Seismograms of earthquakes from the South Pacific recorded at a German broadband array and network show precursors to PKPdf. These precursors mainly originate from off-path scattering of PKPab or a nearby PKPbc to P (for receiver-side scattering) or from scattering of P to PKPab or PKPbc on the PKPdf path (for source-side scattering). Standard array processing techniques based on plane wave approximations (such as vespagram or frequency-wavenumber analysis) are inadequate for investigating these precursors since scattered waves cannot be approximated as plane waves for arrays and networks larger than 300 x 300 km for short-period waves. We therefore develop a migration method to estimate the location of scatterers in the mantle, at the core-mantle boundary and at the top of the outer core. With our method we are able to find isolated scatterers at the source side and the receiver side, although the depth of the scatterer is not well constrained. However, from looking at the first possible arrival time of precursors at different depth and the region where scattering can take place (scattering volume), we believe that the location of the scatterers is in the lowermost mantle. Since we have detected scatterers in regions where ultralow-velocity zones have been discovered recently, we think that the precursor energy possibly originates from scattering at partial melt at the base of the mantle. Comparing results from broadband and band-pass-filtered data the detection of small-scale structure of the ultralow-velocity zones becomes possible. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Small scatterers in the lower mantle observed at German broadband arrays