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.
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