Page 05/13/2018 11:33:22

L. Parisi et al. publish recent work in JGR-Solid Earth

5/13/2018
Apparent splitting of S waves propagating through an isotropic lowermost mantle

Abstract: Observations of shear wave anisotropy are key for understanding the mineralogical structure and flow in the mantle. Several researchers have reported the presence of seismic anisotropy in the lowermost 150–250 km of the mantle (i.e., D" layer), based on differences in the arrival times of vertically (SV) and horizontally (SH) polarized shear waves. By computing waveforms at a period > 6 s for a wide range of 1‐D and 3‐D Earth structures, we illustrate that a time shift (i.e., apparent splitting) between SV and SH may appear ​in purely isotropic simulations. This may be misinterpreted as shear wave anisotropy. For near‐surface earthquakes, apparent shear wave splitting can result from the interference of S with the surface reflection sS. For deep earthquakes, apparent splitting can be due to the S wave triplication in D", reflections off discontinuities in the upper mantle, and 3‐D heterogeneity. The wave effects due to anomalous isotropic structure may not be easily distinguished from purely anisotropic effects if the analysis does not involve full waveform simulations.​