inclusion of more data to be used in the analyses. We next applied the method to ScP data recorded in Australia for 291 events that sample the core‐mantle boundary beneath the Coral Sea. Our results indicate, on average, ∼12‐km thick ULVZ with ∼14% reduction in S‐wave velocity across the region, but there is a greater variability in ULVZ properties in the south than that in the north of the sampled region. P‐wave velocity reductions and density perturbations are mostly below 10%. These ScP data show more than one ScP post‐cursor in some areas which may indicate complex 3‐D ULVZ structures.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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