Very little seismic attenuation occurs in the mid to lower crust of south-west Iceland. The lowest path-averaged quality factor for a wave turning in the mid to lower crust (12-20 km) is Q(P) = 110 for P waves and Q(S) = 250 for S waves, with most of the data having higher values, typically Q(P) = 200-300 and Q(S) = 400-600. Attenuation estimates based on a 1-D, layered inversion give correspondingly high values, Q(P) > 800 and Q(S) = 800-2000. These Q values are inconsistent with thermal models that predict a broad (100 km wide) region of above-solidus temperatures centred on the volcanic zones. The observed attenuation implies an upper limit for mid to lower crustal temperature in the 700-775 degrees C range (assuming a gabbroic lithology). Much higher attenuation (Q(P) = 60, Q(S) = 100) occurs in the uppermost 4 km of crust. This is most likely apparent attenuation caused by strong near-surface seismic heterogeneity, resulting from fissures, faults and extreme changes in porosity (up to 20-30 per cent). The quality factor of the near-surface layer varies regionally, and is lower in volcanic zones than in either the Reykjanes Peninsula or the South Iceland Lowland.
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