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The Frequency-dependence of Q and its Measurement at Different Periods

The Frequency-dependence of Q and its Measurement at Different Periods

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Published by Brian Shiro
paper for Advanced Seismology class in Fall 2002
paper for Advanced Seismology class in Fall 2002

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Published by: Brian Shiro on Dec 14, 2010
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12/15/2010

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The Frequency-dependence of Q and its Measurement at Different Periods
R. Brian White
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Washington University; St. Louis, MO, USA
Abstract.
A good measure of the Earth’s anelasticity is the quality factor Q, which can be determined through a number of methods including seismology, tidal observations, and irregularities in the Earth’s rotation. These types of deformation of the Earth span a wide timescale from a fraction of a second to many years. Since the forcingmechanisms for most of these excitations of the Earth sample the planet in a similar way, we expect them to besensing the same bulk properties, including Q. Thus, by finding Q with different methods and at different timescales, we can constrain the frequency-dependence of Q and the Earth’s bulk properties over many decades of frequency variation. It is assumed that this frequency-dependence is linear and follows a relation of the form Q
-1
=
ω
α
. Most values of 
α
quoted in the literature range from 0.1-0.4. In the past, atmospheric and oceaniceffects could not be separated from tidal observations, skewing the Q values found with that method, but recentadvancements in satellite laser ranging give reasonable Q values more consistent with seismic and wobbleobservations. This also offers a promising way to measure Q for other planets when our probes visit them.
1.Introduction
Q is a dimensionless quantity related to the anelasticity of a material. It goes by many names such as“attenuation” in seismology, “dissipation” in geodesy/astronomy, and “quality factor” in electronics, which is where thesymbol Q is derived. Whatever it is called, Q is a measure of the energy lost per cycle of deformation of a material. It isinversely proportional to energy, meaning that lower Q values describe higher energy dissipation. A fundamentaldefinition of Q is given by [e.g.
Goldreich and Soter 
, 1966]
Q
- 1
= -12
 pE 
0
dE dt dt 
ò
= -12
 p
D
 E  E 
0
(1)where -
 E 
is the energy lost per cycle due to the anelasticity of the material, and
 E 
0
is the peak strain energy stored in thevolume. This assumes a linear process; meaning
Q
is independent of the amplitude of the excitation source. Q can bemeasured at many different periods to probe the composition, state, and structure of the interior of the Earth and other  planets. Understanding its frequency dependence is a much sought-after goal because it will allow for extrapolation of measured Q values at one period to others.
 
We can understand how Q relates to the volumetric rate of energy dissipation in a material by considering astress
and strain
during a cycle of forced oscillation at a given frequency. The work down against internal frictionwithin a unit volume of the solid during a full cycle of oscillation is the area of the hysteresis loop (Figure 1). Fromconsideration of such a stress-strain relationship, the following is true [
 Dahlen and Tromp
, 1998]
Q
-1
w
()=tan
f w
()
(2)Here,
φ 
(
ω 
) is the frequency-dependent phase lag of the stress behind the strain in the loop. Thus, the more anelastic amaterial is, the more open the loop becomes.
Figure 1.
Trajectory of stress versus strain during a harmonic cycle of forced oscillation. Dashed linesrepresent relaxed and unrelaxed perfectly elastic behavior [after 
 Dahlen and Tromp
, 1998].Since Q is related to the attenuation of energy, it can be written in many forms, depending on the relaxationmechanism. Several constitutive relations have been suggested to describe the recovery from deformation associated withsuch dissipative processes, including the modified Lommitz law [
 Jeffreys
, 1972] and absorption band models [
 Liu et al.
,1976]. One general expression that is valid for thermoelastic, diffusion, dislocation, and viscous grain boundary relaxationmechanisms is [
 Jackson
, 1969]
Q
-1
w
()=
Awt 
1+
w
2
2
éëêùûú
(3)Here,
 A
is amplitude,
is relaxation time, and
is frequency. Note that, here, Q is frequency-dependent. For a thermally-activated relaxation process, the characteristic relaxation time varies with temperature according to [
 Jackson and  Anderson
, 1970]
τ  
=
τ  
0
exp
*
 R
éëêùûú
(4)where
0
is a constant related to the lattice vibration frequency,
 E 
*
is the activation energy,
 P 
is pressure,
istemperature, and
 R
is the universal gas constant. The dominant mechanism of attenuation in solids at temperatures greater 
2
 
than about half the melting point increases exponentially with temperature and has a form given by [
 Anderson and Minster 
, 1979]
Q
-1
w
()=
A wt 
()
-
a
=
A wt 
0
()
-
a
exp-
a
*
 RT 
éëêùûú
(5)The constant
is generally a value between 1/4 and 1/2, and the quantity
 E 
*
can be thought of as an apparent activationenergy. If 
 E 
*
is known from creep or diffusion experiments,
can be determined if one knows the temperature andfrequency dependence of Q.
 Anderson and Minster 
[1979]
showed that this expression is equivalent in formto the equation of transient creep.
ε 
()=
B t
()
-
a
=
B t
0
()
-
a
exp-
a
*
 RT 
éëêùûú
(6)where
 B
is some amplitude. This formulation is valid for short time scales or small strainsituations, such as seismic wave attenuation, tidal friction, damping of the Chandler wobble, andpost glacial rebound. For most applications, the frequency dependence of Q is simplified to anexpression of the form.
Q
-1
w
()=
w
a
(7)Thus, the constant
α 
is the key factor needed to understand the frequency dependence of Q. Figure 2 illustrates the widevariety of time scales associated with deformation of the Earth.
Figure 2.
Relation of the characteristic time scale for several geodynamic phenomena to the relaxationtime of the upper mantle. Long time scale phenomena are governed by a higher viscosity
 ν
1
than short
3

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