Regional wavefields are strongly influenced by crustal structure heterogeneity variations along their propagation paths. Observations of such effects between the Asian continent and the Japanese subduction zone across the Sea of Japan (East Sea) have been strongly assisted recently by the development of high-density seismic networks in Japan and Korea, as well as the supercomputer-based three-dimensional finite difference method seismic wave propagation simulations using detailed heterogeneous crustal models. In this study, an Lg propagation map derived from 289,000 ray paths connecting sources to observation stations reveals efficient Lg wave propagation from continental Asia to Kyushu through the Korean Peninsula, and to Hokkaido, thus indicating a laterally consistent crustal structure extending from continental Asia to Japan. However, the Lg wave propagation to the Japanese main island of Honshu is totally blocked as it crosses the continental-oceanic boundary surrounding the Sea of Japan. Three-dimensional (3-D) finite-difference method seismic wave propagation simulations performed using a detailed crustal structural model allow us to clearly visualize the way in which an Lg wave develops from a shallow source in the crust and its propagation in the crustal waveguide by means of multiple post-critical S wave reflections in the continental structure. The sudden thinning of the continental crust at the edge of the Asian continent adjacent to the oceanic crust in the Sea of Japan, which involves a thickness change from 30 to 10 km within a 100-km distance (with the thinner crust extending over 600 km), decreases the Lg wave energy by 10%. It has been confirmed that 50% of this Lg wave energy loss occurs during wave passage along the thinner crust and that the other 50% results from conversion into P energy in the overlying seawater.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)