Despite decades of study, the mechanisms that lead to the localization of intracontinental seismicity remain vigorously debated. We find a very strong correlation between the attenuation of teleseismic P waves and the occurrence of intraplate seismicity in Australia. The regions with the highest attenuation host ~2 orders of magnitude more earthquakes per unit of area than the least attenuating regions. We argue that the attenuation we observe is produced by lateral variations in the thickness and/or viscosity of the lithospheric mantle and further suggest that the correlation we document implies that lithospheric mantle structure exerts first-order controls on the localization of intraplate seismicity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data analysis was partly carried out, thanks to a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Minnesota. Data used in this study were recorded by networks 7B, 7E, AU, G, II, IU, and S and are archived in the IRIS DMC. These data can be retrieved from the DMC using a variety of tools, including the following web form: http://ds.iris.edu/ds/nodes/dmc/forms/breqfast‐request/ . The authors wish to thank Eugene Humphreys, Fabio Capitanio, Joseph Byrnes, Donna Whitney, and Christian Teyssier for their comments on the manuscript and Will Levandowski and an anonymous reviewer, as well as two anonymous reviewers, who provided comments on an earlier version of this manuscript that helped improve the text significantly.
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