Investigating the apparent seismic diffusivity of near-receiver geology at Mount St. Helens Volcano, USA

Thomas King, Philip Benson, Luca De Siena, Sergio Vinciguerra

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We present an expanded approach of the diffusive approximation to map strongly scattering geological structures in volcanic environments using seismic coda intensities and a diffusive approximation. Seismic data from a remarkably consistent hydrothermal source of Long-Period (LP) earthquakes, that was active during the late 2004 portion of the 2004–2008 dome building eruption of Mount St. Helens Volcano, are used to obtain coefficient values for diffusion and attenuation, and describe the rate at which seismic energy radiates into the surrounding medium. The results are then spatially plotted as a function of near-receiver geology to generate maps of near-surface geological and geophysical features. They indicate that the diffusion coefficient is a marker of the near-receiver geology, while the attenuation coefficients are sensitive to deeper volcanic structures. As previously observed by other studies, two main scattering regimes affect the coda envelopes: a diffusive, multiple-scattering regime close to the volcanic edifice and a much weaker, single-to-multiple scattering regime at higher source-receiver offsets. Within the diffusive, multiple-scattering regime, the spatial variations of the diffusion coefficient are sufficiently robust to show the features of laterally-extended, coherent, shallow geological structures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number130
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017


  • volcanology
  • seismic attenuation
  • coda waves
  • diffusion coefficient
  • near-receiver geology


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