Monte Carlo Simulations of Coupled Body- and Rayleigh-Wave Multiple Scattering in Elastic Media

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Seismic coda waves are commonly used in estimation of subsurface Q values and monitoring subsurface changes. Coda waves mainly consist of multiply scattered body and surface waves. These two types of waves interact with each other in the multiple scattering process, which thus leads to a spatiotemporal evolution of the body and surface wave energies. One cannot characterize the evolution because one has not fully understood the multiple scattering of the two types of waves. Thus one commonly assumes only one type of waves exists or ignores their interaction while studying the coda waves. However, neglecting the interaction leads to an incorrect energy evolution of the two types of waves and consequently biases the Q estimation or interpretation of coda wave changes for monitoring. To better understand the interaction between these waves during multiple scattering and to model the energy evolution correctly, we propose a Monte Carlo algorithm to model the multiple scattering process. We describe the physics of the scattering for the two types of waves and derive scattering properties like cross sections for perturbations in elastic properties (e.g. density, shear modulus and Lamé parameters). Our algorithm incorporates this knowledge and thus physically models the body- and surface wave energy evolution in space and time. The energy partitioning ratios between surface and body waves provided by our algorithm match the theoretical prediction based on equipartition theory. In the equipartition state, our simulation results also match Lambert’s cosine law for body waves on the free surface. We discuss how the Rayleigh-to-body-wave scattering affects the energy partitioning ratios. Our algorithm provides a new tool to study multiple scattering and coda waves in elastic media with a free surface.